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Samuel Wilkinson's
Coronation Day
and other diary entries

Part of our 'Windsor People' series, an area about past Windsor residents.

This article also includes extracts from a diary written by his cousin, Sarah Jane, following her visit to Windsor a month or so earlier
Sarah Jane's Diary


Samuel Wilkinson and his sister Lizzie

It is August 1902 and Samuel Wilkinson is due a holiday break. but first he calls in to his office to catch up on work on Coronation Day.

This article is from his diary written at the time in which he describes events in Windsor on the day of Edward VII's Coronation, August 9th 1902. Although the Coronation itself was in London, there was much celebration in Windsor.

The next day Samuel visits the Albert Hall in London for a concert celebrating the Coronation at which the new king is present 'enthroned in regal state'. On the following days he takes day trips by train to Bournemouth, Southampton and Salisbury and the surrounding areas. His diary records all that he sees in a very entertaining way, giving us a glimpse into the past and a young man's thoughts from over 100 years ago.

Samuel Wilkinson was born in Windsor in late 1882 and employed by the South Western Railway Company as a goods clerk. We are very grateful to Jim Powrie for transcribing the original handwritten diary entries. Samuel was Jim Powrie's great uncle. Copyright in this article is retained by Jim Powrie, ©2006. He may be contacted through the Royal Windsor Website.

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Samuel Wilkinson's home

Samuel Wilkinson's home.

On the right, the curved shop front of the actual Cross's Corner, seed merchants at that time, then no. 4 St Leonard's Road, now painted blue, and beside that no. 6, the small terraced cottage where the Wilkinson family lived. His father, George Wilkinson, was a boot maker by trade so it is possible they 'lived above the shop'. By the 1930s these premises were certainly shops and may well have been at the turn of the last century.


Samuel Wilkinson's Diary

6, St. Leonard's Road


This book records his doings during his annual holiday of 1902 from August 9th to August 13th. S.W. trusts that his readers will excuse the handwriting but for the sake of economy he is unable to put anything better before their eyes in the way of type.

Saturday August 9th

Bang! I awoke from my sleep and looked at my watch. 6 o'clock; what was up? Bang! Went a second report louder than the first, and thoroughly aroused I jumped out of the bed and looked out of the window, and as my eyes lighted on the festive decorations and flags on the other side of the road I realised what it meant. Of course it was Coronation Day and the two reports were signals from the Fire Station. Here I yawned and after gazing pensively at the dull and gloomy sky I crept back into bed again. By this time father had awakened and together we laid listening to the sounds of the traffic which was beginning to stir in the streets. A clatter of horses hoofs in the distance was heard; father got out of bed, went to the window and found it was the Life Guards in state dress proceeding to the station en route for London to take part in the Coronation. He called me to come and look at their gorgeous uniforms, but the appeal fell on deaf ears ­ I was asleep.

No 6 Annes Place St Leonards Road

Samuel's home, No 6, St Leonard's Road (Ann's Place), to the left of the blue cottage, and now part of the premises of Michael Chell, men's outfitters.


"We'll be merry
Drinking whisky, wine and sherry
We'll be merry
On Coronation Day"

This refrain was borne upon my ears as I sat at breakfast. The singers were a party of holiday makers who were no doubt determined to start the festivities in good time, so here they were, going along arm in arm singing that infernal Coronation ditty with such persistence that I very nearly grew to be sick of the "we-e-ll be merry" before the day was half over. I finished my dressing etc about nine o'clock and strolled down to the office.

Lantern Slide High Street 1900s

A hand coloured lantern slide of
Peascod Street from around 1902

Peascod St. was bravely resplendent in flags and bunting, whilst the "God Save the King"s and the "E.R."s and other heartfelt mottoes were scattered over the motley fronts of the houses in a reckless fashion regardless of tone or effect. The Town Hall certainly looked splendid, and the illumination of the flowers, corners etc would no doubt look very pretty and effective at night.

There was not such a crowd of people about at that hour, and I continued my way down the hill examining the decorations as I went along. It took me a quarter of an hour to find the keys of the goods shed. I unlocked the gates and fell onto the office work. I was the only occupant of the building, - except the cats- and all was silent as the grave. Occasionally the strident voices of the trippers could be heard avowing that they would be "merry". A train would rush in now and then disgorging its load of passengers. After I had finished the Company's work I did a bit of my own, and at 11.45 finished, and prepared to start off home to dinner.

The streets were beginning to fill up with people of the town and neighbouring villages. The petty hawkers were noisily proclaiming their wares with their usual bawling tones. "Who'll 'ave a ju-ja; all the fun of the fair, the Coronashun tiddler, one penny. De Coronashun soo-ver-nier, all de portrates of der royal famerlee". Such were the announcements the itinerant hawkers made, who with their commodious baskets on their knees stood upon the kerbstones and pushed their wares into the midst of the fast increasing crowds.

As you passed along a book of glaring portraits would be thrust under your nose, and the vendor would press you to buy it for "tuppence". Anon, a bladder would fly by within an inch of your face; peacocks feathers whisk round your ears, whilst wailing penny bagpipes help to make the scene a regular pandemonium of noise and bustle.


'Lizzie' Powrie, née Wilkinson
circa 1955


Alice Pembroke, née Wilkinson
circa 1955

I escaped from the "ju-jas" and "dusters" and reached home. It was after twelve, and not seeing the girls about asked father where they were. "Gone up the street". As it would be some time before they were likely to come home I started to lay the dinner. With father's assistance I managed to dish it up, and we sat down and dined. The girls strolled in about 2.00pm each waving one of those infernal "flickers". Alice sat down and began to fan herself with the "Coronation duster". Lizzie did likewise; so I took up my cap and went out with a view of seeing the Venetian Fete that was supposed to take place off the Alexandra Gardens. I went by way of the back streets and reached the Gardens about 2.30. There was a good sprinkling of people along the esplanade, but no signs of any sports. A scaffold pole on two trestles (presumably the "greasy" pole) was stretched across the river. A small red flag (very dirty) fluttered dismally about the water, halfway between Boddy's boathouse and the Eyot. A small tent was erected on the latter for the competitors to dress in, and about 6 policemen were guarding an empty gate with nobody about. There was no signs of any of the committee, so I concluded that I had come too early and walked down the steps into the Gardens, and sinking on to one of the seats gave myself up to meditation. My thoughts would not interest my readers so I will not insert them.

Windsor Promenade in the early 1900s

Windsor Promenade in the early 1900s
with Boddy's boathouses beyond.
See Windsor Promenade

The weather was rather chilly, and I devoutedly thanked Providence that I was not one of the competitors in the swimming matches. A train was running out of the Great Western Station, and every minute ran over a fog signal, which startled the echoes with a loud report. At last it became too cold to sit on the seat, so I got up, passed out of the gardens, and walked along the path towards Clewer. As I passed by Boddy's boathouse, I noticed a man occupied in tying about 20 squibs to a long pole. This I surmised was part and parcel of the "grand display" of fireworks that was to take place in the evening. There were no people about Clewer and I pushed open the gate and passed into the deserted churchyard. I visited the different graves and at last sat down behind a wall for further meditation.

Clewer Church from across the fields

Clewer Church from across the fields
(From a postcard by T Cochrane)

How quiet everything was, even the birds seemed to pour forth their melody in subdued notes, and I sat there quiet and undisturbed. Overhead the heavy banks of clouds were drifting up from the west, and I anticipated wet weather. The dark trees in the churchyard seemed to shudder and whisper as the soft wind rustled through their branches. Directly in front of me was a newly made grave, and as I rested my eyes upon it I noticed 2 jam jars, one at each end, adorned with Messrs. Crosse & Blackwell's labels which proclaimed that the vessels had originally contained apricot and raspberry jam respectively. The idea of an illustrated jam jar adorning a grave so appealed to my humour that unconsciously my features relaxed into a smile. Presently a drop of rain fell followed by more, but a large tree at my side sheltered me from the weather, so I did not move but sat where I was, watching the drizzly downpour and listening to the murmur of the rain as it fell on the leaves and flowers. Suddenly a peal of bells burst forth and a strain of clamorous iron proclaimed the eventful day.

I listened to the sound until it ceased and then got up and passed out into the road. I pursued my way through the village, over the fields, up the New Road, [now named Clarence Road, Ed.] and into the allotments. I had a look at my special mummy peas* and then proceeded home.

After tea I offered to take Alice down the Brocas to witness the fag end of the Venetian Fete. It is not very often that I go out with my sisters, so my offer of my distinguished escort was, as you may suppose, readily accepted. We passed up Peascod Street through the crowds, and upon arrival at the top of the Great Western Station decided to wait there a bit to see if any of the troops were come back from the Coronation. However, none turned up, so after a short wait we continued our way. All the way down Thames Street the people were surging about, while the "bladders" and "ju-jas" flew about with resounding "whacks". The "trippers" were beginning to feel what is known as "that tired feeling" which is so prevalent after frequent visits to the houses of refreshment, but they were far from quiet, and in thick maudlin voices howlingly assured the people round them that they would still be "meree-e-e on Corra-na-a-shun da-a-ay".

Lower RThames Street early 1900s

A tinted postcard of Lower Thames Street
from about the time Samuel wrote his diary

The Bridge was crowded and so was the Brocas. We pushed our way through the people and was in time to witness a tub race between three small boys, who in 3 tubs were paddling and splashing vigorously along the course. The people were cheering the leader, but as I noticed the expression on the face of the probable winner, I foresaw trouble ahead. Presently his tub began to fill with water owing to leak he had overlooked. It sank lower and lower until at last it disappeared with a delightful gurgle, leaving the now despairing youngster struggling in the cold water. The second nipper now began to splash more vigorously and succeeded in capturing the prize.

Lantern slide view of Windsor

A view from the Brocas in Samuel Wilkinson's day
(A hand coloured lantern slide)

Next came the greasy pole with its attendant fun; one by one the youngsters flopped into the river; eventually some urchin walked off with the leg of mutton, and a tug of war between two punts commenced. This event took place at some distance to the right of us, and as the two competing punts were closely surrounded by all sorts of small craft, we had very little to see. This proved to be very annoying to one old gent beside us, who proclaimed in angry tones that the idea of the boats shutting out his view was "shameful", and it was a disgraceful state of things when anybody couldn't see because a lot of beastly people and boats kept sticking around. The effect of the old gent's wrath upon me was so, that I had a hard job to stop myself from laughing outright. We did not wait to hear the conclusion but moved off. We walked along the bank of the river nodding to those of our acquaintance whom we passed. Presently a large black cloud sailed up.

"Here Alice" I remarked "I think we'd better get under shelter before it comes on to rain; look at that cloud".

We passed off the field into Brocas Street and sought the shelter of a large archway which was already occupied by a pram and party. Other people noticed the cloud and soon the arch was packed with a crowd of people, not to mention four prams and about ten babies; and then the rain fell ­ regular torrent. We looked out and watched the crowds of silk dressed and laced humanity go flying by in their finery. We then turned our attention to the interior of the arch. Two of the babies were in the throes of personal agonies, and were roaring as loud as they could. A crowd of sympathetic females swarmed around with consoling and endearing gestures, making the prams darker than ever and reducing the occupants thereof to a state of infantile delirium. Another fond parent was tossing his offspring up and down, and holding the small youngster suspended in mid-air, disclosing its bare legs to the complacent gaze of "yours truly", whilst the chuckling infant struggled and kicked its legs about to the no small danger of the peoples' hats and faces. Other parents were occupied in comforting their respective charges who, terrified by the state of the weather, yelled, laughed, shrieked, chuckled and howled alternately. At last the downpour ceased and the people thronged out of the archway, us included.

As we had a good deal of time to spare, we went down to Mrs Hammond's for half an hour. As we came out of her house, the sky was getting dark and night was falling. Up High Street, Eton and Thames Street the houses on each side were lighting up their illuminations. I took Alice into Togni's Café and we partook of ices and wafers which were enjoyed immensely.

On arrival at home I left Alice indoors and went out again. I passed up Peascod Street, down Thames Street, and along Eton, where all was one blaze of lights, red, white and blue. I retraced my steps to Windsor and passed along High Street to the top of the Long Walk. At this point a large crowd had assembled, I elbowed my way to the front and gazed into the blackness of the night. Far away down the 3 miles of the Long Walk flickered a flame; so small that it looked no bigger than the flame of a candle held at arm's length. The mind could not grasp the realisation that this small flame was a huge bonfire; but when you raised your eyes to the sky, - then could one realise the grandness of it. Far across the vault of heaven stretched the huge expanse of bright, red glow, that quivered at each bursting glare. The sky was bathed in lurid red, and the effect was one that should have stilled the heart of every being who witnessed the impressive and awe inspiring scene.

I retraced my steps along the High Street, my mind stirred up by thoughts anew, and I passed through the streets home and thence to bed. Thus ended my first day in the holidays and at eleven o'clock I passed into the Land of Nod with this lullaby rising from the streets below,

"We'll be merry,
Drinking whisky, wine and sherry,
We'll be merry,
On Coronation Day"


Jim Powrie, who transcribed Samuels' diary, has provided the following notes:

  • The author was Samuel Wilkinson born in Windsor in late 1882 and employed by the South Western Railway Company as a goods clerk.
  • His father was George Wilkinson, born in 1838 in Staindrop, Co. Durham. He was a boot maker by trade.
  • Alice Wilkinson was born in Windsor in 1880, sister of Samuel and employed as a dress machinist (bodice and skirt) in 1901. She married Luke Pembroke in 1916 and died in Old Windsor.
  • Lizzie (Elizabeth) Wilkinson was born in Windsor in 1873. She married Piper James Powrie of the Scots Guards in Clewer Church in December 1902 on his return from the Boer War. She died in Chelmsford in 1965.
  • Mrs Hammond was Rachel, born in about 1868. Sam visited them at their house at 8, Sunbury Road, Eton.
  • Togni's Café was located at 131 Peascod Street and was run by Augustus and Frances Togni émigrés from Switzerland.
  • Sam's 'chum' was William (Bill) Hammond and was about the same age as Sam. He is described as a railway porter in the 1901 census.
  • Flint's were wine & spirit merchants and grocers located at 30, Thames Street. The proprietor was Joseph Flint (a widower in 1902)
  • Harry (Henry) Burgess was another contemporary of Sam's. He worked at Flint's and lived at 33, Grove Road in Windsor.

33 Grove Road

Harry Burgess lived here at 33, Grove Road in Windsor.

* Mummy peas are believed to be the yellow crinkled variety, so called as similar pea seeds had been found in Egyptian tombs.

Sunday August 10th

"He isn't out of bed yet Sam, he didn't get home till 2 o'clock this morning so he won't want to hurry up".

So said Mrs Hammond as she stood at the table preparing the dinner, whilst I, with my hat cocked on the back of my head, gazed attentively into the fire grate.

"Can I go up to him?" I asked.


I proceed upstairs and enter the bedroom of my chum; there I find him laid on his back in his bed, with his knees drawn up and his gaze fixed blinkingly on the ceiling.

"Bon soir mon cher gascon" I said "Comment vous portez vous?"

"What's the time?" was the reply

"Half past ten"

The bed became the scene of a sudden eruption; two long lean arms waved frantically about, the bedclothes heaved up and down like the waves in the Bay of Biscay, and my friend sat up. Seeing that my pal desired to get out and dress, I went downstairs again and in a few minutes he joined me in the parlour.

"Going up 12.23?" he enquired.


"Right you are, I'll be there".

"So long".

"Au revoir".

I pass out into Sunbury Road and proceed home. The streets are littered with the remnants of yesterday's festivities and the town wears a bedraggled aspect. The confetti covers the streets and gutters like a powder, and strips of coloured paper are scattered about the paths. The strains of the Life Guards Band swell up from a distance, but I cannot spare time to listen to it today. I have more important work to do.

Indoors father is cooking me a chop and potatoes for my luncheon. This I digest and at twelve I am ready for the day's enjoyment. I look at my watch, bids father goodbye and passes out into the streets again. At the station I meet my friend, and soon we are in a 3rd class compartment and bowling swiftly towards the Metropolis. All the way up it rained until it ceased at Clapham Jct. At Vauxhall, my chum, who was performing collector's duty, left me, and at 10 to 2 we ran into Waterloo. The North Station was destitute of trains except ours and only a few people occupied the platforms. I passed out at the York Road entrance, down Sutton Street and emerged onto the Rail and footbridge. I passed rapidly over with the noisy trains on my left and the low tide river on my right. I passed down the steps, ran up Villiers Street and emerged into The Strand. I did not pause but pursued my way through Duncannon Street, Pall Mall East, Pall Mall, St. James Street, Piccadilly to Hyde Park Corner. All along the way the houses were covered with all sorts of decorations, and flags and bunting waved jauntily in the misty air. I will not stop to give details of all the splendid things I saw in the way of decoration as it would take up too much space. I arrived at Hyde Park Corner and took a bus to the Albert Hall; we passed along Knightsbridge with its barracks and presently came in sight of the circular roof of the Hall, while opposite, the Albert Memorial reared its splendid canopy to the dull sky. I descend from the bus and walk round the Hall to find a stand. Eventually I take up my position at the 1/= doors (balcony) and await the opening of the portals.

Presently, the "toffs" begin to arrive in cabs and hansoms, and soon the 1/= doors were thickly populated. At 3.00pm the doors opened and we all passed in - not with a rush, but gently and calmly; in fact, if a stranger had noticed me, he would have been under the impression that I was in the habit of going every Sunday, so unobtrusive was my demeanour.

I purchase my ticket; a gent with a top hat tears a corner off at the bottom of the stairs; I ascend, I buy a programme at a counter; I pass under a low doorway and then I enter ­ THE HALL.

The first sight of that vast interior of the building will never be effaced from my memory. Round and round the building rose tier after tier of seats, (I was in the middle, about half way between the roof and the arena), the dome and the roof was entirely of glass and a huge stretch of canvas kept the sun out. On the top of the incline stood the Free Gallery with its circle of massive pillars that stood out boldly against the background of the large red curtains. The arena was covered with seats likewise. It's impossible for me to describe the vastness of the place, but when I tell you that there was seating accommodation for 10,000 people in the audience, and 1,000 in the choir, you will perhaps be able to realise for yourselves. In fact, the whole building was the same style as the original Colosseum at Rome only smaller.

The organ was one of the most magnificent and largest I have seen. Presently the Band of the Coldstream Guards came in with full uniform; they arranged themselves in the orchestra, which in spite of their presence, looked empty with its 1,000 seats.

Listen! With a piercing sound the voice of the grand organ is heard; the strains of the sacred march echo around the vast hall; up to the lofty roof the music rises with a triumphant chant, the organ's voice swells louder and louder until the hall is full of weird vibrations.

"Zadok the Priest" ­ 'tis a fitting name for such a triumphal song.

The Hall is changed, instead, I see as through a mist the vast stadium of an ancient race thronged with its thousands of people. The King is enthroned in regal state, and all eyes are turned upon the sandy plain of the arena. The strains of the organ thrill on and on in one never changing note of exultation and triumph. Through an arch of flowers a procession of priest and singers passes. Maidens glide in and out of the ranks and scatter flowers before them; - it is the Festival of the Temple, and Zadok the priest comes to sanctify the people. Louder peals the organ, swifter whirl the dancers, up to the vault of heaven rise the voices of the people in one stirring chant of praise.

The scene trembles before my vision, the sounds of the organ die away, the vast assembly and the walls of the amphitheatre melt as a mist in the rays of a rising sun, and I awake to find myself in the Albert Hall and the loud acclamation of the audience encoring the organist. As I look down from my lofty seat I see a small figure emerge from a side door in the orchestra and advance to the band. It is Rogan the Bandmaster and presently the air is again agitated by the sound of the overture. I will not describe the different musical items of the afternoon, but let it suffice fro me to say that I sat as one in a dream, regardless of the fact that three or four people were monopolising my programme.

At last it came to an end and I passed out of the hall. The fresh air seemed to revive me. I hailed a bus and proceeded along Kensington High Street to Hammersmith. Here I had a job to find a suitable teashop, but after half an hour's walking about, I found one and managed to make a decent meal.

The next scene dear readers, finds me on the top of an electric tramcar bound for Kew Bridge. There is a small family party on my left and the mother-in-law (presumably) is doing all the talking. Kew looks just as busy as ever and I step lightly over the bridge and in 3 minutes am strolling through the magnificent walks of Kew Gardens. The birds are singing lovely and as the sun is setting, all is cool and pleasant. I begin to feel a bit tired and I look around for a quiet retired seat; but alas, all are occupied; and as I pass every full seat I begin to get desperate. Most of the secluded spots are the abode of couples who spoon there for hours. There is the girl, who leans back with her "fair" head resting on her young man's neck; (we won't say shoulder) her mind is full of the latest "novel" in the "Romance Novelette", while the "young man" is mentally calculating what it's going to cost him for the days "enjoyment".

Ah! An empty seat in the midst of bushes, and not a vestige of humanity upon it, I sink into it and gaze affectionately at a sparrow that is cleaning its feathers on a neighbouring tree.

Fresh once more I pass out of the Southern Gates and look up the road for a tram. One comes along ­ full up, so I walk all the way to Richmond; arriving there I take a 2d bus to the Terrace Gardens, passing through the decorated streets. The Gardens looked beautiful and I hurried up the steep paths until I reached the summit. I passed on until I came to the well-known seat. I sit down, and now I will tell you what I saw.

Before me stretching to the south, was one perfect panorama of green foliage. To the right, the setting sun could be seen gleaming luridly through the trees. The sky was covered with banks of fleecy clouds that drifted gently by. Below was a silvery streak that wound in and out until it met the heavens on the horizon; this was the River Thames, and in places it reflected the setting sun like a stream of molten fire. The birds were warbling their evensong, and the low wind surged through the branches of the trees with a calming and seductive sound. I sat there until eight and then passed out and down to the station. Whilst waiting, I thought I would like a pennyworth of confectionery. I walked up to a slot machine and selected dates. I placed the penny in the slot but it would not pass down. I pressed it down level with the plate and there it stuck. I then had resource to the knife, and after 5 minutes hacking and pecking I opened the drawer and had the satisfaction of earning 8 dates for 1 penny and ten minutes hard work.

My train came in just then and there was a general scramble for seats. All of the thirds were full up so I had to take refuge in a second. I arrived in Windsor about half past nine and very shortly after was ­ asleep.

Monday August 11th

When any individual wishes to inform you that he was up at an unusual early hour, he remarks that he was "up with the lark". Were I to use this phrase today I should be a distinct liar, as I was not up with the lark; but I was out of bed at 6.15am, and as that is a very early hour for me to rise, I consider that it is worthy of note. My breakfast consisted of a fried egg and bacon (the latter commodity being very salty) besides the bread etc. I only required some biscuits for lunch, but father insisted on adding some meat sandwiches. At last I started off and as I passed by Flint's the grocers in Thames Street I met Harry Burgess.

"What! On your holidays?"

"Not 'arf"

"Lucky beggar"

Outside the theatre hung the tattered remains of a large Chinese umbrella that had formerly assisted in decorating the portico; but 3 hours of rain had succeeded in reducing it to its present wrecked appearance. At the Station I encountered one or two of the chaps I knew and after a few minutes talk I took up my seat in the 7.50, and at right time departed. My first job was to regulate my chronometer (otherwise watch) and then I sat down to view the well-known landscapes. On my left amidst the morning sunlight rose the lofty towers and terraces of Windsor Castle, embowered in masses of trees. The grass in the Home Park glittered with the dew and I leaned out and "sniffed" the brisk air with a delightful sensation. At Staines the compartment filled up and remained so until we reached Waterloo.

Here, all was bustle and noise. The morning trains were running in one after another, discharging their loads of busy people. I passed over the footbridge and emerged on No. 1 platform of the Central Station. The 9.27 was nearly full up with sailors and soldiers en route to Southampton Docks. I walk up and down the train, and at last am rewarded with a corner seat. The time flies by rapidly and soon we pass out of the station. The other occupants of the compartment had no peculiarities to speak about and as we thunder along I pass the time by watching the scenery. At Winchester (our first stop) four of us got out and stretched our legs on the platform. At Eastleigh, I found the Bournemouth train nearly full up so I rode as far as Brockenhurst in a second, along with a clergyman, a soldier, and a cast iron featured man who was savagely sucking on a huge cigar. At Brockenhurst I got in with a family, father, mother, 2 eldest daughters and 4 youngsters. I must pass a few remarks on the mother. While all the rest of the family were gay, she was leaning back with a novel stuck in her fist and one of the most deplorable and miserable expressions on her face I have ever seen. This gloomy look was fixed on her dial all the way, so I suppose it was her habitual expression. As we left Brockenhurst we passed by a pub, and judging by the longing glance the father directed towards it I should say he was dying for a drink, and as I thought of drinks I began to feel thirsty myself.

Bournemouth at last and 20 minutes late in the bargain. I pass out and make a straight run for the pub. Here I imbibe lemonade until I can imbibe no longer. I polish off the sandwiches and throw the paper away. I pass out of the pub and walk along the Bath Road. I turn round to the left and before me stretches the sea. I stand on the top of the cliffs and below lies the beach with the waves dashing themselves against the shingle. I drink in the beauty of the scene and walk along the right towards Bournemouth Pier. I come to a flight of step leading down to the beach and descend them. I walk through the dry sinking sand to the edge of the water; here the sand is wet and firm and I walk towards Boscombe pier with the waves dashing against my feet. Above rises the steep sides of the cliffs and on my right stretches the broad expanse of the English Channel. I stepped out with a jaunty air. I inhaled the ozone from the briny. I listened to the jingling sound of the receding waves. My spirits rose to the point of exultation, and I was happy ­ yes, happy in the true sense of the word; tinged with but one regret; - that I had not my father with me.

Boscombe beach was crowded with children paddling in the waves. I passed up the sandy incline and entered on the pier. Here I sat for ten minutes rest and inspected the skeleton of some mammoth lobster, or something, that they had got rigged up on the irons. A number of urchins were fishing from the edge of the pier with varying results. I pass out and enter Boscombe Chine. Here I ramble about the paths and emerge against the Electric Trams. I board one and proceed back to Bournemouth. At the Landsdown Hotel I take a 1d bus to the Winter Gardens. The vehicle proceeds along at the rate of 1 mile an hour, and after a "long" time I arrive at the entrance. I pass through the charming walks and emerge at the entrance to the Bournemouth Pier. Here I sit and watch the animated beach below. Numbers of children are splashing about in the sea whilst others are crowded around a Punch & Judy show. A group of niggers are pounding away at some coon song. Presently I get up and proceed on board the Swanage boat "Lord Elgin". I take up one of the penny deck chairs and fix it at the rear of the boat. I lean back and prepare to give myself up to the glories of an hours ride across the sea to Swanage. The sun now shines steadily, the steamers siren booms, and we and we are off.

We soon get into the regular run of the thing; the passengers settle down and nothing is heard but the throbbing of the engines, the hum of conversation, and the splash of the water against the paddle blades. A slight breeze ruffles the surface of the sea, and I lean back in the chair and enjoy it all. Soon we leave Bournemouth in the distance with her rugged line of khaki cliffs. We pass the outlet of Poole Harbour on our right, and steam round the sharp cliffs and arrive in sight of Swanage. A string band on board now strikes up and renders a lively waltz. We arrive at Swanage all too soon and I enter the town from the pier and quay. The streets, like all small seaside towns, are very narrow and I toil up the steep paths inland. After fifteen minutes hard climbing I stop and look around. Below me lays Swanage in the centre of the bay, so often spoken of as the "Naples" of England. Far across the blue expanse of sea can be seen the dark outline of the Bournemouth coast. It is impossible for me to describe the prettiness of the scene and if you want to realise what it looked like you must go and see for yourself.

I now descend and institute a search for a tea room. When I go out for the day I always look after this part of the programme with exceptional vigilance; more so in fact than anything else. At last I found one with upstairs tearooms. It was a large cool room, nicely furnished, and with French windows overlooking the bay. 3 cups of tea, 9 slices of bread and butter, and 2 boiled eggs for 10d; wasn't so bad ­ was it?

I stroll out and pass on to the pier at 4.55pm. I see no boat ­ where is it? I reach the pier head and find about 50 people wildly arguing with the officials. I make enquiries and find out that the Bournemouth boat sailed at 4.45pm instead of her proper time ­ vis 5.00pm. This appalling news makes me feels sick for a minute or two, but I soon recover and start pacing up and down the pier ­ thinking. Presently I stop my perambulations and approach the official.

"How far to the station, please?"

"Five minutes walk"

I pass of the pier and make my way to the Railway Station. Here I look at the timetable and find that my theory is correct; a train leaves at 5.25 and connects with the 6.37 at Bournemouth, - the train I was to catch. Thus had my presence of mind saved the day. I went out, twirling my walking stick merrily, and purchased 4 oranges, 2 of which I dispensed with there and then. As I passed by a low wall a ball of wet sand came flying along and shattered itself on the breast of my jacket and simultaneously, two little urchins ran away. It soon brushed off and I proceeded back. Before I entered the train I turned and gave a last look at the sea. The disappointed passengers were still debating on the pier head and I smile a quiet "smile".

The scenery from Swanage to Bournemouth was very beautiful, the heather, white hills and picturesque houses making a delightful ride. We passed by Corfe Castle the ruins of which stood out boldly against the blue sky. I arrived at Bournemouth with ten minutes to spare. The 6.37 swings round the curve and runs into the Station. I had a hard job to get a seat. I rode from Bournemouth to Brockenhurst with a costermonger, his wife and 3 squalid, squalling children. Next to me sat an ugly bloated individual who looked like a retired coal heaver; and to make matters look all the more amusing, the rest of the compartment was occupied by a gentleman and 2 ladies, not to mention a luncheon basket.

The costermonger amused himself by expectorating out of the window all the way to Brockenhurst, and in this performance he was accompanied by the other fellow who directed his attention to the carriage floor instead of the permanent way. We passed through the lovely scenery of the New Forest until we reached Brockenhurst where I got out to look for a fresh seat. Before I left the coster and his family I gave the kids the two remaining oranges in my bag. At last I espied a lavatory carriage with the "short" seat vacant ­ here was a slice of luck. I opened the door, glided in, and sat down. Simultaneously a young lady emerged from the little door at my side, and after looking hard at me took the remaining vacant seat (evidently I had taken hers). I sat quietly all the way through the New Forest to Southampton West, resting my arm on the cushioned rest ( the only arm rest fitted in the compartment). I had obtained the best seat in the carriage and I didn't forget it either.

At So'ton West some people got out and others got in, and after 2 minutes stop we steamed out on our long run to Vauxhall. I now began to survey the compartment with the object of putting myself in a comfortable position. The seat I was on accommodated 4 persons, at present it only held 3; the other 2 occupants being a chap and (presumably) his "tart". I say "tart" because they were very affectionate towards one another, and married people or brothers and sisters don't as a rule exhibit any extraordinary symptoms of personal devotion in a filled railway carriage. Anyhow they were squeezing themselves against the window so I had plenty of room on either side for the purpose of shifting my position; but I was desirous of stretching my legs, so I now turned my attention to the opposite side. There were five persons occupying the seat ­ all were females. On my extreme left was an old lady diligently reading "Answers". A very plainly dressed but nice young woman came next perusing the "How to Dress" column in "Home Notes" or something beginning with "Home". Next came a flashily dressed young female with a big hat and a glaring red jacket, who talked volubly with her companion an old lady who said very little in reply but nodded her head vigorously every now and then to my no small amusement, as her bonnet contained a large bunch of artificial cherries, and as she manipulated her head these (which were made of a brittle material) kept up a lively rattle. The final seat held an uprightly and stern featured woman who never took her eyes off the page of a small book. I knew she wasn't reading it because she never turned a single page over all the way to Vauxhall, and yet her eyes were persistently fixed upon the book.

I desired to place my legs under the seat but there was a solid wall of skirts from one end to the other, so it was of no use. I thought of all sorts of plans and the only one that seemed feasible was to change seats, but I didn't like to ask anyone. I was leaning back and prepared to do the best I could when the girl in the red jacket asked her companion (who had shivered) if she was cold. In an instance I was on my feet.

"Allow me to offer you my seat, madam"

"Thank you very much, but I won't trouble you, it was only a passing chill"

Here the remaining male member of the community left off pressing his companion's hand and pulled up the window, and I sank back into my seat ­ baffled. At last I manage to get my legs under the seat and I lean back with a sigh of relief and all the way to London I doze away, thinking of ­ everything.

"Vauxhall, Vauxhall" yells the porters.

I jump out and succeed in catching the Windsor train with 2 minutes to spare. I will not pause on the journey down but will bring the days diary to a close. As we run into Windsor I notice the Castle is brilliantly lit up and on the platform stands Bill Hammond.

"How did you get on?" he asks

"Alright, old man" I reply. "In fact I am what you might call tired but happy". We emerge out in the roadway.

"Come along, mon ami" I say, "We'll go and have a drink".

Here ensues a search for a suitable pub, at last we find room in the bar at the 'South Western Hotel'. "Two small lemons, please"

Over this light refreshment we converse and at 10.30 bid each other good night. Up the street the people are having a fine old time of it. I pass through the Great Western and so escape the ja-jas and the dusters. I find father at home all by himself and presently the girls turn up laughing loudly over some joke ­ I can't stop to write any more ­ I'm so thundering tired ­ good night?

The girls' laughter reminds me of Shakespeare's words "and the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind"

Tuesday August 12th

I am up again at 6.15 and in due course am travelling along to Waterloo by the 7.50 train. The weather is dull and I am afraid I shall have a wet day. It is not so busy at Waterloo as it was yesterday and I am not long in finding a vacant seat in a lavatory carriage. I immediately seat myself opposite the little door and stretch my legs as much as I like. I pass away the time by reading the 'Daily Mail' and as we glide out of Waterloo I lay it down and glance at the rest of the passengers. An elderly gentleman, his wife and a young fellow who (judging by the conversation) was their nephew or a friend. They had an enormous amount of luggage and a good deal of time was spent in arranging it on the racks and even then, the seats were piled up with tourist guides to Winchester (where they were bound for) maps and catalogues, not to mention two baskets and one bag of provisions. Before they were 10 minutes out of Waterloo they had started on the grub. At Surbiton the three of them were hanging out of the window, peeling boiled eggs, and what with sandwiches, biscuits, buns, cakes, tarts and half a dozen bottles of drink it was quite a grand spread, and in spite of everything, it made me quite hungry, so I bought out my modest small parcel and disposed of 6 biscuits. I had nothing to drink so restrained my thirst until I arrived at Southamptom. All the way to Winchester they kept eating and apparently took no notice of how the time was passing. We ran into Winchester and then ensued a flying series of the vanishing tricks. Bottles and half opened parcels of food were shoved into baskets and bags with rapid haste and as the young man was lifting a large bundle of cricket stumps, bats, walking sticks and umbrellas from the rack, the blessed strap broke and showered the lot over the compartment. Laugh? I thought I should have choked. The young man, with a face like a beetroot, scrambled the lot together and they all cleared off.

A young lady got in and all the way to Southampton I gazed at the bits of eggshells, orange peel, paper, crumbs etc and meditated on the slovenliness of the human race in general.

"Small lemon, please". I leaned back in the bar and quaffed the fizzy liquor. I had arrived at Southampton and was now actively engaged in quenching my thirst and supplying the needs of the "inner man". Five minutes later saw me splashing through the mud of the docks, along the ocean quay to the transport 'Sicilia' which was about to sail. When I reached her I found that she did not sail until 2.30pm, so I calmly walked up the gangway and passed all over the vessel. I stood on the upper bridge and watched the busy life below, until the stentorian voice of a sailor told me to come down. I passed forward and then looked at the cooking department which was crowded by a number of Lassars and orientals who jabbered away in their strange tongue. I left the "Sicilia" and made a very extensive visit of the docks.

I viewed the new graving dock being constructed and also the Cold Storage buildings, lairs, abbatoirs etc, etc. I walked around the Empress, Inner and Outer coal docks, looked all over the sheds and went on board the following vessels:

'Zanzibar' , a timber vessel manned by foreign sailors.
'Zoe' a dirty cargo vessel.
'Rock City' a small sailing vessel but very neat and trim.
'Elbe' a large liner in the Brazilian and South American service. I gave the mate 6d to show me over the State sleeping berths.
The famous vessels of the Castle Line ­ 'Kildonan Castle' and 'Carisbrook Castle'.

Kildonan Castle

Kildonan Castle from a contemporary postcard

Also the following miscellaneous liners: 'Danube, Custodian, Clyde, Mohawk, La Plata' and also the Channel Island steamers 'Lydia, Hilda and South Western'. I also went over the 'Hardinger' which is now taking back the colonial and native troops who came over for the Coronation.

I passed from one ship to another and trudged from dock to dock until I was dead tired. I passed out of the docks and proceeded to the floating bridge where I passed over to Woolston which is situated on the other side of the Itchen. I crawled about Woolston until I found a teashop and partook of boiled eggs and bread and butter. I then retraced my steps to Southampton and boarded the electric trams. These landed me in High Street and after purchasing some pears, I wended my way to the Royal Pier.

Here I had the opportunity of inspecting the new pleasure steamers 'Balmoral and Lorna Doone', both splendid boats. I sit for 20 minutes on a seat and eat my pears. By that time, I am rested an stroll to the edge of the pier and watch the departure of the aforementioned vessels. A big man with a 40 shilling boating costume, spectacles, pipe and a navy cap with a very big peak was strutting up and down the planks airing his opinion of everything in general, and I watched him with amused contempt. Oh yes, he knew every boat in the English Channel and explained what he should do in steering the fleet in the forthcoming naval review with the easy nonchalance of a first class admiral, and when some old lady came up and asked the next boat to Cowes ­ he didn't know.

A large steamer (the 'Jupiter') collided with the Town Quay while I was on the pier doing considerable damage. I passed off and as I felt hungry again I went and had another tea. I then boarded the trams and shortly after stood on Southampton West platform waiting for the London express.

I had a very comfortable seat, plenty of room to sit, was able to stretch my legs and feet to the utmost ­ and yet did not feel satisfied. Yesterday I had passed the time listening to the conversation but today everybody was silent or reading, so I was thrown upon my resources for something to do and as nothing of an edifying aspect presented itself to my gaze I was dissatisfied.

I amused myself by studying the other occupants of the carriage. On the left hand seat opposite, a small lean, pale looking man was sitting, the only part of his person visible being his legs and feet.

Next to him sat (or reclined) a large stout woman (presumably his wife) who was sitting slightly sideways and deliberately laying back on him, thus causing the partial eclipse" of her better half. The sight of this lady and the human cushion nearly caused me to laugh outright, and when the small man started to feed himself with biscuits by inserting them through the open space between the window and her broad fat shoulders, I was obliged to turn my head away and blow my nose violently.

At the other end of the seat was a young and rather nice looking girl and I was so struck (as you might say) by her face that I gazed at her until she suddenly looked up from her book and she blushed so much that if I had been any ordinary light-headed youth, I should have fallen head over ears in love with her ­ but not so. I merely removed my gaze from her juvenile features and transferred it to a harmless fly that was perambulating over the ceiling as well as the rocky motion of the carriage would let it.

On my left sat two simpering, giggling lovers. ­ Oh those lovers -. I fall across them at every twist of life. The female looks at me with a pitying gaze as if I were some mortal whose existence was incomplete and who wanted but the society and love (?) of an earthly "angel" to make life worth living. The man (when his glance falls upon me) presses his "donah" closer to his throbbing manly heart; vaguely conscious of a rival in the field and peers at me as if I was a walking tomb of misery.

"Ah" he would think, "you don't know what bliss and happiness it is to participate in the love of a nice young woman. If you had a 'tart' you would be a different man" (I think I deserve the title of man) "you would be full of love and joy and your life would seem a patch of roses".

"Yes" I inwardly reply "such would be the case, but unless I am sure of the prospective happiness and joy I am rather doubtful about taking to the 'rosy path'. A man may look very happy with his so called sweetheart but I've had a little experience in that sort of thing and I am dubious".

As I was remarking, these were two lovers, and their united gaze was fixed on a book of views. Their craniums were very close together, and every now and then the girl would turn and leer at "him"; while he would return the compliment by making a similar leer at "her". Then they would giggle and he would poke his finger between her ribs; then she would make a little jump and utter a consumptive squeak, (you can't call it anything else), then blush and try and look innocent, the young man would whisper a few "honeyed words" into her ear and they would bury their faces in the pictures again.

On my right sat a young woman reading, and next to her an old lady whose husband sat immediately opposite me. This old gentleman was like me ­ had nothing to do. We sat and looked at one another, but neither of us had the courage to break the silence. The lovers had left off looking at the book of views and were now engaged in gazing at the sunset. The fat old girl was still reclining on her "hubby" ­ nearly asleep. The nice looking girl was dozing. The old lady and young woman on my right were still reading, and save for the noise of the train, nothing was heard.

We were 8 minutes late at Eastleigh, and all the way up from thee we had been going at a rapid speed. We flashed through Basingstoke and on looking at my watch I found that we were now only 7 minutes late ­ one minute caught up. I was dying to talk to someone and this was a good opportunity. I coughed, leaned across to the old gentleman opposite and shouted thus:

"If we keep on running the same rate as we are now we shall get to Waterloo in good time".

I shall never, never forget the effect those few words produced upon the company. The old girl jumped off her husband's body and stared at me. The lovers turned their heads and gazed at me as if I was some ornithological specimen. The nice young girl woke up and smiled at us all and the two ladies on my right turned and looked very hard at me. I leaned back in my seat feeling as if I had committed some foul crime, whilst the old gentleman I had address roused him self and said "Beg pardon?" With a sickly smile I repeated my observation and the old gent took up the thread at once and all the way to Clapham we shouted to one another until we were blue in the face. I had broken the ice and the old gent was thankful to get anyone to talk to so the doings of the rest of the occupants were hereafter unknown to me.

At Vauxhall I got out and passed down the subway to the number 2 platform and was successful in catching the 9.10 down. Nothing occurred of any note except that a chap and girl got in at Richmond and all the way to Twickenham the girl was chucking the chap under the chin and calling him all the names she could think of. A friend once told me that when you're in love, you don't notice the presence of other persons. So it seems.

One more days holiday and it will all be over ­ so ­ goodnight.


Wednesday August 13th

When I woke up at 8.00am I found that my watch had gone wrong during the night and was half an hour fast. It took me 20 minutes to put it right again and the result was, that I had to rush through my breakfast and toilet and run up the street doing my lunch up as I went. I bought the Daily Telegraph to look and soon was steaming away from the land of my birth. At Staines I changed into the up Reading train running straight to Vauxhall and arriving in Waterloo 3 minutes late. The first thing I did was go don the Waterloo Road and buy a bottle of lemonade for consumption on the down journey. Then I watched the departure of the 10.50 Plymouth Express. I walked quickly up to the 11.10am train and saw a good seat vacant. A lady and a little girl were arranging some luggage and as I stepped in she turned round with a scowl and snapped out ­ "There's four seats taken here".

Considering there were seats for nine in the compartment, I did not think it worthwhile to reply, so I sat down (in the best seat you can bet) and buried my face in the paper. Another lady came in and was met by the same uncivil words of the woman.

"Oh" the lady replied "I'm sure there's plenty of room" and went to shut the door when the other female pushed it open again with the sharp remark that there were some more people to come in, and the two of them looked so hard at one another that I anticipated a fight -, but it didn't come off. If that surly miserable bit of feminine gender had said much to me I should have told her to "keep her hair on" and no flies about it either. Presently the husband (a big bouncing man) came up with a small child. Another lady came in and we were soon off.

After leaving Surbiton I offered my paper to the young woman next to me (which was accepted) and started on my lunch. I ate it all except a few biscuits and washed it down with the lemonade. I enjoyed it very much shall do the same in future on long journeys. After lunch I gazed about me, and having nothing to do I washed my hands and proceeded to watch the new scenery through which I was about to pass. Hook Station passed by with a flash and we rushed onward towards Basingstoke. Presently sidings began to appear, wagons glided by, and with a burst and roar we tore through the station.

At Winklebury Box we passed under the up rails of the main Southampton Line, and now we paced the road to Exeter. The scenery to Andover Junction was not so very imposing and we arrived at Andover in a very fine rain. I got out and walked up and down the platform. There was nothing very grand about the station and I morbidly gazed at a couple of sheep who were laid under the shelter of the station shed. The Amesbury train rolled in and we departed for the west. Some time ago the South Western Company had installed a pneumatic system of signals between Andover and Grateley, and as I had never seen these worked before I was anxious to observe their motions, so all the way from Andover to Grateley I looked out every mile and witnessed the rise of the automatic arms as soon as the train had passed them.

The rain was falling all the time, so what with the wet and the wind my bare head presented quite a barbaric appearance, and as I was not inclined to catch a cold I dried my head, smoothed my ruffled locks and felt comfortable again, but what a dismal prospect. I glared at the dripping windows and mentally cursed Jupiter and all his satellites.

I had not time to observe things at Grateley so I determined to look at the new signal box on the return journey. The Amesbury Branch is all new and the contractor's materials still littered the place. The line slopes down very much from Newton Toney to Amesbury, and our short train hurled down the incline at a fearful speed. When I emerged at Amesbury the rain had ceased, but all the way to the village the air was full of (you might call it a 'Scotch') mist, so very fine that it looked like a very thin vapour, and as I slipped and stumbled along the muddy road (there were no paths) my spirits were not of the highest. After careering along in this fashion for a mile I caught sight of the village and I increased my gait and marched straight into the solitary village pub. I sipped my lemonade and gazed moodily at my muddy feet. ­ However, it was no good being miserable, I had come all this way to enjoy myself and I meant to be happy if it was raging a blizzard so I swigged off the last drop of drink and started my 2 mile walk to Stonehenge.

I passed by the old church with its sombre coat of clinging ivy and the falling gravestones half hid by the rank foliage and the uncut grass. I kept uphill for a mile and then the road descended. As I passed along I looked out for the field known as Vespasians Camp. Soon I saw it and I leaned against a low wall and proceeded to have a good look at it. In front of me was a large field covered with the remains of deep trenches, that had at one time formed part of the natural defences of a large camp; but they were now uneven and half filled in, no trace of their original form remaining. But now let me give you another view. I close my bodily eyes and set in motion the machinery of my mental inspiration. What a change -.

Before me, under the dull evening sky stretches a vast Roman camp ­ asleep. The trenches are filled with the soldiers leaning on their arms, nothing is heard but the noise of the wind and the sharp cry of the watchers. The broad spaces of the camp are covered with recumbent forms, warriors sleeping on the eve of battle. In the centre of an open space a large white tent raises its summit to the sky ­ the same that looks upon me now. Inside, the captains and centurions sit in eager attitude, each man brimful of some stratagem which would place the barbaric Britons at their mercy. Suddenly their voices are hushed and their united gaze is riveted on the dark hangings at the end of the tent. The drooping tapestries move and part, and through them passes the form of Vespasian the Roman general. All argument is over and a subtle commanding influence sways the wills of those under him.

Thus stands (or stood) the Roman Camp, hills all around glowed fitfully with the burning pyres of the conquered savages. Under these strange thoughts of the past, I continue my way, if these hills could speak ­ what strange tales we should learn. How few of us realise the mighty unseen force of Nature. When the untaught barbarians swept the plains with their savage hordes, these mounds stood under their tread. Years roll on and nations change and change again yet nature revolves its ponderous wheels, day by day, year by year, until the present generation stands appalled at the dim past, and with all this ­ these hills still raise their round summits to the heavens, silent and immovable witnesses of a creation and ­ a world; there they stand until all things shall pass away while we ­ small puny things that we are, can only take a glimpse as we pass through our small fleeting "life" and for a moment ­ wonder.

I pass round a bend and before me stretches 4 or 5 miles of undulating scenery, and on a round hill just below me stands those giant stones ­ STONEHENGE. I hurry forward and soon am passing through the wicket (where they charge a shilling for admission). I pass forward half a dozen steps and stop, look, think and then ­ wonder. It is impossible to describe the massive proportions of these stones; it defies imagination and all that one can do is to wander mechanically round and round their huge bases; their mental faculties numbed by the dark mystery in which the origin of these monoliths is lost. Here these stones have stood, ages have passed over them and still their gigantic proportions rear themselves towards heaven ­ veritable sentinels of Salisbury Plain. What must the Romans, Danes, Saxons and Normans have thought as they confronted these circles; and yet scientific men want us to believe that, owing to recent excavations, they are able to prove that these stones existed long before the supposed creation.

When I look at the massive slabs placed across on the top of the pillars, I try to realise the force which the beings who erected them must have had at their disposal; no modern machinery is capable of dealing with such work; and as I look at them I feel inclined to believe that some super-natural force was at work when the stones were erected. For all we know, long before the Britons, long before the Egyptians, and long before the Deluge, this small island was inhabited by a mighty nation, greater and more powerful than ever we shall hope to be; a race gifted with knowledge of things that we shall never know. But the Flood came and wiped them off the face of the Earth, and out of all their massive buildings and triumphs ­ only Stonehenge is left; a striking example of the futility of man over nature and an awful testimony of the vengeance of God.

"Bismillah ­ God is Great"

All the 3 miles back to Amesbury Station I think and think, but it is no good. Many others like me have puzzled themselves as to the meaning of these monuments, but each one has had to give it up ­ and I do the same.

The next scene finds me in the pneumatic signal box at Grateley, and I am pushing and pulling the slots under the direction of the signalman. It is a novel method of signal work and as the framework is of glass, the intricate machinery is disclosed to view. I pass out and await the down train. It comes in and I take my seat. A lady gets in with 3 little girls and the youngest is much afraid at the prospect of going through the Salisbury Tunnel. The engine gives a shriek, the little girl clings closer to her mother, and we are in darkness. We emerge in to the light of day again and the little girl breaks into a laugh, Salisbury, and I alight from the train.

The Company is building a new station and everything seems upside down. I passed out and inspected the town and market square. It was early closing day in Salisbury so I did not see the beauty of the shops. I bent my steps in the direction of the Cathedral and very soon had passed its scared portals. I have seen many grand buildings but not such a one as Salisbury Cathedral. Its lofty roof and multi-coloured windows, the largeness of the interior, and the loftiness of its spire (the highest in England). All go to make the sight an impressive one. All round between the stone pillars of the aisle are tombs of knights and soldiers; the features of the images being hardly recognisable; so old and damaged; while the quaint figures of saints ranged around the wall bring back to the mind the famous legends of Old Sarum. I sit down for a moment and rest; it is very peaceful in this old cathedral and unconsciously the troubles of the world are forgotten in contemplating the quiet beauty of this historical pile.

There was a flower show on somewhere and the town was nearly deserted. As I have said before, I am very particular about my tea ­ and today I spent 45 minutes in looking for a suitable place until I found one at last in a quiet back street. Here I partook of boiled eggs, bread and butter and tea for 1/=, and it was nice too.

So far, I had not had a single smoke during the whole holiday, so I thought I would have a cigarette or two. I went to a tobacconist's, made the necessary purchases, lit a "fag" and took a gentle stroll to the station. I was looking at the bookstall and having heard that the 'Adventures of Captain Kettle' were very good and humorous, I purchased a sixpenny edition with the intention of reading it en route. It is not often that I read in the train, but today I was deep in thought and wanted something more than mere talking to draw me out of it. Presently, the Waterloo express ran in. I saw a capital seat and took it. This train ran from Salisbury to Waterloo without a stop and was one of the dining trains. The compartment I was in was really a first class turned in a third so you can guess it was "all right". There was only four of us in it and as we steamed out of Salisbury I thought we should have a nice ride up. I began to read, but somehow Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral would persist in coming between the pages and my eyes until at last I threw down 'Captain Kettle' and gazed out of the window.

All the way up we rushed along at top speed; through Basingstoke, Woking and Surbiton we tore, dashing over and under bridges; trains houses and obstacles glided by in one ever changing panorama, and at last we burst through Clapham Junction and mingled with the Metropolis. The electric arc lamps shed a weird light on the roads and roads of railway as we sped along; here there were 8 roads running side by side. At Nine Elms I glanced at the spectral rows of goods trucks that were marshalled in long rows under the weird light glare of the arc lamps; we slowed down and with a gentle vibration ran into Waterloo.

Here I had an hour to wait so I passed the time by eating plums and jam tarts. I came down by the 9.10pm Windsor and as this was the last stage of my holidays my thoughts were naturally absent, so what occurred to me on the down journey is unknown to me. I landed home safe, and as I get into bed I ask myself if I have enjoyed my holidays and I reply




Now that I have brought this diary to a close let me make a few remarks upon the same. I started this book with the intention of writing a diary, but I find I am writing a diary, novel treatise, all in one, besides a few lines on philosophy.

But you must bear with me and remember that I am only an amateur in writings, and if I have made mistakes in spelling, grammar etc, it was during the time I was carried away by my fervour, and not intentionally. I have omitted all questions of time table because some of my readers would not care to be informed that a train left at so and so, when it is a matter of perfect indifference to them whether it left at 12 noon or 12 midnight.

It is considered the correct thing nowadays to have a few home made verses at the end of the book, so I have shoved in ten, and if these are not enough for you, you must make some more yourself.

In years to come, my views of life might change, but I shall always look at this little book and think that I have made good use of my holidays, inasmuch, that I have made a lasting memorial of them in which is chronicled my doing, thoughts, expressions and feelings on those respective days. I will now pen the last few words and inscribe myself

Yours respectfully

S. Wilkinson

The Author

August 30th 1902


The following verses were constructed by me on the spur of the moment; they are not very expressive in their words but I must ask you to read them with a little commiseration for the poet.


I've been upon a holiday,
To places all around,
I started off on pleasure bent,
Returning safe and sound
The Coronation day was spent,
By wand'ring up and down,
In those old dirty streets,
Of Windsor's ancient town
On Sunday I departed hence,
And in the Albert Halls,
I heard the grandest music that,
My very soul enthrals
In Richmond's terrace gardens green,
Neath mur'mring sylvan glades,
I watch the setting of the sun,
Till night has shed its shades
I stand upon the Bournemouth Cliffs,
The sea my optics sweep,
And nought is heard except the sound,
Of voices of the deep
And in the boat I ride upon,
The bosom of the sea,
And then at Swanage later on,
I eat a hearty tea (?)
Southampton Docks with mud galore,
Attracts my eager mind,
I drink in all the sight I see,
And ships of every kind
And when at even, homeward bound,
Some fun attracts my eyes,
I talk with some old gentleman,
And watch his spirits rise
Dark Stonehenge with its hills around,
Depicts an ancient race,
Wild my'stries dreamt by few of men,
Regard us in the face
At Sarum's spire I gaze with awe,
I wander round all day,
At home again at night I close,
Another holiday

The End

Background and Introduction to
Sarah Jane Ward's Diary
of July 1902

A few months after Samuel Wilkinson's diary of 1902 was included here on the Royal Windsor Website, we were delighted to hear from another branch of Samuel's family, this time in the North of England. They had been surprised to find his diary available on the web, and were even more surprised to discover that it had been sent to us by a long-lost branch of their family now living in Italy (2006).

Imagine our surprise and delight therefore when the Middleton family sent the following diary written by a cousin of Samuel Wilkinson, Sarah Jane Ward. It describes a holiday that Sarah Jane spent in Windsor just weeks before Samuel wrote his diary. We are particularly pleased to note that Sarah Jane records a visit to Alexandra Gardens to watch the opening ceremony performed by Princess Christian.


July 1902
The Diary of Sarah Jane Ward

Our visit to London and Windsor


Saturday, July 12th

We arrived in London at 6.30am. Uncle George met us at Kings Cross. We had breakfast, then went to Spitalfield meat-market, past the Royal Mint, on to Tower Bridge. We saw the bridge working. It was a splendid sight. Then we went inside the Tower of London. Here we saw the Scots Guards and the Irish Fusiliers depart to meet Lord Kitchener. We also saw the Gun Carriage on which were carried the remains of our late Queen Victoria. The Crown Jewels were a splendid sight to behold.

After dinner we went on London Bridge and saw the Pearl Life Insurance Office. Then we took the bus to Saint Paul's, there was a great dome towering up above the noise, confusion and strife of London; inside St. Paul's it was like a haven of rest and we would gladly have stayed there much longer, but no, we have not finished our journeyings, so out into the busy streets once more we went. We took the bus down The Strand to Trafalgar Square, Nelson's Monument, and we saw through the National Gallery, had a look at the Canadian Arch, through Horse Guards Parade, saw the Duke of York's Column, and Pall Mall. After tea we had a walk on Regent Street, past Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street, then on to Marble Arch. We just had a peep in Hyde Park, then on to Paddington Station where we took the train for Windsor. We arrived at 7.00pm. Alice and Sam met us at the G.W.R. station. I can't say how glad I was when I saw them; we greeted each other warmly. I was introduced to Sam's dearest friend Bill Hammond, he helped to carry our luggage to uncle's, here was Lizzie to greet us, we were very pleased to see her looking so well; she had tea prepared for us, for which we were very thankful after our long journey. Then Lizzie and Alice took me to see Windsor on Saturday night; it was quite busy in a small way. Then we returned to uncle's and had slight refreshments. Lizzie, Alice and Sam took us to cousin Will's, they were very pleased to see us. We sat talking for a short time but we were beginning to feel tired after our wanderings so we said 'Good night' and retired.

Sunday, July 13th

Rose at 7am and had breakfast, Alice and Sam came to take us to Holy Trinity Church, we saw the 3rd. Battalion, Scot's Guards, and 2nd. Life Guards, parade to church, after the service we followed them to barracks, then Alice, Sam and I went for a walk before dinner. We had a good dinner, Lizzie is a first class cook. In the afternoon we went to the Castle on the East Terrace to hear the bands play. It was all that could be desired, we got a nice seat on the North Terrace and enjoyed the beautiful scenery all around us, then we walked to cousin Will's to tea, it was a kind of family gathering. In the evening we went to Clewer Churchyard and saw the graves of the departed, it all seemed quiet and peaceful that this verse seemed to fit exactly with our surroundings.

Peace perfect Peace.
With loved ones far away.
In Jesus's keeping
We are safe and they.

From there we went to the riverside, sat down to rest for a while, and Lizzie, Alice Sam and I had a stroll over to the locks, we sat down on the steps and watched the boats go through, then came back on the other side of the river and had a ferry across.


The ferry from The Brocas to Windsor promenade
about the time of Sarah Jane's visit

Then we went to cousin Will's, had supper, said 'Good night' and retired.

Monday, July 14th

Rose at 7am. Had breakfast and went out and met Lizzie on the road, she took us to St. George's Chapel to the Service. The singing was beautiful, then we walked over to uncle's and had dinner. In the afternoon we had a drive to Eton, saw Eton College and the chapel. We walked through Eton back home again and saw a large number of College boys buying something nice for tea. After tea Sam took Liz and I for a walk to Windsor Great Park. How shall I describe it? It was perfect. There was the setting sun illuminating all around us, the stately trees, in the distance a herd of deer giving charm to the picture and there was Liz, Sam and I in the long grass talking on various subjects. Sam said Heaven is around us now. I quite believed it just then. I shall not forget that scene in Windsor Great Park. Returning home by the Long Walk we saw uncle and mother on a seat; we left them there and journeyed on. We had slight refreshment at uncles then went out again to hear the bands play in the Barracks. Afterwards we retired for the night to Cousins Will's and so ended a very pleasant day.

Sweet is the hour of rest,
Pleasant the wind low sigh,
And the gleaming of the west,
And the turf whereon we lie.

Tuesday, July 15th

Rose at 7.10 am. Had breakfast and went to Uncle's. Alice took us for a lovely walk under the shady trees of Long Walk; coming back, Lizzie met us and we went to see the State Apartments. They were beautiful. In the Castle grounds we met a party of Figians. What objects they were, with hair like a door mat, we were very much amused with them, Lizzie especially she called them Fidgets. After dinner we had a short rest, then went to see Alexandra Gardens opened by Princess Christian. It did not take her many minutes.

Extract Alexandra

Mayor Shipley welcoming Princess Christian at Alexandra Gardens, July 15th 1902
(An extract from a photograph included in our Alexandra Gardens article)

The band played 'God save the King' when she arrived and when she departed. All the snobs had their photos taken. Sam came down to the Gardens for a few moments then went out with us back to his office again. After that we went to the Round Tower and saw the beautiful scenery all round Windsor. We came home again, had tea then Sam took Liz, Alice and I for a delightful row on the river. Sam did it splendidly. (He did everything splendidly). We all enjoyed it very much, in coming back we had a lovely view of the Castle; it came to an end too soon and we landed safely on the bank. Sam had to go back to the office and he hurried us home to let mother and uncle see we were safe. We had supper then Sam gave us a selection on the flute and bones. Just as he was playing the 'Holy City', the cats joined in and that put an end to our concert. Then Liz, Alice and Sam saw us safely to Cousin Wills and we retired for the night.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Wednesday, July 16th

Rose at 8am. Had breakfast and went over to uncle's then went with Alice to see the school children start for Burnham Beeches. We did a little shopping and had dinner at Cousin Will's. In the afternoon we went to the Castle to see the Curfew Tower and Stables, also St. George's Chapel and the beautiful monument of Princess Charlotte. After tea we went to the Alexandra Gardens to hear the band play.

Alexandra Gardens around 1908

A hand coloured postcard view of Alexandra Gardens and the Bandstand soon after the opening of the gardens and about the time of Sarah Jane's visit.

It was a treat. When it was over Sam took me for a walk. I don't know where, but it was 'All right'. We got home before Liz and Alice and Sam gave us a selection on his whistle, then Liz and Alice came in there was a general stir and a rattling of pots. Sam and I had supper in the back yard. I enjoyed it very much; afterwards we went to Cousin Will's and retired.

Thursday, July 17th

Rose at 7 am. Had breakfast then went to uncle's for Lizzie; from there to the S.W. R. Station where we took the 10am train to Waterloo. Sam and Alice saw us off. I did not like leaving them behind.

From Waterloo we took the bus to Liverpool St. Station, here we had slight refreshment, then we took the train to Forest Gate. We were very pleased to see Frank and his wife and children. Scoffer is a fine little boy with his mischievous ways. After dinner I went to sleep for two hours and when I wakened it was tea time so I did not see much of Forest Gate. After tea we said 'Good Bye' to Frank's wife and children and Frank went with us on the tram to Aldgate and journeyed by the Underground Railway to Praed St. We said 'Good bye' to Frank and went to Paddington Station. Here we waited half an hour for a train to Windsor and arrived home at 10.40 pm. Cousin Will and Sam met us at the G.W.R. Station; owing to it being so late we did not go to uncle's. Sam told me he had been two hours by himself. I felt very sorry for him; he went part of the way with us then said good night. I afterwards heard that he gave Lizzie a good lecture for being so late, but of course Lizzie could not help it. Poor Liz was quite tired out and so ended a most enjoyable day.

Friday, July 18th

Rose at 8am. Had breakfast and walked over to uncle's, then Alice and I went out for a little shopping, we also made a visit to Sam's office. He explained everything to us and showed me his books and I must not forget his pin-cushion. He also took us through the Goods Yard to the Signal Box, it was very interesting. In coming back he took us across the S.W.R. line and Home Park. After dinner we had a short rest then we all of us (omitting Sam) had a lovely drive to Virginia Water. It was uncle's treat for us and I am sure we could not have had a more pleasant outing. On the way we went through the Long Walk. Here we met a lot of Sailor Japs. They were very pleased to see us, we waved our hands to them and they returned the complement and took their hats off to us. When we reached the statue of George III, we got out and had a walk around it. Passing along we came to Cumberland Lodge and the pretty little church, also Cumberland Lake and the Conservatory, we had a walk through the large Grape Vine said to be the largest Grape Vine in the world. Then we drove through Windsor Forest and on to Virginia Water. Here we had a lovely walk by the waterside and saw the ruins and waterfall. It reminded me of Shakespeare's words in 'As you like it',

'Sermons in stones, books in running brooks and good in everything."

Alice found a nice place for us where we had our tea, we were all ready for it and enjoyed it very much. After tea we started for Windsor and arrived safely home by 9.0pm. We found Sam buried in his books and papers etc. preparing our journey home on the morrow, but he soon cleared them all away, we had supper, said good night to uncle, then Liz, Alice and Sam went with us to cousins Will's; this was the last night we could be all together and I felt rather sad, but -

Here we suffer grief and pain,
Here we meet to part again,
In Heaven we part no more.

We said 'Good bye' to Cousin Will as we should not see him the next morning, then we retired.

The day is past and over,
All thanks 0 Lord to Thee.

Saturday, July 19th

The Last Day

Rose at 7 am. Had breakfast. Sam came for our box punctually at 8am. Then we had to say 'Good bye' to dear Emma and the dear baby and Willie. I felt sorry to leave her, she had been so good to us and made us so comfortable. We went over to Uncle's for the last time. Alice went out with us, we did some shopping then we waited for the Indian Troops to arrive. Sam joined us while we were waiting. At last they came, 1,000 of them. It was a glorious finish to the Programme of the week, a sight which I shall not forget so soon.

After they had passed into the Castle we hurried home to dinner. Then the time for parting with Uncle arrived. It was very hard to say 'Good bye' to Uncle. I felt it very much. At 12.40. we started for the G.W.R. Station, we had a few minutes to spare before the 1.00pm train started for Paddington, so we passed time away by dropping pennies into the slot. Then we had to say 'Good bye' to Lizzie and Alice, the dear girls, I felt very sorry to leave them, they are so lively and had been such good company. The train puffed out of the station; I watched them till I could see them no longer. Then we left the stately old Castle and the Royal Borough of Windsor far behind us. Sam went with us to Kings X. We arrived at Paddington by 1.25. dep. from Bishops Rd. at 1.46. arrived at Kings X. Met. at 1.58. G.N.R.

We had a short rest while Sam went about making the final arrangements then we had slight refreshments. The time is drawing nearer for our departure. At last the train comes puffing in. Sam puts us in a comfortable apartment. The last moment has arrived. Sam kissed us 'Good-bye'. There he stands waving his handkerchief, the train moves slowly out of the station, each moment is leaving us further and further apart, at last I can see him no longer. I sit down with a very sad feeling.

'Parting is such sweet sorrow'

We arrived at Burnley at 9.00 pm.

Our holidays are at an end and truly this has been the most enjoyable, instructive as well as amusing holiday I have ever spent. Perhaps my cousins would think I was not much impressed by what I saw, but if ever they care to read my diary, they will think different. I never say one half of what I think, being of a quiet nature. What I have seen and enjoyed will never be lost to me and I am sure my visit to London and Windsor will ever remain in my memory.

God be with you till we meet again,
Till we meet, Till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus feet.
By His Councils guide uphold you,
In His arms securely fold you,
God be with you till we meet again.

Nil desperandum

Why live when life is sad, death only sweet?
Why fight when closest fight ends in defeat?
Why pray when purest prayer dark thoughts assail?
Why strive and strive only to fail?
Lives there are many around needing thy care.
Pray, there is one at hand, helping thy prayer.
Fight for the love of God, not for renoun.
Strive, but in His strength not in thine own.
Why hope when life has proved our best hopes vain?
Why love, when love is fraught with so much with pain?
Why not cool heart and brain in the deep wave?
Why not lie down and rest in the still grave?
Hope there is, Heavens joy laid up for thee.
Love, for True Love out lives its agony.

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