“Handsworth
Aug 13/79

My dearest Fred

   I am happy to hear of your safe arrival at Bridlington and sorry you were so unfortunate as to go by the wrong route, it would be a slight disappointment for you not to seeing York. I went up to my brother’s after I left you love to cheer my drooping spirits. I had a bad headache so I went to sleep in the afternoon. After tea sister Polly and I went down in the town to have a shop window gaze. I bought a new hat. I hope you will like it it is not any bigger than a large sized coal scuttle.

   Yesterday brother Jack, Pem and I went to Clay Cross Flower Show it is considered the best show roundabout here. They had a very good brass band there, unfortunately they did not torment me with “Silver threads” or I’m sure I should have gone bald in a few minutes. If they torment you again love I should advise you to get some of Mrs Allen’s hair restorer and rub it on your hair nightly. We arrived home at 11. Admire the picture of myself fighting to get in the train [above] the plants were splendid and also the fruit

I should have enjoyed it so much better if you had been there too. I can’t write any more tonight it is past time.

   Only that I love you as much as ever and of course that is of no consequence I hope to remain your darling forever
    Janie
 PS I am rather bothered about the stops and grammar   ”

1879 08 13 JW to FS 1 of 2

This is the earliest letter of Jane’s that has survived.
“Sister Polly” is Jane’s sister-in-law Mary, married to Jane’s eldest brother William.
“Jack” is her brother John and “Pem” is Jane’s older sister Emma. This family seems to have had the habit of not actually calling anyone by their given name and using nicknames most of the time. It’s wonderful to finally hear Jane’s voice for the first time in Fred + Jane’s story. We get a first glimpse of her fabulous sense of humour here too.

Mrs. Allen’s Hair Restorer – was a proprietary brand of hair ointment which contained the dubious concotion of “sulphur, acetate of lead, glycerin, and flavored water”.

Fred replies 14th August 1879.

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2 thoughts on “The earliest surviving letter of Jane’s

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