Charlotte Bridgeman's Journals

February 1846 - January 1857

Lady Charlotte Bridgeman's journals

Transcribed by Marianne van Dael - van Zelm Zwern

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Selected period: December 1855

Weston   1855, December 10

Mr. Blunt sent his photographing shopman Mr. Foster to give us a lesson & we were at it the whole day long. It was bitterly cold & snowing most of the time (it has been hard frost for several days now) but we learnt a good deal & have to produce 2 excellent positions & one negative not so good which we will print. It was very good natured of Mr. Blunt to give us the loan of his man & he charged nothing for the journey, neither would Mr. Foster accept any thing but a hare.

Weston   1855, December 11

Bitterly cold & snowing, but in spite of that Lady B., George & I had the courage to start at 10 on an expedition to Birmingham to the Poultry show. We were well amused & had a most succesful expedition & it did not snow much after we started. When we got to Birmingham we went straight to the Show, where we met almost(?) everybody we have ever seen before! The poultry we did well, but the cattle more hurriedly - it was a capital show & having spent about 2 hours there, we spent the remaining hour we had to spare in shopping & did a load of business. Fed(?) Mr. Hanbury from the carriage window. Got home soon after 5 & were not near so tired as after the Shrewsbury expedition. George went home after

Weston   1855, December 12

Lucy & I photographed in the morning. George came to dinner.

Weston   1855, December 13

Brilliant morning - excellent for printing & printed a quantity. Went out early to the Temple leaving Lucy T. in charge of the printing & did several prints & one group with much more success, but not without provoking accidents of various kinds. Lucy & I went at 4 to the Rectory to hear the singing lesson of the schoolchildren & Mr. Beckwith walked back with us in the dark. Our labours were not even then over, for we were obliged to sensitize more paper in case tomorrow was another good morning for printing & the Nitrate of Silver proved not clean & had to be filtered. Very tired.

Weston   1855, December 14

Very downcast. Bad day, photos would not print well, found all our paper sensitized with so much trouble & where so tired yesterday evening was all bad. I spent most of the morning in a dark room studying the art & trying experiments to discover the fault & hope I have. I mixed more stuff & did one or two sheets & found it wrong do to sensitize the yesterdays paper over again, which I did after one afternoon walk. Hope it may do, but we shall not know till tomorrow when we shall have tried some of it. Thawing.

Weston   1855, December 15

"Photographed" again. Succeeded better, with Letty. Ice gone. Did not go out in the afternoon.

Weston   1855, December 16

Sunday. Heard of Mr. C. Shirley's death & was put into a peck of troubles in consequences because of the balls this week, but ended in not going into mourning at all, which is a little against my conscience but a great saving of trouble. Took the boys into the church to see it after morning church & again after evening church to see Mr. Beckwith change the barrels of the organ. Just as we were coming in we met George & Mr. G. Bagot & "took a turn round Shrewsbury" & gave them tea before they went home.

Weston   1855, December 17

I did not go out. Lucy photographed, but with bad success. Mr. Cheney came to luncheon & brought Mr. Stonor with him. The Newports came & the baby & Georgey. The baby is a pretty little thing as babies go but very tiny. Selina very tired & did not come down stairs at all. George & Mr. G. Bagot dined here.

Oakley Park   1855, December 18

Newport went early to Woodcote to shoot & spend the week between there & Hawkstone shooting. Papa, Lady B., Letty & I came to Oakly Park. Robert's omnibus waiting at Bromfield brought up us 4, Captain Owen & Mr. Leighton. Besides there are here Lady Powis, Lucy & Harriet Herbert, Lord Powis, Mary Clive & Mr. Ollivant (the Bishop of Llandaff's son). Mr. Tarratt dined here. Mr. Wrottesley was expected but did not turn up.

Oakley Park   1855, December 19

Bitterly cold. Started for a walk but soon turned back. Mr. Wrottesley came (a bad cold had prevented him yesterday) & Mr. Hamilton Russell, Mr. E. Bourke & Willey Clive. We all went to the Ludlow ball, which was good. Staid till 2. Papa did not go to the ball. We took Mr. Owen.

Oakley Park   1855, December 20

Cold intense. I did not go out. Some went to Ludlow Castle. Played at the racing game in the evening.

Oakley Park   1855, December 21

Cold still intense. I did not stir out. Some went to see Stokesay Castle. Ball at home. Kept up with great spirit till 4 o'clock, with Cotillon - Temp?ɬte &c &c.

Weston   1855, December 22

Never felt a much colder day. Thermometer down at 11 most of the day. Trains all late & brimful. Travelled with Leightons &c to Shrewsbury. Great scrimmage there to get tickets & catch trains all ways. Parted with all our friends there except Mr. Wrottesley. Letty went on from there to Halston. Home late. Tired. Found George here but he did not stay for dinner.

Weston   1855, December 23

Sunday. George came to luncheon & brought Ernest & changed duties with Mr. Beckwith to christen Newport's little daughter. I was one of the godmothers. Mrs. Anson & Lord Stanhope the other persons & Papa & Lady B. stood for them. The baptism(?) was in the right place for the first time in this church for years. She is called Mabel Selina. Maria Morgan's baby Xtened at the same time. George took Ernest home & came back again to dinner. Ernest & Rowland both at the Xtening. Thaw.

Weston   1855, December 24

When Lucy & I came in from the little walk we took on a photographing errand, we found Mrs. Holyoake sitting with Selina. Uncle & Aunt Charles, Emily, Isabel & Leila came. The boys had a half holiday & decorated the house with holly & evergreens. Made a most beautiful bower of my bed. Hope I shant get up in the dark & prick my nose. Christmas day. There was a very full attendance at the Sacrament today. Mr. & Mrs. Beckwith called after afternoon church. George came to dinner.

Weston   1855, December 26

St. Stephens Day. Service in the morning. Only Lady B., Isabel & I attended it of our party. Lucy, Mademoiselle Lunier & the 3 boys went to Halston for a Xmas tree. Leila went with them & runs a risk of having no bed to sleep in not being expected but she had never seen a tree so was sent. Newport took them as far as Shrewsbury & came back again, Emily & Uncle Charles also drove with them to Shiffnal. I was very cross all day. Having more to do in the short space of time between Church & luncheon than mortal(?) could do in a day, meeting with photographic contretremps &c &c & to crown all a ...(?) message from Lucy I was to write to Mr. Blunt about chemicals. Well I can't do it. So it can't be helped L. It was too bad of Lucy as she had given me so much else to do & I didn't know before I could be so put out of temper ! I had to go to the Temple for Nitrate of Silver & after luncheon I attempted to sensitize paper, had more contretemps & had only done 6 sheets when it was time to go to the Rectory to the schoolchildren's tea & Xmas tree & when we came back it was too late to do any more. The Beckwiths did it all very nicely. All we ladies except <> went & we took Rowland.

Weston   1855, December 27

St. John's Day. Lady B., Isabel & I went to church in the morning. Too dull & uncertain to photograph so I spent the rest of the morning sensitizing paper. No contretemps ! Newport hunted. After luncheon Aunt Charles, Emily, Isabel & I drove to Blymhill. The others all wished for a drive they found, so we made our way to Blymhill by Weston Heath, Woodcote & Chatwell. Found the children in great form.

Weston   1855, December 28

Innocent's Day. Lady B., Emily, Isabel & I went to church in the morning. Lucy, Leila, the boys, Mademoiselle Lunier & Letty came back from Halston with brilliant accounts of the Xmas tree. Uncle C. & Emily were sent to call at Somerford. Lucy, Aunt C., Isabel, Leila, Georgey & I went a squash to Blymhill in Newports pheaton to see the children & Aunt C., Georgey & I walked home, Mr. & Mrs. Beckwith dined here & Miss B. & Miss Burley came in in the evening.

Weston   1855, December 29

Photographed. Newport lunched at Chillington. Isabel rode with Georgey but joined us & formed part of a very tolerable group. It was the only successful one for tho' a bright day & not cold the wind was so high we had to go to the dark side of the Temple. I walked with Uncle C. in the afternoon. George dined here.

Weston   1855, December 30

Sunday. A bad account of Tom Moncreiffe this morning. He has been & still is dangerously ill & we are very anxious about him. There is a disagreable report in the paper that a skermish has taken place near Kertch between the Russians & a party of the Turkish Counterparts Cavalry & the Commanding officer & 47 men taken prisoners. I hope it may not be Nano but fear he is the only officer with the T.C. cavalry at Kertch. Walked both morning & afternoon. Organ.

Weston   1855, December 31

The account of Tom still today very bad & Ladby B. telegraphed & asked if Letty should go. The answer came at dinner time - no better, but no worse & Letty not to go tomorrow at all events. Photographed morning & afternoon. Mr. & Miss Beckwith went with us in the morning. Miss Baker came by luncheon time. Newport went to Salop & back. The Wrights, the Edmund B's, Agnes & Sir Vincent Corbet, Uncle Wolryche & Orlando came.