Homeward Bounders (was Re: Bujold Bibliography in Haiku)

Ven vendersleighc at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 14 23:01:48 EDT 2005

On the subject of the location of Jamie's city in
The Homeward Bounders

Colin Fine wrote
Interesting. I've never thought the city was 
London. I remember that she 
carefully does not identify it, but I always 
suspected somewhere in 
Scotland - probably because 'Jamie' is a 
typically Scottish name. Also, 
I doubt there were many Macreadys in London in 
the 19th century, though 
there were probably some.

Minnow wrote

<Further to this: I asked DWJ today about this, 
and she explained:
> "Strange triangular or perhaps wedge-of-pie 
gaps in town are certainly a
> feature of Bristol, and there is a triangular 
building near the Cumberland
> Basin, just across the water from here, that 
I'm sure must be full of
> people wargaming because I can't think what on 
earth else it is for and I
> can't think why they need a *huge* roll-up 
garage door in the side wall at
> the end that's too narrow for even a Mini to 
fit across, but the town in
> the book is one of those Lancashire mill towns 
where the canals and the
> railway sort of weave, and there are aqueducts,

which Bristol doesn't have.
> Somewhere a bit like Oldham but not really any 
one of them in particular.
> It being Lancashire explains how he came not to

know about cricket --
> Lancashire was very late getting into the game,

and they were a minor
> county for a long while as a result.">

I had an aha moment about Lancashire because I
had picked up on the aqueducts and something
about the courtyards which had the feel of a
Northern Industrial town and wanted it to be
Manchester. I feel it's actually a rather clever
fusion that feels like a generic English (or
British) city. This is important for our ability
to empathise with Jamie's sense of exile -- that
he does not come from a specific place but rather
from anycity.

Minnow continued 
> So it's a made-up town with bits from all over,

really, which I don't find
> entirely surprising.

<Indeed. But rereading it I find we have another 
Scots name besides 
'Macready' and 'Jamie': his surname, 'Hamilton'. 
And come to think of 
it, I am dubious that 'Graham' (Elsie's husband) 
would have been used as 
a given name outside a Scots family in the 19th 
Century. So I'm sticking 
with my Scots element.>

Actually I wouldn't be at all surprised to have
found Scots all over the shop by the nineteenth
century, what with the diaspora of the Highland

I decided to go searching the web for MacCreadys
and Hamiltons. Hamiltons are numwerous but most
of the historical ones are, in fact, Scottish.
However there was "William Gerard Hamilton
(January 28, 1729 - July 16, 1796), English
statesman, popularly known as "Single Speech
Hamilton," was born in London, the son of a
Scottish bencher of Lincoln's Inn. His Dad was
Scottish but he is described as English, as I
presume would his descendants have been.

The MacCreadys prove more interesting first there
is this chap:

"ENGLISH actor William Charles Macready was born
in London on the 3rd of March 1793"
He was the godfather to one of Dicken's Kids --
Kate Maccready Dickens. then we have his acting
the famous theater family in Bristol, James Henry
and his sons George Macready Chute and James, Jr.

So that's James Macready Chute from Bristol then!

My own Gloucestershire family has some Scottish
ancestory (my cousin has done the research which
confirmed family tradition). There was a
tradition of Scottish names too. My cite for a
nineteenth century English Graham is my Great
Uncle, Graham Elton, born 1892.


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