FYI October 24, 2018

On This Day

1260 – Chartres Cathedral is dedicated in the presence of King Louis IX of France; the cathedral is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Chartres Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres (French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres), is a Roman Catholic church in Chartres, France, about 80 km (50 miles) southwest of Paris. Mostly constructed between 1194 and 1220, it stands at the site of at least five cathedrals that have occupied the site since Chartres became a bishopric in the 4th century. It is in the Gothic and Romanesque styles.

It is designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, which calls it “the high point of French Gothic art” and a “masterpiece”.[2]

The cathedral has been well preserved. The majority of the original stained glass windows survive intact, while the architecture has seen only minor changes since the early 13th century. The building’s exterior is dominated by heavy flying buttresses which allowed the architects to increase the window size significantly, while the west end is dominated by two contrasting spires – a 105-metre (349 ft) plain pyramid completed around 1160 and a 113-metre (377 ft) early 16th-century Flamboyant spire on top of an older tower. Equally notable are the three great façades, each adorned with hundreds of sculpted figures illustrating key theological themes and narratives.

Since at least the 12th century the cathedral has been an important destination for travelers. It remains so to the present, attracting large numbers of Christian pilgrims, many of whom come to venerate its famous relic, the Sancta Camisa, said to be the tunic worn by the Virgin Mary at Christ’s birth, as well as large numbers of secular tourists who come to admire the cathedral’s architecture and historical merit.


Born On This Day

1885 – Alice Perry, Irish engineer and poet (d. 1969)
Alice Jacqueline Perry (24 October 1885 – 21 April 1969) was the first woman in Ireland to graduate with a degree in engineering.[1]

Early life and education
Born in Wellpark, Galway in 1885, Alice was one of five daughters of James and Martha Perry (née Park).[2] Her father was the County Surveyor in Galway West and co-founded the Galway Electric Light Company.[3] Her uncle, John Perry, was a Fellow of the Royal Society and invented the navigational gyroscope.[4]

After graduating from the High School in Galway, she won a scholarship to study in Royal University, Galway in 1902. Having excelled in mathematics, she changed from studying for a degree in arts to an engineering degree. She graduated with first class honours in 1906.[1][5] The family appear to have been academically gifted. Her sisters Molly and Nettie also went on to third level education; a third sister Agnes earned BA (1903) and MA (1905) in mathematics from Queen’s College Galway (later UCG then NUIG), taught there in 1903–1904, was a Royal University of Ireland examiner in mathematics in 1906, and later became assistant headmistress at a secondary school in London.[6]

Following her graduation she was offered a senior postgraduate scholarship but owing to her father’s death the following month, she did not take up this position.[2] In December 1906 she succeeded her father temporarily as county surveyor for Galway County Council.[2] She remained in this position for five[2] or six[1] months until a permanent appointment was made. She was an unsuccessful candidate for the permanent position and for a similar opportunity to be a surveyor in Galway East.[2] She remains the only woman to have been a County Surveyor (County Engineer) in Ireland.[1]

In 1908 she moved to London with her sisters, where she worked as a Lady Factory Inspector for the Home Office.[1] From there she moved to Glasgow, at which point she converted from Presbyterianism to Christian Science in 1915.[4] She met and married John (Bob) Shaw on 30 September 1916.[2] Shaw was a soldier who died in 1917 on the Western Front.[1][2]

Later life and death
Perry retired from her inspector’s position in 1921[4] and became interested in poetry, first publishing in 1922.[1] In 1923 she moved to Boston, the headquarters of Christian Science.[4] Until her death in 1969, Perry worked within the Christian Science movement as a poetry editor and practitioner,[2] publishing seven books of poetry.[1]

An All-Ireland medal has been named in her honour, The Alice Perry Medal, with the first prizes awarded in 2014.[7]

On Monday 6 March 2017, NUI Galway held an official ceremony to mark the naming of the Alice Perry Engineering Building.[8][9]


The children of Nazareth : and other poems (c1930)
The morning meal and other poems (1939)
Mary in the garden and other poems (1944)
One thing I know and other poems (c1953)
Women of Canaan and other poems (1961)


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