Opening Address of the Imperial Intelligence Committee

On occasion documents of a sensitive nature come into our possession. Many of these are filed away for reference only. This, however, we deem to be of some importance and interest to you gentleman members of the Explorer’s Club.

Please feel free to peruse its contents but we ask that you return it to the Livingstone Library upon completion. Under no circumstances should you take it out of this building.

Imperial Intelligence Committee Annual Grand meeting 1895

A view into the interior…

Below is the transcript of the Opening Address of the Annual Grand Meeting of the British Imperial Intelligence Committee 1895.

This meeting is attended by all the key figures in Imperial Intelligence and its supporters such as Prince Edward, the Prince of Wales and senior Politicians. This document gives the reader a view into the interior of British political and military thought at the critical juncture in the history of the British Empire…

Imperial Intelligence Committee Annual Grand meeting 1895

The Cardwell Reforms 1868-1874

It is our intention to occasionally refer the player to key information regarding the Victorian era that we looked at as part of our research. This shall mostly be information that is not covered by most school/college syllabi, but nevertheless are pertinent to our period.

It will cover historical incidents, technology, politics and the like. Our first is a little remembered set of reforms that completely changed the nature of the British Army from the Wellingtonian model to wards becoming a modern army.

The Cardwell Reforms refer to a series of reforms of the British Army undertaken by Secretary of State for War (and former soldier) Edward Cardwell between 1868 and 1874 with the support of Liberal Prime Minister William E. Gladstone. Gladstone paid little attention to military affairs but he was keen on efficiency. In 1870 he pushed through Parliament major changes in Army organization.

Germany’s stunning triumph over France in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871 proved that the Prussian system of professional soldiers with up-to-date weapons was far superior to the traditional system of gentlemen-soldiers that Britain used.

Fr-PrussianWar

The reforms were not radical–they had been brewing for years and Gladstone seized the moment to enact them. The goal was to centralize the power of the War Office, abolish purchase of officers’ commissions, and to create reserve forces stationed in Britain by establishing short terms of service for enlisted men.

Continue reading about this here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardwell_Reforms

The Brick Lane Bottle Grenade

Few could have predicted the long-lasting effect that such a simple device would have on the City in the years to come. Born of desperation and anger it not only robbed men of their futures when it was deployed, but the shock it created amongst the general populace was far out of proportion to its actual effects.

We are talking, of course, about what became called the ‘Brick Lane Bottle Grenade’. This device consists of a gin bottle filled with ethyl spirits or petroleum. Moments before it is to be deployed the hellion responsible inserts anywhere between two and six shotgun cartridges into the bottle before sealing it with a piece of rag. This is then lit and thrown. The target of the attack does not only have to suffer serious burns but they, and anyone near them, shall also be peppered with shot as the cartridges ‘cook off’. It has deterred good citizens from going to the aid of the burning victim. Often it has been dropped from rooftops or windows into trucks, omnibuses or carriages to devastating effect in their confines.

The first time that this weapon appeared was in the now infamous Cable Street massacre in 1892. Five Police Constables and their Sergeant were escorting three Aldermen away from a public meeting that had fallen to riot. As they proceeded down the street they were attacked from the roofs above by no less six of these infernal devices. Five men died horrible deaths and the others were maimed and scarred for life. The incident was witnessed by a photographer from The London Daily Chronicle and his pictures of the aftermath were quickly put on the front page. The photograph that elicited the most shock was that of three of the incendiaries watching from the rooftop. They were all women.

Bloody_Sunday_1887

None of these villainesses were ever prosecuted but it was believed they came from the Cornhill Commune. A mixed force of Police and Westminster Yeomanry raided the Commune two days later and thirty-six men and women died in the ensuing battle, including three Constables and the heroic Captain of the Yeomanry, Ezekiah Briggs. This filthy hotbed of insurrection was dispersed and printed instructions found for the manufacture of these devices.

Since that time the brave men of the Metropolitan Police have had to face this menace whenever they take on the evil anarchists that befoul our city. The invention of the Vulcan Coat by the American Samuel Bryant has helped them endure this, but many good men have still perished or been terribly maimed by it.

Meanwhile in the alleys and stews of the East End women young and old have taken up the mantle of ‘Incendiary’ mimicking their ‘sisters’ of the Paris Commune. They tell of their ‘pride’ in defending their riotous communities against the forces of law and order.

Lord Ellesmere has spoken and written at length over the conditions that drive the meeker sex to such dire solutions. The infant mortality rate, the addiction to gin and whoring, and the lack of gainful employment for men and women alike. He is raising money to sweep away those foul slums around Brick Lane and replace them with sanitary, modern blocks for our urban poor to inhabit. He has also spoken on the need for a reduction in our dependence on the machine and a return to the provision of regular manual labour for the uneducated classes.

Although his Christian sentiments are much admired in the House, many feel that the undeserving poor are just that. As Lord Grimshanks is fond of saying: “They are slackers, layabouts and scroungers who do not need clean abodes and work, they need discipline and to fear the righteous anger of the law. They are unreformed incorrigibles and should be treated as such. Their leaders, those damned Russian anarchists and German Jewish Socialists who infest the East End, should be hunted down and put to the noose.”