Obituary: David Montgomery, Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
- Professor Tim Connell
Canning House regrets to announce the death of David Montgomery, Viscount Montgomery of Alamein CMG CBE, who passed away on 8th January 2020 at the age of 91.
Cristina Cortes, Canning House CEO, opened the event by announcing the launch of Canning House's Forgotten Histories project. Anyone with a little-known story of relationships between the Latin America and the UK or the wider world is welcome to submit their knowledge to the project; submissions will be reviewed and uploaded to a digital archive on Canning House's website, such that their story will never truly be forgotten.
Dr Charles Jones introduced the event with an overview of what has been forgotten, highlighting substantial traces of Latin American ties which have received little acknowledgement. In particular he spoke on the Morrison family, whose significant investments in Latin America were reflected in their historic country home of Basildon Park - though these connections have long gone without mention.
Dr Rory Miller offered many examples of grand houses and estates built upon the success of British entrepreneurial activity on Latin America's west coast. From Sussex to Scotland, industrious traders took advantage of booms in wool and nitrates to deliver their fortunes - connections which have since faded out of memory.
Dr Carrie Gibson emphasised the forgotten interconnectedness of the "British" and "Hispanic" Caribbean, speaking particularly about the role of Cuba as a regional hub for trade, migration and investment for both the Spanish and English-speaking Caribbean. She described how the endurance of trade between the two not-so-separate "Caribbeans" through conflict, independence and revolution represents this long-established relationship, despite the erosion of memory as the Caribbean has become increasingly viewed as a tourist destination.
Finally on our panel, Dr Graciela Iglesias-Rogers demonstrated Britain's role as a hub for the Spanish-speaking world with an overview of the Hispanic-Anglosphere project's website and Online Exhibition. The project's work at Tyntesfield house with the National Trust has revealed the forgotten history of how Latin America is interwoven in the fabric of the building itself as a function of William Gibbs' success in the Peruvian guano trade, along with many other sites in the UK and around the world.
A series of excellent audience contributions, covering topics from Colombian cemeteries to Argentine department stores, concluded the fascinating event.
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