This week.. anniversaries

This week it’s hard to ignore the elephant in the room with the first anniversary of COVID-19 having crept up on us. Incredibly, in a time when humanity has effectively and collectively lost a year, public celebrations have paled into the background. Nonetheless, in any given year there are more anniversaries than you can shake a stick at, so here’s a round-up for 2021.

It is 100 years since Coco Chanel launched Chanel No 5 in Paris on 5th May 1921 and French fashion designer Louis Vuitton was born on 4th August 1821. Turner Contemporary at Margate planned to celebrate its 10th Anniversary Year in 2021 with new exhibitions now on hold during lockdown. However, the contemporary gallery is featured on the new sterling £20 note. The Royal Albert Hall is marking 150 years since it was officially opened by Queen Victoria on the 29th March 1871. Early in my career, I interviewed at this iconic venue for a behind-the-scenes role. Although I made the final round, I wasn’t successful. No matter, even at the time I was apreciative of the remarkable experience. A whole day’s selection process included a tour of the building from the ‘backstage’ underground dressing rooms to the 135ft high glazed dome.

Here’s five more anniversaries of note in 2021.

For Your Eyes Only

L to R: centre Cortina d’Ampezzo; Roger Moore arrives in a Lancia filming For Your Eyes Only (1981). Image Discover Cortina. Photo

Incredibly, it is 40 years since the release of For Your Eyes Only directed by John Glen and starring the one-and-only Roger Moore. It was Moore’s fifth appearance (of seven) as James Bond. Many Bond films are noted for a thrilling ski chase and this one was no exception. Bond is pursued down the slopes of Cortina d’Ampezzo and through the historic town centre of Cortina. Further scenes were filmed at its ice rink, and against the backdrop of the Tofana mountain. Bond’s jump from the Olympic ski jump, before speeding down the ski runs and across a restaurant terrace, was memorable. Although Moore had learnt to ski for the film the action sequences were performed by former ski racer Willy Bogner, now a fashion designer and film maker.

Cortina is set to host the 2026 Olympics jointly with Milan and many of the sites in the film will play a part in the Games. Cortina’s Ice Stadium hosted skating during the 1956 Winter Olympics and will host curling during the Games. The bobsleigh track is being renovated and will host sliding events once again. Ski jumping has outgrown the ski jump from the 1956 event, which featured in the Bond film, but it can still be seen.

Klondike Women, 125th Anniversary of the Yukon Gold Rush

Southern Lakes Resort, Yukon.

The Yukon Territory will be celebrating the 125th anniversary of the start of the notorious Klondike Gold Rush. In 1896, the discovery of gold saw more than 100,000 prospectors stampede the region. The journey to seek a fortune through the Yukon was treacherous and included many women who played pivotal roles and, against all odds, forged their own way to Dawson City. Shaw Tláa or ‘The Gold Discoverer’ from the Carcross/Tagish First Nation, also known as Kate Carmack, discovered gold at Bonanza Creek alongside her brother Skookum Jim, nephew Tagish Charlie and husband, George Carmack. It was their discovery that started the stampede and resulted in them making their fortunes.

At the height of the stampede, Martha Black, pregnant at the time, left her husband behind and hiked the infamous Chilkoot Trail. On reaching Dawson City, the ‘Fearless Pioneer’ built her own log cabin. Black would eventually become the second woman elected to the House of Commons of Canada. Casino Superstar, Gertie Lovejoy, always wore a diamond between her two front teeth. Lovejoy was one of the most famous dance stars in Klondike. Dawson established the iconic casino Diamond Tooth Gerties. Business-savvy Belinda Mulrooney began her Klondike business as a prospector by selling hot-water bottles to stampeders en-route to Dawson City and went on to build roadhouses and cabins using profits to become a stakeholder in the Yukon’s largest gold mine. Belinda, the richest woman in the Klondike, opened the luxury Fair View Hotel. 

MacBride Museum is home to over 40,000 artifacts which illustrate the stories of the Klondike Gold Rush as well as the Yukon’s First Nations and the stories of the remarkable Klondike women. Objects displayed include Klondike Kate’s purses, Kate Carmacks’s cape, and Martha Black’s engagement ring among other treasures. The Chilkoot Trail traces the prospectors’ path from Dyea, Alaska, through the Yukon to Bennett, BC. Across the ravine, the White Pass and Yukon Route railway chugs over the pass. In between the trail and the tracks a scenic highway winds through the coastal mountains to the scenic village of Carcross, home of the Carcross/Tagish First Nations.

The Yukon is Canada’s most accessible northern destination situated in the upper Northwest corner and neighbouring Alaska. It is also home to Canada’s highest mountain, Mount Logan, and the planet’s largest non-polar ice fields located in Kluane National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Happy 155th Birthday, Beatrix Potter

L to R: Beatrix Potter’s House in the Lake District; snow in the Lake District National Park.

The Lake District is famous for inspiring writers like renowned children’s author, Beatrix Potter, creator of Peter Rabbit. An area of incredible natural beauty it celebrates its 70th year as the Lake District National Park. Throughout July celebrations are planned to mark Potter’s 155th birthday. Explore the pretty villages, sweeping landscape, majestic fells and mountains. A good excuse to visit this summer if we’re able to travel. The Lake District National Park web site has everything you need to know for staying and exploring this world-class region.

Little treasures

The Treasury, Waddesdon Manor.

Peter Carl Fabergé, Russian goldsmith and jeweller was born 175 years ago on 30th May 1846. Best known for his Fabergé eggs this includes the Rothschild Fabergé Egg. The Rothschild family have been collectors for many generations each with their own quirky interest. The collection features pieces from silver bracelet charms to snuff boxes and tiaras, and at least one piece of Fabergé. In 2019 The Treasury, a permanent exhibition at Waddesdon Manor, opened to showcase a trove of smaller items displayed in chronological order and ranging from 100AD to the 21st century. It’s a fascinating mini collection of pieces that might otherwise be overshadowed. Here, however, they’re curated in such a way to permit close scrutiny. You can easily spend a couple of hours just gazing at all the beautiful artifacts, exquisitely crafted and each one with its own fascinating story. For instance, a tiny gold box confiscated in France during World War Two and engraved with a Nazi inventory number. Or a cameo of Gaius, Augustus Caesar’s grandson from the 1st century reminding the visitor of the suspicious circumstances in which he died aged 23.

Reaching for the moon

Exhibits from The Moon at The National Maritime Museum ( 2019). L to R: exhibition entrance; the Snoopy cap worn by astronaut “Buzz” Aldrin.

It is 60 years since U.S. President John F. Kennedy made his famous “man on the moon” speech on 25th May 1961 urging Congress and America to commit to landing a man on the Moon, and returning him safely to Earth before the end of that decade. In 2019, an exhibition The Moon at The National Maritime Museum at Greenwich marked 50 years since American astronauts Neil Armstrong (1930-2012) and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin (1930-) became the first humans ever to land on the moon on 20 July 1969. Currently closed due to the pandemic the museums at Greenwich include the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the iconic historic sailing ship Cutty Sark, the National Maritime Museum and the Queen’s House Art Gallery.

That’s all for this week. Stay safe and well wherever you are in the world.

As always please check the Foreign travel advice web site for the latest on domestic and international travel guidelines.

Unless otherwise stated, I have no affiliation with the brands mentioned but simply aim to share places and products that have caught my eye. I will always state if a post is sponsored or gifted.

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