I came across a postcard today written on August 24. No year was given. I tried to puzzle it out. It was a postcard of the Tower of London. Addressed to my mother in Hawaii. Sent from Belfast Northern Ireland. I wrote that I was then semi-immobilized. My brother and sister-in-law had phoned from Birmingham England to give me helpful advice. A cable had arrived from my friend Lucy in Washington D.C. asking whether she should fly to Belfast or Dublin the following Tuesday to meet her husband Harry. (At that point Harry was in London and their plan was to meet up in Ireland before going to Portugal and Morocco.)
I wrote “in the meantime I have lots of loving care, plenty of books, and a TV to watch the Czech crisis”.
Following the above clues, I decided the card was written in 1968, early in my first pregnancy. I had been threatened of miscarrying (a midnight trip to the Rotunda in Dublin).
It all turned out well. Lucy joined Harry in Belfast and we had a nice visit in Belfast and Enniskillen. And our first born is now age 51.
Strand on the Green, Chiswick
Note the postmark 1967
This card was sent to me in Kenya by an English friend whom I met in Colorado when I was en route across the U.S. to take up residence in San Francisco. Convoluted. Th[s new friend was most interesting. She and her family were long settled in San Francisco. But during the Second World War the family was living in the Philippines and they were interned under house arrest by the japanese, she being English and her husband German. They had a young child approximately my age.
At the start of the day they were eager to see if their trick Mr. Thomas had worked. It made for much laughter at breakfast.
They were impressed by Peterborough Cathedral. The architecture is graceful though it doesn’t soar as muck as Gothic. Passed through Huntingdon and saw the birthplace of Oliver Cromwell. In Cambridge they visited King’s Cpllege Chapel. They visited Clare College and Keyes College nd Trinity College. Lunch at the Bull Hoyel. After lunch Mr. Thomas took her and Lib to Corpus Christie College.
They reached London late in the afternoon. Went to their hotel and later walked down to Lyons. Waited a long time for Lois and Mr. Thomas. Had a wonderful steak and a chocolate sundae. Went to the Regent Palace and met Dr. VanderByl and the Lewises. They all walked down to Charing Cross. After Lois sent a cablegram they walked back to the Regent Palace Hotel and had drinks in the lounge. Mr. Thomas put her and Lib on the bus and then took Lois home.
Kings College Cambridge
Regent Palace Hotel
The sisters got up and out in time to get good places for the changing of the Coldstream Guards at St. James. The slow march was the best part. They returned to their hotel for breakfast at 11:30 and then walked to the Tate Gallery. Then walked to Victoria Station and took a long bus ride to Kensington and then to Kew Gardens. They enjoyed the Gardens, walked a bit further up the Thames before coming back to Kew for the boat ride return to central London. They walked home passing Victoria and Piccadilly Stations.
Band of the Coldstream Guards
Kew Gardens Map
(images from Google Images)
My Mother’s Diary fro her Trip to Europe in 1934
Sightseeing. Tried to see the Guards but there were such crowds that all they could see were the tops of their busbys – occasional glimpse. Enjoyed the music.
They a delicious meal at Simpsons on the Strand
They visited the British Museum.
They had lots of fun riding on the buses. They tried to shop but the stores were closed. They had a good tea at Ridgeways.
They took a bus again to go to the theatre – Reunion in Vienna with Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontaine – very good.
Found it strange to see people smoking on the buses and in the theatre,
Scene from Reunion in Vienna. (from Google Images)
The previous day was so full with the trip to “Shakespeare country” and then the play back in London. They got up late. They took the bus down to American Express (to check the mail?) and then went shopping in Liberty’s. They had a delicious lunch at the Cheddar Cheese.- meat pies – she didn’t care for the ale. After linch, more shopping – on Bond street horribly expensive. They met up with their friend Levy who had been on the trip the day before to Shakespeare Country. Had dinner in Quo Vadis in Soho. They tried to walk home but got soaked. They got past Selfridges, the Grosvenor Hotel, Green Park but were so wet they had to finally take the bus.
Getty image – around 1934?
Hyde Park London
Up bright and early for a good breakfast. And then my mother set forth to find the American Express office. She writes that she felt lonely and lost. Here is what she saw – the East End, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, the Olde Curiosity Shop, Tower of London She spent quite a while touring the Tower before stopping for lunch in a Lyons. She enjoyed seeing all the fancy goods in Fortnum and Mason.
(It’s not clear how much of the day was spent walking and whether they were in a tour bus part of the time. They covered so much ground they must have been in a bus with stops at key places, e,g. the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey. What threw me off was her writing that while waiting for the bus she walked around a bit.)
In the afternoon she went around (presumably walking) around the West End – Mayfair, Green Park, St. James’s Park, Hyde Park, Selfridge’s, Harrods, Houses of Parliament, Poet’s Corner. Westminster Abbey, Bond Street, Regent Street. She walked home through Green Park. She was simply dead tired. (I’m not surprised).
image courtesy of Google Images 2019
Most of the day was spent in doing the usual round of deck and gym activities. Getting ready to land just after 6 p.m.Now we shift to land based activities. She hated to say goodby to her many onboard friends. She is very sorry the boat trip has ended and it takes a day or so to move on and enjoy getting acquainted with England via Liverpool and London.
She and Libby were met by a representative from American Express who took good care of them. There was a boat train from Liverpool to London. (A forerunner of my experiences 60 years later in the 1990’s of the boat train which carried Irish Ferry passengers from Dublin to Holyhead in Wales. The train went to coastal destinations in northern Wales and and then in a southeast direction to England – finally arriving in London)
The rail trip was enjoyable – pleasing interesting scenery. They arrived in London at midnight and again were met by someone from American Express who guided them to their hotel. Very comfortable spacious room. American Express had 3 letters for them..
google image train for a Cunard liner arriving in Liverpool
By chance I have come across a photo of my mother and her sister Libby on a cruise in 1974 – 40 years on from their Cunard trip to Europe in 1934
St Lucia, 1974 Libby the woman in the white blouse, my mother beside her
(and a third sister, the woman with the white handbag, Alice)
(And that’s me with the 3 little boys)
Liverpool approximately 1907
This postcard from December 1915 just suggests the atmosphere and mood of London in WW1. The message on the reverse is a greeting expressing Best Wishes for 1916.