2 Saturday Walked to Kew Gardens. The flowers were very nice. Girls would talk to the gardeners who squirted them.
3 Sunday Wore my new bonnet for first time. Felt about 30 years old. Got late for Church. Duty week. Sent Mabel and Jessie to bed without supper.
4 Monday Usual morning walk. Ada Bristow’s birthday. Sent her a box of note-paper.
6 Wednesday Took three of the girls shopping and then for a good long walk round Grove Park. Slipped in to see Winnie.
7 Thursday Went to Olympia with the girls – bought a pencil for M.M. Had a row in the boats with Miss Layton. Splendid performance. Got home half past eleven [ham and cocoa].
“M.M” is probably a friend, Minnie Marsh, who is mentioned quite frequently in the diary. An old address book belonging to ELM gives her address as: Montague Lodge, Ravenscourt Park.
I have a letter, dated 1903, to ELM, from Minnie Marsh, who writes about “Louie” and their home in East Putney. She mentions the possibility of them both cycling down to Basingstoke to see ELM. I think that Minnie and Louie were sisters [26 March]. Louie is also mentioned in the diary, as well as an Ethel Marsh [22 May] who might have been related to Minnie and Louie.
9 Saturday Half term Hurrah! Started from Kensington House 2 o’clock; went by train to Rivercourt, had a chat with Win and then went on to Twickenham; found Aunt P. asleep in her room. Had scallops for supper. Letter from my dear Midge.
The train journey would have been a short trip on the District Line from Turnham Green to Ravenscourt Park.
“Aunt P” at Twickenham would be ELM’s widowed Aunt Polly [actual name, Mary Anne], who had been married to another relative in West London, ELM’s Uncle, William Hamblin Paice, a brother of Uncle George. Uncle William, who had been in the distillery business, had died in 1893. The address on one of his visiting cards is: “Philippine Villa, Amyand Park, Twickenham.
“Midge” was the nickname of Millicent Draper, a very close friend of ELM, who is sometimes called “Sweetie” in the diary. Millicent, who was about nineteen in 1895, lived with her parents and younger brother, Charles, in the hamlet of Grove, near Wing, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire.
10 Sunday Went to St Mary’s in the morning. Tea at Mrs Esse’s; Mr E. very amusing, gave me nice sweets and showed me all his china.
“St Mary’s” is probably St Mary’s Church, Twickenham. I have a service sheet for a Harvest Festival service at St Mary’s on 10 October 1886.
The 1901 census lists a family of Esses at 17 Sinclair Gardens Court, Hammersmith: William Esse [Senior Clerk at the Royal Hospital], his wife, Kate and their daughter, Ethel.
11 Monday Walked to Isleworth, was sorry to find all the girls out. Went back to Rivercourt in the afternoon. Saw Oxford and Cam. crews. Played bagatelle in the evening.
I am not sure about the identity of these Isleworth girls.
12 Tuesday Win walked back to school with me. Principals both in very sweet moods. Letters from Annie Cannon, Blanche and Edie Loe.
I am almost certain that Edie Loe is Edith Loe, who is listed, aged seven, with her family, in Wote Street, in the 1881 census. In the next census, in 1891, she is shown as “Scholar” at Westlands Day School [1 May]. I have a card signed “Edith Loe”, which was sent to ELM’s mother, Elizabeth, on her 100th birthday, on 24 September 1944.
13 Wednesday Walked to Kensington with girls – rode back on omnibus. Met Win and Aunt P – went for a walk with W in the evening to Kew.
14 Thursday Usual morning walk, met Charles P. Went out by myself after tea to buy birthday card for Winnie. Miss Layton was digging in the garden [extra sweet].
Charles P: cousin Charles Paice [1 January].
15 Friday Winnie’s birthday [21st]. Blanche and I gave her a jewel case. Had a letter to tell me all about presents. Long letter from Annie Brierley full of nothing but Jim.
Hannah Brierley, usually known as Annie, was the wife-to-be of ELM’s brother, James. Before his marriage he was usually known in the family by his second Christian name, Butler. Apparently Annie disliked this custom and always called him Jim. I can see ELM smiling as she underlined the name!
Aunty Annie, as she was known on my side of the family, was from Rochdale, Lancashire, the daughter of William Brierley, a brass founder. I remember Aunty Annie, quite clearly. I can recall visiting her and Uncle Jim at their home “Restormel” in Saltdean, Sussex, after the war. I can also remember Aunty Annie’s spaniel, Bessie, who, it has to be said was distinctly spoiled!
Many years earlier, as a young boy, my father remembered staying with Aunty Annie and Uncle Jim when they lived in some style at Chetwynd House, Hampton Court and being somewhat overawed by liveried servants and a chauffeur!
After the death of Annie’s mother, Sarah Jane, William Brierley married Lavinia Heath Wilson on 13 November 1895 [six days after Annie’s own marriage]. After William’s death on 13 April 1913, his widow, [Annie’s step-mother] married Samuel Turner on 12 September 1916. A JP and Mayor of Rochdale from 1901-03, he was an important industrialist, whose efforts contributed largely to the phenomenal growth of the asbestos industry between 1870 and 1920. Created a Knight Bachelor in 1914, he died on 10 October 1924. Lady Turner, who survived him, was an occasional visitor to Fairholme, ELM’s later home in Basingstoke [5 May].
According to a letter from one of James Butler Moody’s sons, Aunty Annie’s brother, Frank Brierley, made his name as a brilliant horseman and became personal dispatch rider to Lord Methuen in the Boer War.
In the same letter he says that his mother’s grandmother married the younger son of the Duke of Norfolk, who, in order to marry, became a Protestant and lost his inheritance. I have not yet confirmed this fascinating claim!
16 Saturday Letter from Mabel. Postal Order from Mother for 10/-. Went to Kensington Park for a walk. Girls took sketchbooks and began sketching a man who was painting. Sat by the Round Pond – sketched people passing by.
17 Sunday Went to Church in morning. Took three of the girls for a walk in the afternoon. Went across the ferry. Went to St Mary’s, Stamford Bk. in the evening.
18 Monday Duty week. Usual morning walk to Gunnersbury.
19 Tuesday Usual morning walk. Very springy.
20 Wednesday Went for a jolly good walk, over the ferry, through Barnes, Mortlake to Kew, over the bridge and home. Had a practice when I got in after tea.
21 Thursday Delightfully dirty walk. Nice long evening for study. Haddock for supper – consequently nightmare. Letter from Emily Cannon.
22 Friday L and C came down to breakfast for the first time this week, lazy creatures! Letter from Win. Soup for dinner was like old tobacco pipes – so Miss L. said.
23 Saturday Took the girls to Kensington. I had a fit of the blues and was in a violent temper, snapped them all up and frightened them. Norah Willis went for her violin exam. Pauer was the examiner. Last day of duty – hurrah! Got into a row for the girls’ untidy bedroom.
24 Sunday Went to St Michael’s in the morning. Read Tennyson in the afternoon. Went to Church in the evening – singing very good. Mrs Wilson dressed up in quilted satin: procession round the Church.
A procession round the Church would fit in with the High Church tradition at St Michael’s, Bedford Square [27 January].
25 Monday Letter from Win: went down to tea with her and stayed to turkey supper; came back about 10. Went for a walk in the back slums and got lost, Win and I.
26 Tuesday Went down to see Minnie Marsh’s sister, rather a jolly girl. Had roes and whiting for supper – jolly good!
“Minnie Marsh’s sister” – was this Louie? [7 March]
27 Wednesday No half holiday, next day instead. Pouring wet day.
28 Thursday Miss Charlton’s birthday. Gave her a pot of white hyacinths. Had a half-holiday and all the day-scholars came to tea. Had a very jolly evening, music and dancing and games, hunt the slipper etc.
29 Friday Breakfast in the schoolroom. Letters from Mrs Cannon and Nellie and Ada Bristow.
30 Saturday Boat Race day. Went down to Winnie at 2 o’clock. Started off for Thornycrofts at about 3. Met Mr Webster there, who took us on a torpedo boat, splendid view of the crews. Oxford won. Afterwards we went all over the works and were weighed. Winnie 7.7. – myself 8.8.
The engineering firm of Thornycrofts, founded by Sir John Isaac Thornycroft, began life as a boat building business in Chiswick. A branch of the firm was opened in Basingstoke in 1898 and was to play a major part in the economic life of the town for many years. It seems from this entry that Mr Webster worked at Thornycrofts.
31 Sunday Went to early service with Miss Vincent. Duty week! Awful row for letting Norah read a newspaper.