Sunday, January 1, 2012

What’s in a name? – 10 May 1912 – Rugeley, Staffordshire

The resolve of the inhabitants of the American town of Ismay to change its name because of its association with the Titanic disaster recalls a similar desire expressed by the inhabitants of the English town of Rugeley, when Palmer, the poisoner, made that place notorious in the fifties. They were so much annoyed by the aspersions cast on the fair fame of, the town by Palmer's fiendish crimes that they sent a deputation to Lord Palmerston, asking that the name of Rugeley be changed.

The famous Minister, who was gifted with a sense of humour, suggested that the town be called Palmerston! The people of Ismay, suggest either Butt, Astor, or Straus, as the new name of their town. About the second suggestion there is a certain amount of irony. Colonel Astor, a few months ago, was one of the most-discussed men in the States. Having been divorced by his wife, he aroused a storm of criticism in press, and pulpit by becoming engaged to a woman young enough to be his daughter.

Clergymen called upon the churches to refuse to marry him. A heroic death, however, obliterates previous wrongdoing in the eyes of the world, and the people of Ismay have forgotten the Astor scandals in the memory of his conduct 6n that terrible night. What was said of another man might be said of Colonel Astor, that nothing in his life became him so much as the leaving of it.

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