1 Tuesday [To London] Came up to Hammersmith. Went to hear the “Messiah” at the Albert Hall.
ELM had relatives on her mother’s side in Hammersmith. I know from one of his letters that her Uncle George William Paice, a widower since 1876, was living at 9 Rivercourt Road, Hammersmith in 1882. He is listed on the 1895 Electoral Roll at this address with two of his sons, Charles and Alfred Robert. This was before the days of universal suffrage, so only eligible males were listed.
I have a visiting card for George William Paice, bearing the address: “40 Ravenscourt Gardens, Ravenscourt Park, W.”, so he moved house at some time. Rivercourt Road is about half a mile from Ravenscourt Gardens. The 1901 census records him managing a hotel in Sevenoaks, Kent [19 May] with help from his son, Charles.
There are many references to Rivercourt Road in the diary. I suspect that ELM found her Uncle’s house a welcome refuge from the nearby school in Chiswick, where she was teaching! Handel’s Messiah was one of ELM’s favourite oratorios. I have her well thumbed Novello vocal score from which she might have sung [29 April].
12 Saturday Went to Richmond skating with the “P & W”. A fine time. Intended to catch the train back to B’stoke, but of course lost it, so stayed over Sunday.
“P & W”: Mr Webster and Mr Porter, two gentleman friends, who seem to have lived in Richmond. In the diary they appear almost inseparable! They are usually recorded by their initials, and are only named on 27 July. There are other references to a Mr Webster who is clearly married. Whether he is connected to Mr W, of “P & W” is not known!
After missing her train, ELM stayed with her cousin Winnie [next entry].
14 Monday [To Basingstoke] Went to B’stoke by early train. Win and I walked over Hungerford Bridge, up to our ears in mud.
Hungerford Bridge is the railway and pedestrian bridge [built in 1863] over the Thames, linking the north bank to Waterloo Station. “Win”, sometimes ‘Winnie” in the diary, was ELM’s cousin Winifred Emily Paice. She was born on 5 March 1874, the daughter of George William Paice, ELM’s uncle, with whom she was living at 9 Rivercourt Road [1 January].
It is clear from the diary that Winnie and ELM were very close friends. They were almost the same age [Winnie was only two months younger than ELM] and I suspect that they had a lot in common.
Winnie married Norman Smith at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, London, on 19 April 1900. In the 1901 census they were living at 11 Cheriton Square, SW17 and Norman’s occupation was Brewer’s Clerk. They had four sons. My father remembered going to stay with them [his second cousins] at their home in Strawberry Hill, Twickenham. One son, Geoffrey, came to see me when I was living in Greenwich, London, shortly after his mother had died in 1975, at the great age of 101.
18 Friday Went to Bristows to tea – felt very faint at supper – twice [the effects of sausages I expect or excitement].
ELM was friendly with Mabel and Ada Bristow, who were sisters, both of whom are mentioned in the diary. They were the daughters of William Bristow, a horse dealer, of Garth House, Caston’s Road
Ada would later marry Frederick Field and live at Stocks Farm, Bramley. Another Bristow daughter, Ethel, was later living with her father at Goldings Farm, Eastrop Lane, Basingstoke.
William Bristow is mentioned in an article about ELM’s brother-in-law, Gerald Powell [25 August] in the ‘France’ section of the website.
19 Saturday [To London] Blanche and I came up to Hammersmith for the dance at Addison Hall. Enjoyed it immensely, got back about twelve, sat around fire and had a good talk; but had to retire sooner than the others as I had fearful pains.
22 Tuesday Went to see the “Shop Girl”. Blanche and Mr W nearly run over, thought I should have died with laughing.
The Shop Girl, a musical comedy, opened at the Gaiety Theatre, Aldwych, London, on 24 November 1894 and ran for 546 performances.
Mr Webster: 12 January.
23 Wednesday Went shopping with Winnie and Blanche. Began life at Kensington House – came about 7 o’clock. Miss Vincent and one boarder came the same night.
Kensington House High School for Girls [and Boys’ Preparatory School] was at 12 Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick, London, W4, near Turnham Green Station. ELM lived and worked here for three years as Head of Music and Second English Mistress. The Principals, Miss Ethel C Layton and Miss Charlton, are usually referred to in the diary by their initials. Miss Vincent, another Mistress, is usually “Miss V’ or “V”.
24 Thursday Began school. Oh how I wished I were home!
26 Saturday Oh! Moses it was cold! Frost began which lasted for weeks. Went to Kew Gardens for a walk.
27 Sunday Went to St Michael’s, Bedford Park in the morning and Turnham Green in the evening.
St Michael and All Angels, Bedford Park, has maintained an Anglo-Catholic tradition since its consecration in 1888.It featured in the 1990 comedy film “Nuns on the Run”.
30 Wednesday Went to see Winnie. Saw Julia, she was up for the day.
Julia Jane Allen [née Paice], who was born on 3 September 1869, was one of Winnie’s two sisters and was, therefore, another of ELM’s cousins. Julia had married Willie Allen on 26 January 1893.
Willie was the son of Henry Allen, who, in the 1891 Census, was living with his wife, Elizabeth and their children, Willie and Ada [25 Aug] at Lynton House, Eastrop, Basingstoke.
Henry Allen, a local magistrate, had managed the family business of Allen & Sons, Chemists, which had branches in Market Place and Church Street, Basingstoke, Aldershot and Winchester. An 1890 advertisememt reads: “By Royal Appointment to the Garrison”.
In 1895 Henry Allen is not shown at Lynton House so it looks as if he died between 1891 and 1895.
As Julia was “up for the day” in 1895, it looks as if she was living outside London. I think she may have been living in Aldershot because her husband Willie was living there when he married, giving his occupation as “Chemist” on the marriage certificate. It seems likely that Willie was running the shop in Aldershot.
Lynton and the Allens are mentioned more than once in the diary.