For this next couple of weeks I am ‘handing over’ this blog to Fred and Jane and the events of the last two weeks of August 1879. I’ve also included Fred’s not-a-playlist at the bottom of the post:

“Bridlington August 12th/79
C/o Mr Severs. 7 King Street

My Darling Janie,

   We arrived, or arove here at 5:50 yesterday. We were rather unfortunate, as we wanted to go via York. There are only two routes and we got the wrong one. Tommy got the wrong tickets! Moral, never let anyone get your ticket for you in future my dear. We were alright until we got to Doncaster, and then just as we were going to get in the York train the porter stopped us and we had to wait an hour for the train to Hull. We tried to “square” the guard to let us go, but neither “love nor money” would avail. I didn’t try the love but I did try the money, he says “we can’na dew it.”

   Confound it! There’s a band just this minute playing “Silver threads” under the window, I wish they take them somewhere else. Where was I? And Doncaster one hour! 60 minutes!! 360 [sic] seconds!!! Prodigious!!! The band is playing “Where art thou beam of light?” I should suggest to them that it is in the next street or anywhere out of ours. It’s impossible to properly appreciate good music(!) and write at the same time. They’re playing another very pathetic melody just now with a tremendous bass too – I’m not quite sure that I’ve spelt tremendous w/right. Will you please kindly be good enough to look in the dictionary for me. I almost made a mess of right too. How can a fellow spell correctly with a band playing! There now they’re gone. What a relief!

   At Doncaster we were in a position to thoroughly appreciate your thoughtfulness for which thoughtfulness – or rather strawberries – I shall amply rewarded you when I get back.

   Those fisherman got out at Conisbro’ currently the carriage did not smell so strongly of bread and cheese as it did at first.

   From Doncaster to Hull is most miserable ride, the country being dreadfully flat. There is one redeeming feature and that is a station called “Brough”, the next or next but one to Hull. Confound it! There’s the band again! I should like to stop the hole they blow down with a potato. They’re going into Sankey’s “Look ever to Jesus” I earnestly wish they would – in another street.

   Was talking about Brough, it is the prettiest station I have ever seen, the station house is completely covered with ivy and inside the station is one mass of evergreens, geraniums, fuchsias etc it looks really beautiful. The band is playing a little more of “Silver threads” I shall be completely bald before I get back. There now they’re playing “sweet spirit hear my prayer” they ought to play “Grandfather’s Clock” and then expire.

   When we got to Hull we had 35 minutes to wait. Another luxury! And we had to sit “hands on knees” from Hull to Bridlington the train was so crowded. The fine weather is fetching them out I almost learned how to knit stockings by watching a lady knit them, they were bronze green how is that for being the fashion now? The band is playing “Vital Spark” of which there won’t be a particle left in me soon. I have got the orthodox eight pages full so must give over I shall have to teach you phonography [shorthand] then I shall be able to get more in I’ve hardly started. I remain your devoted lover. Fred.

   I had to give an over in the last sheet but it seems so abrupt that I was compelled to give you a little more agony. I can’t write much more because Kelsey and another young fellow from Attercliffe are waiting outside. I was going to give you a graphic sketch of the promenade etc but must leave that until the next letter. I also intended saying something that I should have said before now, had I been with you, and that is, how dearly I love you. Darling there’s nobody here fit to look at you, in my estimation although it would be much easier to put it in shorthand thus for example “Janie my darling, I love you dearly” would go in half the space.

   I really haven’t time to write any more Tommy’s impatient. Believe me I wish you were here it would be a great deal better. I hope you will write back as early as possible and oblige.

   Your devoted but disconsolate lover

Jane replied the following day.

Fred’s ‘Not a playlist’:
Silver Threads Amoung The Gold:
(I can see why it annoyed Fred)
Yeild Not To Temptation (Look ever to Jesus)
Sweet Spirit Hear My Prayer:
Grandfather’s Clock
Vital Spark of Heavenly Fame

Picture source: Bridlington, the parade (i.e., promenade) c. 1895. Print no. “10368”.; Title from the Detroit Publishing Co., Catalogue J-foreign section, Detroit, Mich. : Detroit Publishing Company, 1905.; Forms part of: Views of England in the Photochrom print collection.



3 thoughts on “Fred goes to Bridlington (and seems to channel Jerome K Jerome)

  1. This is so hilarious. I’m so with Fred on those bands, I cannot stand them. I would be bald by the end of his letter too if I had to listen to so much band music!

    You get such a lovely sense of his character, his humour and of his love for Janie. What a delightful letter.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s