17 January 2014

Hendrik van den Bos, bargeman's mate

The barge 'Wisand'  at an unknown quay
Floating swimming pool 'Mallegat'
On 18th October, 1951, this barge was moored midstream, close to the Mallegat in Rotterdam, on the river New Meuse, waiting for a towboat to sail back to the Ruhr region in Germany to load a new cargo of coal. Hendrik van den Bos was cleaning the deck of the ship using a metal bucket on a rope. He had been living for half a year in the fore-cabin of the ship, together with his wife, who was 6 months pregnant with their second child, and their three-and-a-half year old son. Dropping the bucket back into the river to refill it, he lost his balance and disappeared under water, while, at that very moment, his little son was playing with his tricycle on the roof of the bargeman's deckhouse at the back.
After eighteen days searching and dragging the river downstream, the river police found him under the ship, at almost exactly the same place as he had fallen in, with the rope of the bucket still wound around his hand.

Hendrik van den Bos was born on 15th January, 1922, in Rotterdam, 3 Betje Wolffstraat, where his father had a joinery. His mother Wilhelmina Schuurman-Hess, was a housewife and was born in Delft.

In 1958, the primary school attended by Hendrik's little boy tried to teach him to swim in the floating swimming pool in the river close to the place where his father had drowned.

Hans van den Bos

06 January 2014

Visit Of Hope To Sydney Cove, Near Botany Bay

Poem by Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802)

Where Sydney Cove her lucid bosom swells,
And with wide arms the indignant storm repels;
High on a rock amid the troubled air
Hope stood sublime, and waved her golden hair;
Calmed with her rosy smile the tossing deep,
And with sweet accents charmed the winds to sleep;
To each wild plain she stretched her snowy hand,
High-waving wood, and sea-encircled strand.
'Hear me,' she cried, 'ye rising realms! record
Time's opening scenes, and Truth's prophetic word.
There shall broad streets their stately walls extend,
The circus widen, and the crescent bend;
There, rayed from cities o'er the cultured land,
Shall bright canals, and solid roads expand.
There the proud arch, colossus-like, bestride
Yon glittering streams, and bound the chasing tide;
Embellished villas crown the landscape-scene,
Farms wave with gold, and orchards blush between.
There shall tall spires, and dome-capped towers ascend,
And piers and quays their massy structures blend;
While with each breeze approaching vessels glide,
And northern treasures dance on every tide!'
Then ceased the nymph - tumultuous echoes roar,
And Joy's loud voice was heard from shore to shore -
Her graceful steps descending pressed the plain,
And Peace, and Art, and Labour, joined her train. 

© Erasmus Darwin. All rights reserved

Erasmus Darwin was an English physician. One of the key thinkers of the Midlands Enlightenment, he was also a natural philosopher, physiologistslave-trade abolitionist, inventor and poet. His poems included much natural history, including a statement of evolution and the relatedness of all forms of life. He was a member of the Darwin–Wedgwood family, which includes his grandsons Charles Darwin and Francis Galton. Darwin was also a founding member of the Lunar Society of Birmingham, a discussion group of pioneering industrialists and natural philosophers. He turned down George III's invitation to be a physician to the King.
Erasmus Darwin House, his home in Lichfield, is now a museum dedicated to Erasmus Darwin and his life's work. A school in nearby Chasetown recently converted to Academy status and is now known as Erasmus Darwin Academy.