1 Wednesday Called on Miss Graysmark – gave her a painting. Bought a cape at Johnson’s in the evening.
I have a photograph of Miss Maria Graysmark, who had been the headmistress of ELM’s old school in Basingstoke – Westlands Day School in the Winchester Road. In the 1891 census Miss Graysmark is listed as Head of the school. In 1895, however, presumably after retirement, she was living at 17 Fairfields Road and a Miss Merry [3 May] is living at Westlands. The 1901 census confirms Lizzie Merry [age 40] as “Principal of School”. Interestingly, her place of birth is shown as Leighton Buzzard, which is where ELM had tea with her on 16 August 1895!
The cape, which ELM bought, would have come from J B O Johnson & Son, Dressmakers and Milliners, in Market Place.
2 Thursday Annie C and I went for a walk on the common – had tea with her and tennis in the evening.
3 Friday Went to Miss Merry’s to tea – saw all the girls and went for a walk up the Worting Road in the evening.
This sounds like a visit to Westlands School [1 May]. I have a photograph of ELM and Miss Merry with a group of girls at Westlands, which might have been taken on this day.
Drove over to Sherborne in the afternoon. Fed the ducks with worms. Had tennis after tea with Charlie Rush and Minnie.
Drove home in the tub with Robert.
Sherborne St John was the home of Minnie Rush, the step daughter of Charles Clift and his wife Kate, who was Minnie’s natural mother by an earlier marriage. The family lived at Manor Farm.
I have a photograph of Charles Clift. Many years later, Minnie Rush [I remember her as a rather stern, elderly lady] had rooms at Fairholme, in the Cliddesden Road, ELM’s later home in Basingstoke [5 May].
My Uncle Geoffrey tells me that Charlie Rush was Minnie’s brother who used to come from Suffolk to visit his sister when she was living at Fairholme. I am unsure about the identity of Robert, ELM’s companion in the “tub”- a type of trap.
5 Sunday My last day at home. Went for a nice walk up the Cliddesden Road after Church in the evening.
Walking up the Cliddesden Road, ELM would have passed Fairholme, on the corner with Fairfields Road. This house, which was to be her future home, had been built as a family home, by James Moody, her father. in 1881 [date inscribed on a brick]. However, after his death in 1888, his widow, Elizabeth, and the family, continued living at 17 London Street.
In 1885, newly married Charles Franklin Simmons moved into Fairholme and he and his family were still living there in 1895.
Edgar Longley, who managed a drapery shop with his brother in Church Street, also lived for a while at Fairholme. Their father, John Longley, was the Manager at The Little Dust Pan at some time [Introduction].
As things turned out, it was not until after the First World War that Elizabeth Moody moved into Fairholme, which was to be her home until her death there in 1945, at the age of 100.
Fairholme holds many personal and happy memories for me. When my family was living near Camberley, we regularly used to spend Christmas at Fairholme with Granny and Uncle Geoffrey. I sometimes came on my own to stay during school holidays.
When I was much younger, a frightening incident occurred for the family on the afternoon of 24 October 1940. Mercifully, I cannot remember it as I was only about two years old at the time! It was that well documented event in Basingstoke’s war time history when a lone German bomber dropped a bomb on St Vincent’s, a private school in the Cliddesden Road, two doors away from Fairholme. Rather ironically, my mother and I were staying with Granny because of the danger of bombing at Coventry, where my father was working and we had our home.
The bomb severely damaged Fairholme but fortunately none us was injured apart from Elizabeth Moody, my great-grandmother, who received a graze on the ear when all the glass in the conservatory was blown into the sitting room where she was resting.
At some time in the 1970s, the then owners of Fairholme gave me an interesting relic and reminder of earlier occupants in the house – a Messrs Simmons & Sons “Catalogue of Sale of Live Stock”, dated 8th October 1886. This had been discovered under the floor boards in the course of some rewiring.
Fairholme now houses the Basingstoke Chiropractic Clinic.
6 Monday [To London] Cried all the morning. Came back to school in the afternoon-brought Mabel Bristow up as far as Waterloo. Win met me at Turnham Green.
7 Tuesday Found out I need not have come back until today, so returned to Win and went to the Academy with her. Walked up to school in the evening. Letter from Midge.
Probably The Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly.
8 Wednesday Went to see the Queen’s Drawing Room people. Saw the Princess of Wales’ carriage. But could not see much as there were such crowds. Walked in Hyde Park afterwards.
The Queen’s Drawing Room was a ceremony at which ladies were presented at Court, usually in St James’s Palace: a levée was the equivalent for men. Ladies wore special court dress for the occasion. The Princess of Wales was Queen Victoria’s Danish daughter-in-law, Alexandra.
9 Thursday Went up to Albemarle Street to see the young Queen of Holland off. She drove right by us and was dressed in light blue dress, white hat and cornflowers.
Albermale St, W1, is off Piccadilly. The royal lady in question would have been Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. She was indeed young – only fourteen. She did not actually accede to the throne until her eighteenth birthday and until then her mother was Queen Regent. Her father, William III, had died in 1890.
10 Friday Morning walk around Bedford Park. Sent But. a sketch of the “Ruins”.
“But” would be her brother, Butler [James] and the “ruins” would be the ruins of the Holy Ghost Chapel, Basingstoke: a favourite subject for ELM and probably for other local artists. I have a little watercolour by ELM of the ruins.
11 Saturday Came for a walk in Ravenscourt Park. Jessie and Mabel went to town so only have a few to look after – thank goodness.
12 Sunday Bedford Park Church in the morning. Turnham Green in the evening. Had to come out because Mabel was faint.
13 Monday Went down to see Win, in the evening had a walk. Letters from Ada Bristow and Midge.
14 Tuesday Went to see Lettie Barford and her mother act in a play at Acton Green schoolroom. Letter from Butler.
15 Wednesday Came to Kew Gardens with all the girls. Letters from Mother and Frank.
Frank was ELM’s youngest brother [Introduction].
16 Thursday Letters from Blanche and Win.
17 Friday Letter from Ada to say she is coming to see me Monday. Went for a nice walk in the evening round Acton Green way.
18 Saturday Parcel and letter from Mother. Did not go for a walk. Girls marked their clothes and did mending. Miss Vincent went home.
Wretchedly cold and wet.
19 Sunday Off Duty! Went to Bedford Park Church in the morning. Down to Rivercourt in the afternoon to see Aunt M. Came back about six to go to Mr Manby’s [sic]. Church, Acton Green.
Aunt M: Aunt Mary Annie Corbishley [née Paice], a sister of ELM’s Uncle George at 9 Rivercourt Road [1 Jan]. She had married the Rev Ebenezer Corbishley. Research indicates he was a Congregational minister, who had a pastorate in Winchfield, Hampshire, from 1858 to [probably] 1865. It also looks as if he was a widower when he married Mary Annie Paice. He died in 1880 in Maidenhead. At some stage Mary Annie Corbishley was living in Twickenham but it seems from entries in the diary that by 1895 she had moved nearer her brother, George Paice.
The 1901 census reveals her actually living with [or staying with] her brother, George, then aged 68, at the Sennocke Hotel, London Road, Sevenoaks, Kent. George is shown as managing the hotel and his son, Charles, 38 and single, is down as Assistant Barman. Interestingly, also in the hotel on the day of the census, was ELM’s cousin Julia Allen [30 Jan], together with her three young children, Winifred, Dorothy and Leslie, all shown as born in Aldershot.
Many years later in the 1950s, when I was a schoolboy and living at St Albans, Granny came to stay with us on holiday and she mentioned that a distant relative, Leslie Allen, was living and working as a dentist, quite near to us. I never met Leslie Allen. In the course of working on this diary I discovered that he died in 1994.
The Rev George Henley Manbey was the Vicar of St Alban’s Church, Acton Green.
20 Monday Started off to meet Ada at Gunnersbury. Went down to tea at Winnie’s and then for a walk to Kensington.
21 Tuesday Had my first singing lesson of Barth – enjoyed it very much. Winnie called for me and we went for a walk.
Theodore W Barth, a professor of singing, who gave lessons to ELM and Winnie, lived at 12 Flanders Road, Chiswick and was in his mid 40s in 1895.
22 Wednesday Took the girls up to see a Drawing Room. Saw beautifully – discovered I was standing close to Ethel Marsh in the crowd, had a good talk with her.
Drawing Room: 8 May
23 Thursday Went for a nice walk round Grove Park. Thunder shower in the morning.
24 Friday Very disloyal. Did not give us a holiday. Went down to the tennis club to meet Win and then went shopping.
Queen Victoria’s sixty-sixth birthday. ELM expected a break!
25 Saturday At last ‘tis here! Started off about 11 o’clock. Met my very dear Midge in the Academy at 12. Looked at the pictures for about an hour and then had dinner with Mrs Draper and Mrs Chippendale. Went to matinée of King Arthur. Enjoyed it more than any theatre I have ever been to. Had tea at Euston and saw them off. All over too soon.
A day in town with friends from Leighton Buzzard – Millicent Draper [9 March], her mother and a friend. The play, King Arthur, which ELM enjoyed so much, had opened at the Lyceum Theatre on 12 January that year. Sir Henry Irving [he received a knighthood in 1895] and Ellen Terry played Arthur and Guinevere. Sir Arthur Sullivan supplied musical numbers for the play.
26 Sunday Church at Bedford Park morning and evening. Lamb for dinner and tinned apricots for dessert.
27 Monday Went to singing lessons instead of Tuesday. Went down to the tennis club to see Winnie and did some shopping after.
28 Tuesday Painted some nasturtiums on panel for a firescreen.
29 Wednesday Misses L and C took all the girls to the Academy so Miss V and I went off to Kew. I did some sketching by the river. Went down to see Frank in the evening at Rivercourt Road.
30 Thursday Did some painting after the walk.
31 Friday Walked in the fields – terribly hot.