Friday, 30 November 2012

The Britons of Distinction 2012

Royal Mail of Great Britain  issued  the Briton of Distinction stamp series on February 23, 2012.  
Same as the previous issued, the  issue are featuring  portraits  of five of our distinguished subjects and depictions of the other five’s greatest achievements, such as: Sir Basil Spence, Mary Morris, Odette Hallowes , Thomas Newcomen, Kathleen Mary Ferrier, Augustus Pugin, Montague Rhodes James, Alan Turing, and  Joan Mary Fry.

Sir Basil Urwin Spence, OM, OBE, RA was a Scottish architect , who created Coventry Cathedral in England amongst other fine buildings. Born to German parents in Yorkshire, Frederick Delius composed some of the most quintessentially English pieces in the pastoral canon.

In 1950, a competition was launched to find the most suitable design from a Commonwealth of Nations architect to reconstruct Coventry Cathedral .  Spence's radical design was ultimately chosen amongst over 200 entries .

Coventry Cathedral construction  began in 1956 and the structure was completed in 1962. Spence was knighted in 1960 for his work at Coventry, while the cathedral was still being built.

Daughter of the artist William Morris, Mary Morris was a leading light in the revival of English embroidery. She was an influential embroideress and designer, although her contributions are often overshadowed by those of her father, a towering figure in the Arts and Crafts movement.

May Morris was active in the Royal School of Art Needlework (now Royal School of Needlework), founded as a charity in 1872 under the patronage of Princess Helena to maintain and develop the art of needlework through structured apprenticeships.

Odette Hallowes   was born Odette Marie Céline Brailly in Amiens, France, the daughter of the First World War hero, Gaston Brailly, who was killed at Verdun in 1918.

Odette Sansom Hallowes was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and was the first of three Second World War FANY members to be awarded the George Cross ( 20 August 1946). She was the first woman to win the George Cross.

Thomas Newcomen, a Devon ironmonger and engineer, invented the atmospheric steam engine that helped to power the Industrial Revolution.

Newcomen's great achievement was his steam engine, probably developed about 1710, combining the ideas of Thomas Savery and Denis Papin. The Newcomen engine held its place without material change for about three-quarters of a century, spreading gradually to more and more areas of the UK and to mainland Europe.

There are examples of Newcomen engines in the Science Museum (London) and the Ford Museum, Dearborn amongst other places.

Kathleen Mary Ferrier, CBE  was the greatest English contralto singer who achieved an international reputation as a stage, concert and recording artist, with a repertoire extending from folksong and popular ballads to the classical works of Bach, Brahms, Mahler and Elgar.

As her reputation grew, Kathleen Mary Ferrier formed close working relationships with major musical figures, including Britten, Sir John Barbirolli, Bruno Walter and the accompanist Gerald Moore.

She became known internationally through her three tours to the United States between 1948 and 1950 and her many visits to continental Europe.

Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin was a great champion and exponent of Gothic architecture with the glorious interiors of Palace of Westminster among his many achievements.

Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin  was an English architect, designer, artist and critic, chiefly remembered for his pioneering role in the Gothic Revival style. His work culminated in the glorious interior design of the Palace of Westminster. Augustus Pugin designed many churches in England, and some in Ireland and Australia.

Montague Rhodes James OM, MA, FBA, was an English mediaeval scholar and provost of King's College, Cambridge (1905–1918), and of Eton College (1918–1936). He  also known as an author of some of the most chilling ghost stories in British fiction.

Montague Rhodes James redefined the ghost story for the new century by abandoning many of the formal Gothic clichés of his predecessors and using more realistic contemporary settings. However, James's protagonists and plots tend to reflect his own antiquarian interests. Accordingly, he is known as the originator of the "antiquarian ghost story".

Alan Turing, or  Alan Mathison Turing, OBE, FRS,  was a British mathematician, and computer scientist, logician, cryptanalyst, whose work creating the Bombe code braking machine, was instrumental in saving millions of lives in WWII.

He was highly influential in the development of computer science, giving a formalization of the concepts of "algorithm" and "computation" with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general purpose computer.

Turing is widely considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence.

Joan Mary Fry, an English Quaker relief worker and social reformer,  was a tireless campaigner for the oppressed.

During the First World War, she served as a Quaker Prison Chaplain and helped men who had a conscientious objection to war at their tribunal and in prison.

In 1919, she and other Friends travelled to the now-defeated Germany and organized food distribution networks as famine relief there. Seven years later, Fry returned to the United Kingdom in 1926 where she further worked to relieve poverty and unemployment.

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