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Glossary

Terms used

Remember that the progress of the world depends on your knowing better than your elders.
George Bernard Shaw

Here are some terms used on St Helena or within Saint Helena Island Info that we thought might benefit from further explanation

This page is in indexes: Island Detail

Glossary Saint Helena Island Info

Terms

The following are presented in broadly alphabetic order.

Below: The 1962 and 1991 filmsArrackThe ‘Blue Book’Planters‘The Records’ScurvyS.H.A.P.E (SHAPE)The Suez CanalThe Union Castle Line

Other terms, e.g. Executive Council and Legislative Council are defined in the relevant pages.

Then there are the many interesting words and phrases when you are speaking Saint


The 1962 and 1991 films

1962 film title Saint Helena Island Info Glossary

At the end of 1961 a Film Unit arrived to document the island of St Helena and its life and culture; the first time this had been attempted. Formally entitled ‘Island of Saint Helena’, the half hour film featured our history and physical features (of course) but also Fishing, the Flax Industry (then still fully functioning), our Friendly Societies and their marches and the extensive use of donkeys for transport. The Film Unit consisted of Charles Frater, Bob Johnston and Esdon Frost. In addition to the film, they also collected many sound recordings and photographic stills, a good number of which feature (with permission) on Saint Helena Island Info. Jean Johnston also kept a diary of the visit, highlights of which can be seen on our Memories of St Helena page. It is usually known simply as ‘The 1962 Film’ because of the date of its release. The full film is available on YouTube™: www.youtube.com/watch?v=YngeIbFUEVw{1}.

1991 film title Saint Helena Island Info Glossary

30 years later in 1991 Charles & Julia Frater came back to the island and made another half hour film called ‘Saint Helena, South Atlantic Ocean’ (‘The 1991 Film’), stills from which also feature (with permission) on Saint Helena Island Info. New features of this film included the (second, and then new) RMS, the beginnings of the move from counter-based shops to supermarkets, the new focus on our Endemic Species, the possibility that St Helena might soon have an airport (it actually took another 25 years), modern communications including the Satellite Link and, of course, Radio St Helena, which was then 24 years old having started six years after the 1962 Film was completed. The full film is available on YouTube™ www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NR-kkFRUgg{1}.


Arrack

Arrack was a locally-brewed spirit distilled from potatoes that is mentioned often in the Records. Its origins are in South and Southeast Asia, where it is made from either the fermented sap of coconut flowers, sugarcane, grain or fruit, depending upon the country of origin. Since it became economic to import spirits from overseas its production seems to have been discontinued.


The ‘Blue Book’

Formally the ‘Colonial Annual Report’, the Governor (or acting Governor) was responsible for generating this document each year, setting out the island’s income, expenditure and other administrative matters, issued usually in April-June of the year following.

Sadly (for historians) the Blue Book is no more. It seems that with the advent of regular electronic communications the need was no longer felt for an annual return.


Planters

‘Planters’ is the original term for the Settlers, from 1659 onwards and still in use in the 19th Century. When slaves were emancipated they were given the status of Planters (but no financial means to acquire any land to plant).


‘The Records’

The St Helena Records is a collection of documents dating back to the earliest days of St Helena, held in the Government of St Helena Archives. The Archives can be accessed in person or via email - see our Family And Friends page for more.

From the records and other sources we have compiled an events database, which drives our events-based pages e.g. our On This Day page, In This Week page and this page.

You can search our events database in various ways above.


Scurvy

Scurvy is a disease caused by a diet deficient in Vitamin C, and can be fatal. It was suffered by early mariners whose foodstuffs aboard ship for long sea voyages did not feature fresh fruit or vegetables.


S.H.A.P.E (SHAPE)

St Helena Active Participation in Enterprise, a local social enterprise providing work and training for the disabled.


The Suez Canal

Suez Canal illustrated Saint Helena Island Info Glossary{a}

The Suez Canal links the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, thus providing a much shorter route for ships travelling between Europe and the Far East, which previously had to travel to the South Atlantic and around the southern tip of Africa. When it opened in 1869 it cut the distance between London and Mumbai (“Bombay”) from 19,800Km to 11,600Km - about 40%, and also avoided the stormy seas around the Cape of Good Hope. The disadvantage for St Helena was that ships no longer stopped here en route from India.


The Union Castle Line

Union Castle poster Saint Helena Island Info Glossary

The Union Castle Line provided the regular shipping service for St Helena from the 19th Century until 1977, when it closed its Southampton-Cape Town service.

Amusingly, the Union Castle Line ships were painted with black and red funnels and a lavender-coloured hull, as a consequence of which the company was affectionately known as the ‘Lavender Hull Mob’.

Closing Humour Saint Helena Island Info Glossary

Laugh at funny Glossary humour LOL Saint Helena Island Info


Credits:

{a} St Helena National Trust



Footnotes:

{1} Please first read this warning.



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