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Sunday, 21 April 2013

Richard Larn - Emperor and King of Scilly Augustus John Smith, the man who saved Scilly

reviewed live on bookshow 18th April 2013 by Maggie Perkovich
Emperor and King of Scilly Augustus John Smith, the man who saved Scilly.  Richard Larn has written a well researched (thank you Bridget Larn) nd interesting book about the life and times of this remarkable man.
When you hear how desperate the off islands were, living chiefly on" limpets and barley corn burnt, as a substitute for coffee,"  with no money to see them through the winter, their plight was indeed desperate. To the rescue comes this charismatic man, willing to take on the burden given up by the 
Duke of Leeds who no longer wished to be responsible for the islands, causing the Duchy of Cornwall "something of a shudder" as Mr. Larn puts it.

He had only visited Scilly once but signed a long lease for 99 years, willing to invest his wealth and interest in the Isles of Scilly.
How he set about his task, bringing  a settled way of life to the sometimes reluctant islanders makes interesting reading. responsible for the beauty of Tresco garden, the education of island children (one penny to attend school, twopence if you played truant) and all in all the saviour of these islands.
His affair with local lass Mary Pender whose three children were all born on the mainland and fostered
out probably to save any scandal?? His love of his sister Paulina who died on Scilly after a fatal chill and his involvement in the Freemasons is also told. His constant battles with the Duchy of Cornwall make today's tenants feel they have a connection with him.
Well worth buying!!!Maggie perkovic.

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