2007 is going to be a year of anniversaries. Two at least deserve mention. It is the 200th anniversary of the Slave Trade. To celebrate a feature film on the life of William Wilberforce is being released with the part of Wilberforce being played by that nice young man from Hornblower, Ioan Gruffudd.
It is also the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Boy Scouts by Baden Powell. This has a local connection, as they began on Brownsea Island in Poole, just a stone's throw away from here.
Brownsea is one of the few remaining habitats of red squirrels in England. A community was established in the island by 800 AD, but it is not mentioned in the Domesday book. By the sixteenth cemetery it had become a hideout for pirates. At the time of the Restoration it was owned by Robert Clayton MP, later to become Lord Mayor of London, and a castle built on the site of old reins in 1726 by the eccentric William Benson. It was improved by Sir Humphtey Sturt of More MP in 1765. In 1852 china clay was discovered on the island and pottery manufacture was begun employing 200 people. Alas the clay was not of sufficient quality to make fine porcelain and the making of sanitary ware could not sustain the industry so the business folded. Eventually the Island was accepted by the Treasury in lieu of Death Duties and the Island became the property of the National Trust, who still own it. This summer Boy scouts from all over the world will be camping on Brownsea in celebration of the centenary.