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  • Writer's pictureStefan Ivanov

Lady Emily Strangford – a symbol of humanity, charity, kindness, generosity and love for Bulgarians

Updated: 21 hours ago

В тежки часове, несгодни

За народа ни злочест,

Пълна с чувства благородни -

Идеш ни на помощ днес.


Идеш да дадеш утеха

На разбитите сърца,

На тез що са голи - дреха,

- Хляб на гладните деца.


С милост нежна във сърцето,

С дума блага на уста,

Балсам да лейш навред, дето

Се намира жалостта.


Чест на тебе, леди славна!

Милозлива, кат жена,

Ти по доблест нямаш равна,

По сърдечна добрина.


Да, че сичко ти оттласна:

Блясък, мир, живот такъв,

И дойде в страна нещастна,

Пълна с плач и дим, и кръв!


И на тоя що се вайка,

И утеха се избра,

На сирачетата - майка,

На вдовиците - сестра.


На Странгфорда наш делото

Ти пригърна го с любов,

Ти обади ни се в злото,

Чу печалния ни зов.


И като почете строго

Паметта на твой съпруг,

Ти обикна йощ по-много

Тези, що любил он тук.


Леди, той беше наш бранител,

Стълп на наште правдини;

Ти си ангел утешител

В най-злочестите ни дни!


Гостенко! Бъди честита!

В теб сюрмаха тоя път

Има помощ и защита -

Ти доказа на светът,

Че във тоя век ужасни,

Век на подлост, злоба, срам,

Чувства светли и прекрасни

Греят йоще сам и там!


Че ак някой сълзи рони,

Има кой да ги суши,

Че ак има зли демони,

Бдят и ангелски души.


Следвай подвига си красни!

Ах, разливай милостта!

И на хиляди нещастни

Ти услаждай горестта!


Всички, що от мраз треперят,

Що гладуват, що търпат,

Ти направи да намерят

В тебе майка тоя път!


И във всички хижи скромни,

И под секи беден свод

Да се слави, да се помни

Вечно името Странгфорд!


"НА ЛЕДИ СТРАНГФОРД"

Иван Вазов

19 септемврий 1876


Why did Ivan Vazov, the patriarch of Bulgarian literature, dedicate two of his poems to Lady Emily Strangford - a noble lady from the upper English aristocratic society?


Why does Vazov in his wonderful works describe her as a consoling angel, mother and sister, using the words mercy, kindness and valor, love and comfort?


Why is a monument to Lady Emily Strangford erected today in the center of Batak town?


Lady Emily Strangford monument in Batak town
Lady Emily Strangford monument in Batak town

Why does the inscription under her name say "Benefactor of Batak City"?

Why is a monument to Lady Emily Strangford erected today and in the town of Hisarya?


Monument to Lady Emily Strangford in the town of Hisarya
Monument to Lady Emily Strangford in the town of Hisarya

What is the history of the building used today as a museum in the village of Radilovo?


The museum in the village of Radilovo, Pazardzhik region
The museum in the village of Radilovo

With what means was the building erected in the village of Radilovo?


The museum in the village of Radilovo, Pazardzhik region
The museum in the village of Radilovo

Why does the museum in the village of Radilovo today have a separate exhibition entirely dedicated to the life and work of Lady Emily Strangford, and a memorial plaque with her name on it is placed on the facade of the building?



Why do I find a similar memorial plaque today and on the facade of a building in the city of Hisarya?


A plaque to Lady Emily Strangford on a building in the town of Hisarya
A plaque to Lady Emily Strangford on a building in the town of Hisarya

Why do I find a plaque with her name on the school building in the village of Petrich, on which is written "Benefactor of the village of Petrich"?


A plaque to Lady Emily Strangford on the school building in the village of Petrich
A plaque to Lady Emily Strangford on the school building in the village of Petrich

For what purposes was the extensive second floor of Dudek's House in Panagyurishte used in 1876 by Lady Emily Strangford?


Dudek's house in the town of Panagyurishte
Dudek's house in the town of Panagyurishte

What is the story of Lady Emily Strangford's personal locket, which is now kept in the picture gallery in the village of Petrich?


Lady Emily Strangford's locket
Lady Emily Strangford's locket

Why are there streets in Bulgaria today bearing her name?

I, like you, dear friends, wondered why, until I learned the incredible and so human story of the benefactor of the city of Batak and the village of Petrich - Lady Emily Strangford!

Who is Lady Emily Strangford - she herself did not experience the happiness of being a mother, but she became a mother for many Bulgarians!

Emily Anne Beaufort, Viscountess Strangford applies the Word through deeds in life in acts of charity, kindness, love, mercy and comfort.


Lady Emily Strangford - photograph from the museum in the village of Radilovo
Lady Emily Strangford - photograph from the museum in the village of Radilovo

Lady Strangford, as she is known in Bulgaria, was born in 1826 in the family of the British naval rear admiral, research associate of the Royal Astronomical Society, chief cartographer and hydrographer of the British Navy, distinguished military and famous geographer Sir Francis Beaufort (1774 - 1857 d.) and Alicia Magdalena Beaufort.


Lady Emily Strangford (artist Yordan Shentov, Petrich Village Art Gallery)
Lady Emily Strangford (artist Yordan Shentov, Petrich Village Art Gallery)

Sir Francis Beaufort introduced a standard scale for measuring wind strength ranging from 0 (for calm weather) to 12 (for hurricane).

The Beaufort scale is still in use for this same purpose and to unify various components of climate weather (wind strength, sea surface state, observable effects) into a single overall picture.

In 1831, Sir Francis Beaufort prepared for a voyage the ship "Beagle", with which Charles Darwin set out on a voyage to collect information, on the basis of which he later created his Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, first formulated in his work "On the Origin of Species" in 1859.

Emily Ann has four brothers and two sisters.


Lady Emily Strangford - a bas-relief monument in the city of Hisarya
Lady Emily Strangford - a bas-relief monument in the city of Hisarya

Inheriting her father's spirit of adventure and adventure, young Emily Anne sails with her father's fleet from a very young age to Middle Eastern countries and cultures, typical of Victorian England.

The year is 1858, and Emily Ann embarks on her next big trip, which takes her to the shores of Asia Minor, Egypt and Syria. Her travelogue, published in 1861, was the occasion on which fate met her with another young connoisseur and explorer of the East - the diplomat Lord Percy Strangford, who was a reviewer of her book.


Lady Emily Strangford's locket
Lord Percy Strangford - photograph on Lady Emily Strangford's personal locket

Lord Percy Strangford (Percy Ellen Algernon Frederick William Sydney Smythe, 8th Viscount Strangford (26 November 1825 – 9 January 1869) was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia. He was the son of the 6th Viscount Strangford, a British ambassador who worked and lived in Ottoman Turkey, Sweden, and Portugal.As a child, Percy Smythe was nearly blind as a result of his mother suffering hardships during her voyage on the Baltic Sea in the winter shortly before his birth.

While in Constantinople, where he served under Lord Stratford de Radcliffe, Percy Smythe mastered not only Turkish and its dialects, but also forms of modern Greek. He already possessed a good knowledge of Persian and Arabic before embarking on his adventure in the East. It was the study of Ottoman history that led him to the Balkan Peninsula.

A staunch Bulgarian philanthropist, Lord Percy Strangford supported the Bulgarians during their struggle for ecclesiastical independence. He is believed to be the first British diplomat to reveal to the English public the national identity and culture of the Bulgarians and to suggest that with the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the Bulgarians, not the Serbs, would have a leading role in Balkan politics.

In 1862, Emily Anne Beaufort and Lord Percy Strangford were married.


Lady Emily Strangford (artist Yordan Shentov, oil, 1976, Petrich Village Art Gallery)
Lady Emily Strangford (artist Yordan Shentov, oil, 1976, Petrich Village Art Gallery)

Under the influence of her husband, Lady Emily Strangford developed her strong interest in the political destiny of the Balkans and shared her sincere sympathy for the Bulgarians and firm conviction in their political future.

Two years later, she published her second book - "The Eastern Shore of the Adriatic", in which she describes her family travels.

On 9 January 1869, aged just 43, Lord Percy Strangford died. This is a cruel blow to Emily Ann, and she devotes herself to charity and organized charity work, addressing the world of social injustice, disease, poverty and suffering.

In the same year, she edited and published a collection of selected texts of her beloved husband on political, geographical and social problems (A Selection from the Writings of Viscount Strangford on Political, Geographical and Social Subjects, 1869).

In her memoirs, Lady Emily Strangford wrote:

My late husband often said that I should do what is possible, even if it is little, for the benefit of the Bulgarians.

Lady Emily Strangford enrolled in nursing school and dedicated her life to charity helping hospitals, victims of war violence, prisoners, welfare homes and soup kitchens.

On April 20, 1876, the Bulgarians rebelled against the enslaver, who brutally suppressed the rebellion. Although it ended in a military failure, the April Epic found a strong response in Europe, due to the ugly reports of the barbaric atrocities being committed.


The museum in the village of Radilovo, Pazardzhik region
Museum in the village of Radilovo - a special exhibition dedicated to Lady Strangford

Lady Emily Strangford and the American Januarius (Jan) Aloysius McGahan - journalist and specialist war correspondent of the London newspaper "Daily News", have an essential and important role in the formation of British public opinion about the evil and black fate of the Bulgarians.


Monument to Januarius (Jan) Aloysius McGahan in Batak City
Monument to Januarius (Jan) Aloysius McGahan in Batak City

On July 28, 1876, Januarius (Jean) Aloysius McGahan visited Plovdiv, and on August 1 and 2 this year respectively Peshtera and Pazardzhik, then the village of Batak.

An eyewitness to all the evils, he sends vivid descriptions of what he experienced.

We entered the churchyard, but the smell here became so bad that it was almost impossible to go on. We take a handful of tobacco and hold it to our nose as we continue our investigation. The church was not very large, and was surrounded by a low stone wall, enclosing a small churchyard about fifty yards wide and seventy-five long. At first we do not perceive anything in particular, and the stench was so strong that we scarcely looked round, but we see that the place is heaped up with stones and rubbish to a height of five or six feet above the level of the street, and on inspection we find that what appears to be a table of stones and rubbish, is in reality a huge pile of human bodies covered with a thin layer of stones. The whole little churchyard is heaped with them to the depth of three or four feet, and thence comes the dreadful smell.

A few weeks after the massacre, orders were sent to bury the dead. But the stench had by this time become so murderous that it was impossible to carry out the order or even to remain within the vicinity of the village. The men sent to do the work had contented themselves with burying a few bodies, throwing a little earth over others as they lay, and here in the churchyard they had tried to cover this vast heap of festering humanity by throwing stones and rubbish over the walls without daring to enter. They had only partially succeeded. The dogs had been working there ever since, and could now be seen emerging from that monstrous grave with heads, arms, legs, feet, and hands in terrible confusion.

We were told that three thousand people lay in this little churchyard alone and we could believe it. It was a terrible sight—a sight that would haunt a man for a lifetime. In this festering mass were little curly heads crushed by heavy stones; little feet, not as long as your finger, on which the flesh had been dried hard by the fiery heat before it had time to decompose; tiny baby hands outstretched as if for help; babies who had died wondering at the bright gleam of sabers and the red hands of the fierce-eyed men who held them; children who had died cowering in fear and terror; young girls who had died crying and wailing and begging for mercy; mothers who had died trying to protect their young with their own frail bodies all lay together, festering in one horrible mass. They are quiet enough now. No tears, no shouts, no crying, no screams of terror, no prayers for mercy. The crops are rotting in the fields, and the reapers are rotting here in the churchyard. We examined the church, which was blackened by the burnt timbers, but not destroyed, nor even much injured. It was a low building with a low roof, supported by heavy irregular arches, which, when we looked, seemed scarcely tall enough for a tall man to stand under. What we saw there was too terrifying for more than a cursory glance. A great number of bodies were partially burnt there, and the charred and blackened remains, which seemed to fill it half up to the low dark arches, and make them still lower and darker, lay in a state of decay too ghastly to behold. I had never imagined anything so horrible. We all turned sick and faint and staggered out of the creepy vermin house, glad to be out on the streets again. We walked around the place and saw the same things repeated over and over a hundred times. Skeletons of men with clothes and flesh still hanging and rotting together; skulls of women, with hair trailing in the dust, bones of children and babies everywhere.

Januarius (Jan) Aloysius McGahan on Batak sightings and Holy Sunday Church

McGahan points out that out of a total Batak population of seven thousand, only two thousand survive. According to his calculations, fifty-eight Bulgarian villages were destroyed, five monasteries were razed to the ground and a total of fifteen thousand people were brutally slaughtered.

These reports, published in the liberal newspaper "Daily News" and reprinted by other newspapers, caused in the United Kingdom a huge wave of public indignation against Ottoman Turkey. Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, whose government supported the Ottoman Empire, tried to downplay the massacres, claiming that the Bulgarians were also to blame. These arguments have been refuted by McGahan's subsequent reporting.

The English public is deeply moved and deeply shocked by the crimes committed.

Europe is outraged!

Meetings, rallies and parliamentary debates are organized. Victor Hugo, Giuseppe Garibaldi and Oscar Wilde wrote in defense of the Bulgarians.


Monument to Victor Hugo in the city of Batak
Monument to Victor Hugo in the city of Batak

William Gladstone wrote and published his book Lessons in Slaughter.

Lady Emily Strangford appeals to the entire British public and Europeans in Constantinople to help the Bulgarians and creates a fund-raising foundation "Bulgarian Present Relief Fund".

To the funds collected, Lady Emily Anne Strangford added her own personal savings and valuables, thus the foundation managed to raise around £30,000. With the collected amount, she left for Constantinople, where she met with Edwin Pearce (an English journalist, lawyer, historian and a bright advocate of the Bulgarian national cause, a regular correspondent of the London newspaper "Daily News" in Constantinople), Januarius A. McGahan, Eugene Skyler ( American scientist, writer, traveler-researcher and diplomat) and Exarch Antim I (the first and much-deserved Bulgarian Exarch), who gratefully wish her success.

Medicines, clothes, furniture and food were purchased with part of the collected funds, and at the beginning of October 1876, Lady Emily Strangford arrived in Plovdiv. The Bulgarian public and representatives of foreign missions heartily welcome her.

In the second half of October Lady Emily Anne Strangford visited Batak.

The brutal reality that unfolds before her eyes is beyond all her worst imaginings! Lady Emily Anne Strangford faces the ashes and ruins of the ravaged insurgent settlements in the worst hours unbecoming of our people misfortune.

Near the completely burned and dilapidated buildings, among which life was once boiling, unburied decaying corpses can be seen.


Not breathing!

The air is frozen heavy, poisoned with a foul smell!

The survivors, decrepit old men, women and children, move like ghosts through this open tomb for the dead and the living.

There is no food!

No clothes!

There is no shelter!

It's autumn. Winter is coming!

People no longer have tears - they are dried up and cannot cry!

The inhumane and deadly conditions brought epidemics of typhoid and dysentery, which took further toll.

As soon as she arrived in Batak, Lady Emily Strangford started the distribution of clothes (mushrooms, poturis, cloths, blankets), medicines, household goods and organized a free public kitchen where she personally distributed food.

Small temporary huts are erected for shelter, but the epidemic grows and the casualties rise. Lady Emily Strangford felt that a hospital staffed by doctors and nurses should be built.


Photos and plans of the hospital in Batak from the museum in the village of Radilovo
Photos and plans of the hospital in Batak from the museum in the village of Radilovo

The hospital in Batak was built on the English model in a very short time. It was modernly furnished for its time with possessions brought from England. It had an ambulatory office, a room for the medical staff and two large halls used for women's and men's wards and intended for inpatient (hospital) treatment. It was here that English doctors and nurses worked.


Original dishes used in the hospital in Radilovo
Original dishes used in the hospital in Radilovo

At the same time, he appealed to the English public to send two doctors and five nurses.


Exhibition dedicated to Lady Strangford in the museum in the village of Radilovo

Not two but four English doctors responded to this appeal – Dr. George Stockle, Dr. William Stevenson, Dr. Henry Dobson and Dr. Chara Scachley, and not five but eight nurses. They are all young people, volunteers, who have come from England to work for free in the name of human duty. The entire medical team speaks only English and students from the American College in Samokov are brought in as translators.


Original tools and accessories used in the hospital in Radilovo
Original tools and accessories used in the hospital in Radilovo

At Batak, Lady Emily Strangford was housed in a hastily made wooden hut, at the bottom of which was a crucifix, and next to it a barely flickering gas lamp, by the light of which she wrote her impressions of the experience.

As a true lady of the high English aristocratic society, all this was a completely unfamiliar environment for her, but she very quickly adapted to the new impossibly harsh conditions and steadfastly endured the adversity.


Monument to Lady Emily Strangford in the center of Batak town
Monument to Lady Emily Strangford in the center of Batak town

Today, this monument to Lady Emily Strangford stands in the center of Batak town. On the site of the yellow building (now the Lady Strangford Day Care Centre) which can be seen behind the monument, at one time stood the hospital, built with funds from the foundation. Today on the facade of the building on the main street and facing a commemorative plaque has been placed on the monument.

Here was the hospital for Batachians injured in the April Rising of 1876, built with funds from Lady Emily Strangford.

On her various visits to Batak, Lady Emily Strangford each time took several girls and boys - round orphans aged 6-7 years. She took them to Constantinople and gave them up for adoption to foreigners, placing some of them in boarding houses.

This is the building of the fourth hospital in a row that Lady Emily Strangford erected. The place is Petrich village, Zlatitsa municipality.


Lady Emily Strangford's Fourth Hospital, located in Petrich Village, Zlatica Municipality
Lady Emily Strangford's Fourth Hospital, located in Petrich Village, Zlatica Municipality

Today, on the facade of the building, I find this memorial inscription.


The Fourth Lady Emily Stranford Hospital, located in the village of Petrich, Zlatica Municipality
The Fourth Lady Emily Stranford Hospital, located in the village of Petrich, Zlatica Municipality

This house was a hospital built by Lady Strangford in 1876 and the headquarters of the Russian Liberators in 1877.

In the village of Petrich, Lady Emily Strangford stayed in a most ordinary little house in the hamlet of Bodiat, located north of the Kamenii River, exactly where no one knows today.


View of Petrich village from Petrina chukara and Slivovka
View of Petrich village from Petrina chukara and Slivovka

In the room which this English noblewoman occupied for about a month, while she daily helped in the hospital, there was absolutely nothing but a low bed. Lady Emily Strangford wishes only one wooden trough of water to be added so she can wash. Since there is no one in the whole village, the people of Petrie cut down the trunk of a thick tree and hollowed it out to make a bed for it.

From the village of Petrich, municipality of Zlatica, Lady Emily Strangford sends four round orphaned children to England to study and succeed. They become doctors and lawyers. Two of them return to Bulgaria to search for their roots.

Panagyurishte was also almost completely burned.

September, 1876

Envoys of foreign charitable societies began to arrive, mainly English.

Georgi Aloydov, Panagyurishte

In his travelogue "Under the Balkans. Notes on a visit to the Plovdiv region in 1876." author Robert Jasper More also gives due space to Lady Emily Strangford's residence and charitable work throughout the area.


Dudek's house in the town of Panagyurishte
Dudek's house in the town of Panagyurishte

Lady Emily Strangford equipped the spacious upper floor of Dudek's house in the town of Panagyurishte and turned it into a hospital and orphanage.


Dudek's house in the town of Panagyurishte
Dudek's house in the town of Panagyurishte

Now the news is that an English lady named Lady Strankford has come and her two people come here all the time and they have destroyed Dudek's house and they have made a hospital and an orphanage, there are up to 150 people who feed them.

Priest Mancho N. Juzhev, Panagyurishte


Dudek's house in the town of Panagyurishte
Dudek's house in the town of Panagyurishte

The situation is similar in Peruštitsa, where the building of the Revival (Danovo) School was probably used as a temporary hospital, for which, however, there are no definitive data.


Revival (Danovo) School in the city of Perushtitsa
Revival (Danovo) School in the city of Perushtitsa

...the ever-unforgettable Bulgarian benefactor Mrs. Lady Strangford, among her other kindnesses, provided our village with a hospital, in which our poor and destitute peasants found refuge all winter, under the supervision of the most excellent Dr. Stefanson, together with two female doctors . According to his lordship's will (the hospital to be a school in the future), we opened our school on the 25th of last April, being conducted again by her through St. Plovdiv Metropolitan teacher. 135 male students gathered, and 85 female students who attend the school regularly...

Addendum from Peruštitsa in the newspaper "Napreduk", issue 132 of May 20, 1877.


Photos of the hospitals in Radilovo and Perushtitsa from the museum in the village of Radilovo
Photos of the hospitals in Radilovo and Perushtitsa from the museum in the village of Radilovo

Lady Emily Strangford provided funds through which six hospitals were built and equipped - in the villages of Batak, Radilovo, Perushtitsa, Petrich, Panagyurishte and Karlovo, and new homes for over 5,000 Bulgarian families. He built a dining room in the town of Koprivshtitsa. Provides clothing for over 20,000 people.


The museum in the village of Radilovo
The built hospital in the village of Radilovo, today used as a museum

I have looked upon nothing with such satisfaction as upon the six hospitals which I have built.

Where there were most afflicted by the insurrection, old men, children, and mothers, nothing that was strange, because of typhus and dysentery. Sofia, one of my sisters, was only 18 years old - she died here, in the village of Radilovo, again from typhus, but before she died, she fed the hungry and treated the sick.

Lady Emily Strangford


The grave of nurse Sofia Nespach (18 years old, from Croatia) in the courtyard of the hospital in the village of Radilovo
The grave of nurse Sofia Nespach (18 years old, from Croatia) in the courtyard of the hospital in the village of Radilovo

A memorial plaque in the name of the 18-year-old Croatian woman and nurse at the Lady Emily Strangford Hospital, Sofia Nespach, who died of typhoid fever on March 17, 1877, has been placed today on the facade of the museum building in the village of Radilovo.


A memorial plaque with the name of Sofia Nespach on the building of the museum in the village of Radilovo
Memorial plaque in the name of Sofia Nespach

Dear friends, I present to you the building in the village of Radilovo, erected with funds raised with the help of Lady Emily Strangford and today turned into a museum.


Exhibition dedicated to Lady Strangford in the museum in the village of Radilovo
Exhibition dedicated to Lady Strangford in the museum in the village of Radilovo

It houses a special exhibition dedicated to Lady Emily Strangford.


Exhibition dedicated to Lady Strangford in the museum in the village of Radilovo
Exhibition dedicated to Lady Strangford in the museum in the village of Radilovo

The organizer of this extraordinary place, Mrs. Marena Vachkova, trepidatiously and with particular fervor, shared her wonderful story with me, which I pass on and tell you today.


Exhibition dedicated to Lady Strangford in the museum in the village of Radilovo

In the museum in the village of Radilovo, I managed to photograph everything so that the work of the curators of this interesting place would be preserved and promoted.

Dear friends, this is Mrs. Marena Vachkova - secretary of the community center "Zora-1903" and curator of the museum in the village of Radilovo, who was extremely kind and kind to give us incredible knowledge, because the people of Radilovo deeply cherish a fond memory of Lady Strangford.


Mrs. Marena Vachkova - secretary of "Zora-1903" community center and curator of the museum in the village of Radilovo
Mrs. Marena Vachkova - secretary of "Zora-1903" community center and curator of the museum in the village of Radilovo

Lady Emily Strangford toured a total of 59 villages in Plovdiv and Pazardzhik, supplying their inhabitants with clothes, food, medicine, and household goods.


The Corner House - a model of one of the houses built in 1876 by Lady Strangford for the distressed gorge dwellers
The Corner House - a model of one of the houses built in 1876 by Lady Strangford for the distressed gorge dwellers

In addition to very large quantities of clothing, she supported the suffering Bulgarian population with funds for the construction and furnishing of homes, sawmills, a mill, rose factories in Klisura and other villages of the Rose Valley, including 110 cauldrons for boiling rose oil.

Lady Emily Strangford herself strictly accounts for every penny she spends.


Exhibition dedicated to Lady Strangford in the museum in the village of Radilovo
Reports of spent funds

Investing so much boundless love, self-sacrifice and kindness, Lady Emily Strangford receives the heartfelt thanks of hundreds of Bulgarians.


Exhibition dedicated to Lady Strangford in the museum in the village of Radilovo

I will tell you that at that time in Tsarigrad the newspaper "Zornitsa" was published in Bulgarian. It published a number of messages and articles about the situation of Bulgarians under Ottoman rule. Correspondents have very conscientiously and accurately covered everything happening in the Bulgarian lands, therefore the data are a reliable source for our historical research. In the special exposition dedicated to the Bulgarian Lady in the museum in the village of Radilovo, a number of curious materials have been preserved and displayed, to which Mrs. Vachkova paid special attention.

In the spring of 1877, due to ill health, Lady Strangford returned to London via Constantinople. As parting, she promises to visit Bulgaria again to see the fruits of her labor and to help as much as she can. And she did return here in 1884.

I present to you a significant letter of Lady Strangford to the Bulgarian people:

Dear Bulgarian friends,

I cannot part from you without saying goodbye to you all!

I would like to say all this to all of you personally and talk to each of you. I wished to visit every village in your country, and to take by the hand every widow and every orphan, but the severity of the climate and my already shaken health compel me to leave, which I do quite against my will, without visiting the few places which they are still unknown to me. I am most sorry that I am forced to leave without visiting Sliven, Kazanlak, Tarnovo and Lovech.

If you owe much to the English people, to their sympathy, to their generosity, and to their rich beneficence, I owe them a double debt of gratitude: first, for all the help they have given you, my friends, and secondly, for for leaving me alone to bring this help. You know that, if I may say so, every penny I spent on you went through my heart. I have loved you sixteen years past, for the love of my husband, and the only bright ray of my widowed life has been the work I have been called to perform among you.

I am confident that the four Englishmen, my fine doctors, who offered their services freely among you, and the six Englishwomen who looked after the sick, will always remember with gratitude the months during which they also worked among you.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the kindness you have shown me; for the effort you made to welcome me and for the warm welcome you gave me in Plovdiv, Karlovo, Sopot, Panagyurishte and other places. The nice gifts you brought me will be pleasant memories that will tell me about "appreciative Bulgaria" even when I go far away from here.

I hope that I will be able to come to you again at a more favorable time. May God in his infinite mercy and loving kindness watch over you, bless you and guide you. This will be my constant prayer when I return to England!

Plovdiv,

Viscountess Strangford,

April 16, 1877

During the Anglo-Egyptian War of 1882, Lady Emily Strangford traveled to Egypt, where she founded the Victoria Hospital in Cairo. On her return to England, Queen Victoria awarded her the Order of the Red Cross.


Picture gallery in the village of Petrich
Picture gallery in the village of Petrich

In the public library "Ivan Vazov" in the city of Plovdiv, the relatively little-known herbarium of algae, bound in leather covers, entitled Irish sea-weeds, collected and made by Lady Emily Strangford in the period 1843-1845, while she was sailing with his father's ships along the coast of the islands of Northern Scotland and Ireland.

In 1883, she presented her collection to Valko Shopov, mayor of Plovdiv and her secretary and translator during her tour of the Bulgarian settlements after the April Uprising in the period from 1876 to 1877.

In 1887 Lady Emily Strangford raised money to build a hospital in Port Said.

Despite her failing health, she left by sea on 17 March 1887 to found the hospital, but died on board ship of a stroke on 24 March. Her body was embalmed in Naples and then sent to England, where she was buried on April 18, 1887, next to her husband's grave.


Lady Emily Strangford's locket with a photograph of her and her husband Lord Percy Strangford
Lady Emily Strangford's locket with a photograph of her and her husband Lord Percy Strangford

The picture gallery in the village of Petrich houses the medallion of Lady Emily Strangford, which the benefactor of the Bulgarian people gave to the 25-year-old poet Ivan Vazov in 1877. Later, the patriarch of Bulgarian literature donated the relic of the writer Evgenia Mars, who was accepted as his muse.


The original 1910 note signed by Mars for her acquisition of the locket
The original 1910 note signed by Mars for her acquisition of the locket

On May 8, 2021, Maria Elmazova - granddaughter of the first Bulgarian woman publisher, Evgenia Mars, donated the Lady Strangford medallion to the mayor of the municipality, Eng. Stoyan Genov, together with the original note from 1910, signed by Mars, for the acquisition from her on the locket.


Lady Emily Strangford's locket
Lady Emily Strangford's locket

It is placed in a special showcase in the gallery in the presence of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev and the Deputy Ambassador of the Kingdom of Great Britain to our country Mrs. Lynn Charles.


Picture gallery in the village of Petrich
Picture gallery in the village of Petrich

Dear friends, towards the end of my story I will share with you an extremely strong and moving word of thanks!

This is a letter of thanks published in the Zornitsa newspaper, a congratulatory address from the women of Stara Zagora to Lady Emily Strangford.

ADDRESS

from the ladies of Stara Zagora

to

The Right Honorable and Gracious Lady Strangford.

Ma'am!

After daring to most humbly offer our deepest respects and our hearty congratulations to you, we express to you, through our Present, our gratitude and appreciation to your Highness for the great and excellent services you have done and are doing to our suffering brothers and sisters in our fatherland . The wickedness that follows our people, and especially our compatriots in Plovdiv, is indescribable. You yourselves have seen and heard the cries and sobs of thousands of wretched human beings.

Venerable and Most Noble Lady!

Thousands of Bulgarian hearts and thousands of Bulgarian souls glorify and will glorify your name forever, for which you looked mercifully at our suffering brothers and sisters, striving to feed the hungry, water the thirsty, clothe the naked, support the weak, heal the sick and to comfort the sad and sorrowful.

We assure you, Venerable and Noble Lady, that your name will remain written in golden letters in the history of the benefactors of our poor Bulgarian people - and above all, as your deeds preach that you carry a pure Christian heart and a truly Christian soul, with which you adorn your noble personality, which will forever and ever be blessed with the greatest respect by the posterity of our people.

At the same time, through you, we congratulate and thank all the noble women of England and the ladies of Edinburgh who have shown compassion for the misfortune of our brothers and sisters by coming to offer their moral and material assistance.

And as we offer prayers to the Creator for your many years, we remain faithful and obedient to you!

1876, December, 28

(The signatures of the ladies from Stara Zagora follow).

S. Zagora

And at the end of this post dedicated to the life and work of Lady Emily Strangford, I will share with you excerpts from her book "Eastern Rumelia", published in the month of May 1879.


The Bulgarian is deceitful because of the habit of fear, but freed from fear, he is straightforward, full of insight and excellent sensitivity, very industrious by nature, terribly thrifty, and has an impulse for moral and physical progress, which is incredibly interesting and admirable.

He is, in my opinion, the best of the Slavic nations; and yet he is the least loved.

He is an individualist, does not get attached easily. I do not hesitate to say that there is no other

a European nation with so little natural tendency to attachment. Curious

the fact is that even a little education suddenly develops tender fibers, they become kind and

friendly. They are dull and frowning people now; but two or three educated

generations will surely develop these traits into a lively and good character.

Their meager frugality will become wise saving, their selfish

alienation will melt into friendly friendship.

To-day all, both poor and rich, without exception, are obnoxiously smug, exceedingly self-confident, and full of the most absurd vanity, though they have little to boast of. And of course the attention they have attracted has boosted their self-esteem tremendously.

They are left to the training of the Russians, whose inflated self-confidence is so

intolerable whose ignorance even when educated is so striking and

whose deceitfulness is so boundless. Aided by Europe, encouraged by

The West, the Bulgarians will develop into a solid, valuable people, capable of governing

themselves and to win the respect of the European family of nations in which, I deeply

I believe they will be a valuable member at last if they keep away from Russia.

It is our duty to help them achieve this. It was our duty to help them much more

early as Christians and as fellow citizens of the world; but our countrymen did not know

nothing for them, they thought and did nothing for them; only individuals worked

cordially to show them the way to progress.

If this were continued and constant wise measures taken in the

Constantinople, the Bulgarians would have developed and gradually liberated the necessary

time, and in a lasting satisfactory form, very different from the miseries which now afflict them

befell

The winning position today is for sensible people to look forward, not back. The cruelties of the past are past, and nothing good can be achieved if they are repeated and constantly recalled to the point of shaking; our purpose is limited - what must we do to shape a new nation in an honest way and with conscious work; we want to take it out of the hands of those who are now building it with deceit and meanness. We used to talk too much about helping her; let's do it now.


And first of all let us insist that they realize that those who want to enter the circle of national life must assume their responsibilities and duties, in addition to their privileges. To become one European nation, they must agree to accept the dictates of Europe. They are young and ignorant, but they are teachable; let Europe show them the truth and they will follow. The San Stefano peace treaty made them Russian slaves, but they don't have the intelligence to realize that.

The Treaty of Berlin gave them national life. Let them see this to preserve and develop this life. Russia pretended to be an obstetrician at the birth of the nation: she held her finger to the throat of the new-born child and did not always hide her intention to strangle him if the moment came. And the Bulgarian nation will undoubtedly perish at this fatal fact if they are blind today and if Europe does not watch them to prevent it.

The Treaty of Berlin, however good /or bad/ was compromised by allowing the Russians to stay in Rumelia for a year. At the offer of joint occupation, the Russians openly admitted that they had no intention of leaving the Bulgarians to themselves. "We have acquired these pigs and we intend to lead them" - this is the constantly repeated sentence in the mouth of every Russian.

The Bulgarians, with their youthful enthusiasm and new troops – proud as schoolboys in their new uniforms – believe they can get rid of the Russians whenever they want. They can not. Only Europe can free the Bulgarians from the new, heavier and more oppressive slavery of their "big brothers". The Bulgarian nation is no semblance of Russia... and only with the help of Europe will it be able to free itself from the despotic oppression of the Russian church and people, which is already beginning. They may present bouquets to their liberators on holidays - every Bulgarian wants to add another holiday to the already long festive calendar: but some of them are beginning to understand that their brothers are being quietly sent to Siberia to meditate on their too raised national aspirations.

The lesson that the Bulgarians must learn is simply this: let them adhere to the law of Europe; let them demonstrate that they are capable of self-respect, self-control and dignity; let them calmly accept the protection of Turkey, which will certainly do them no harm, for she will use them to enter the circle of European nations, and protect them from Russia. Their independence thus protected and guaranteed by the word of Europe will develop into a healthy and fruitful tree. Extremely many of them need several years of protection and adoption. These years would have enabled them to attain unity, wisdom, and strength: without them they could not win the respect of Europe, nor secure a long national life. The Balkan ridge has very little to do with the vegetation below, so the past and present situation differ; does anyone feel and believe that the essentially non-aggressive Turkish soldier, carefully watched, as he will be, by officers responsible to the European Commission, will be guilty of violence against armed and trained Bulgarians.

Russia's ever-preferred game is the waiting game; let the Bulgarians follow her example and prove that they too can wait; if they do that, they will win the game in the end. Gradually, slowly, I hope, but surely they will reach full and mature independence.

Consolidated, experienced, purified, self-confident, they will be one true nation: then they will be able to say to Russian Bulgaria, "Reject the slavery of the Tsar: join us and let us be one, united free Bulgaria!"

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