Not Fannying About: More on the Incredible Frances Wright

Comment

Not Fannying About: More on the Incredible Frances Wright

If you have been on our Dundee tour, you will have heard of early nineteenth century anti-slavery campaigner Fanny Wright. Here's some fascinating facts on her life that we don't have time to squeeze into the tour.

Wright, Dundee & Lafayette

Although she spent little time in Dundee her early years had an impact on her. Her parents both died when she two years old and she was sent to live with an aunt. The loss of her parents at such an early age may have given her a resilience and desire for approval that she continued throughout her life.

When she was 26 she formed a close relationship with American revolutionary hero Lafayette. He was exactly 38 years older than her. As a way of regularising their relationship she suggested that he either adopt her or marry her, an offer Lafayette turned down. 

The Nashoba Commune

One thing that we don't speak about on the tour is the outcome of her best known project: the Nashoba Commune. 

The Nashoba commune made up of whites, free blacks and slaves. The slaves would be prepared for freedom by being trained in a trade. Scandal engulfed the community when one of the men published diary extracts which described his relationship with one of the slave women. Fanny hit back at the naysayers by publishing an article in which she argued that miscegenation might be the only thing that could solve America's race problem and describing sexual pleasure as  “the strongest and…the noblest of the human passions” and the basis of “the best joys of our existence”. 

This only added fuel to the fire of speculation and the commune, never financially stable, collapsed. Fanny took the former slaves to the black republic of Haiti where they were placed under the President's direct supervision and were to be given land grants if they did well. Fanny had lost half of her personal wealth thanks to the failure of the Nashoba Commune.

Marriage and Divorce

Sadly she fell prey to the very social structures she had railed against. She had an affair with Dr Guillaume D'Arusmont and became pregnant. She married him in order to legitimise her daughter but the marriage was not a happy one. Even after a long and complicated divorce Fanny had to fight to have her fortune and earnings returned to her. 

She died at the age of 57 in relative obscurity after a long and painful illness brought on by a fall on an icy staircase.

Comment

For Auld Lang Syne: Robert Burns' Stonehaven Connection

Comment

For Auld Lang Syne: Robert Burns' Stonehaven Connection

Did you know that the Stonehaven Fatherland Burns Club is the only Burns Club in the world to have the word "Fatherland" in its title?

That is because Robert Burns had a very special connection to the Mearns and Stonehaven.

It was literally his "fatherland" - the land his father and forefathers had come from. 

His father William was born in the Mearns in 1721. He lived there until 1748 before departing to seek his fortune.

His grandfather Robert Burnes (how the family used to spell their name) was a gardener at Dunnottar Castle who lost his job after the 1715 Rising and became a tenant-farmer.

He worked at a number of farms in the valley before settling at Clochnahill, a few miles south of Stonehaven on the A90. It was from here that Burns' father left for Edinburgh in hope of a better life and the spot is marked by a stone cairn.  

Burns' connections to the Mearns stretch back to 1615 with the birth of his great-great grandfather at Bogjorgan Farm around 1615. 

Burns came back to his "fatherland". On his Highland Tour in 1787 he visited farms and estates his family had had a connection with. He visited Glenbervie Cemetery to see graves of his great grandfather James and great grandmother Margaret, as well as his great grand uncle and aunt.

Sadly his reflections on the Mearns are non too poetic; his main observations were on the quality of the land, perhaps appropriate for the "ploughman poet". He described it as 'A rich and cultivated but still unenclosed country.'

Every year an event is held to commemorate the day Burns stopped to water his horse while traveling through the Mearns.

How will you be celebrating the birth of our national poet? Comment below on how you are spending Burns Night.

Comment

5 Places to Get Engaged in Aberdeen

Comment

5 Places to Get Engaged in Aberdeen

Thinking of popping the question this summer? This handy map from ROX has some top tips for where to buy the perfect outfit, choose the perfect ring and ask the dreaded question. We give our own take on their ideas and suggest some innovative proposal scenarios.

Some say that Aberdeen was built on seven hills, like Rome. For many there ends the connection with the most rome(antic) city of all. But anyone who knows Aberdeen is aware than it can possess a beauty that would rival even the City of Love. So if you are thinking of asking her (or him) to say 'Yes', why not check out this map of suitable Aberdeen locations? We guarantee it is a less hackneyed proposal setting than Rome.

proposal-guide-map.jpg

1. Follow in the footsteps of history at the Beach Ballroom

Thousands of Aberdeen couples have met, falling in love and danced off into the sunset at the Beach Ballroom. A dance mecca since the 1929, why not celebrate your engagement by going for a spin on the amazing sprung floor?

 Balmedie Beach. Credit juicyverve.

Balmedie Beach. Credit juicyverve.

2. Hunt for buried treasure at Balmedie

Why not plan a scavenger hunt at this beautiful beach, complete with clues that reference your relationship and a map leading him/her to where the engagement ring is buried. Only maybe substitute an plastic ring for the real thing. 

 Loch Avon, Cairngorms. Credit Nick Bramhall.

Loch Avon, Cairngorms. Credit Nick Bramhall.

3. Be insta-upstaged in the Cairngorms

Of course, no proposal is complete without the engagement photos and social media post. Be careful though that the breathtaking scenery of the Cairngorms doesn't steal the limelight!

 Craigievar Castle. Credit Nick Bramhall.

Craigievar Castle. Credit Nick Bramhall.

4. Start your Happily Ever After at Craigievar

Supposedly the inspiration for the Disney castle, you couldn't have a more fairytale proposal than getting engaged at this stunning pink castle.

 Dunnottar Castle. Credit JuVlai.

Dunnottar Castle. Credit JuVlai.

5. Get the pictures in early at Dunnottar

Is Dunnottar Castle one of the best backdrops for wedding photos ever? Yes. Is it also a right pain to have to climb 140-odd steps on your wedding day? Yes. Get the proposal pics at Dunnottar so you can go easy on your big day. 

Think my ideas are a pile of piffle? Where would you suggest getting engaged in Aberdeen? Share your ideas in the comments below.

Comment