I must confess I was starting to despair of getting this project done in time. The first box took me two and a half weeks, and with at least 30 boxes to do it doesn’t take a mathematical genius to work out that doing them all in a year (and remember I’m just reading at the moment, not cataloguing) as well as writing a 40,000 academic dissertation was going to prove a bit difficult. Last week Elen the archivist came up to see me, and was under the impression that I had started with a pretty difficult box; although as no one really knows what these boxes contain it was possible that they would all be the same.
Well, I’m please to say that I started the second box yesterday, and so far (touch wood) I’m racing through. Vouchers etc are so much easier to get through than large bundles of long letters about totally random topics from totally different periods.
I was quite exited by the first bundle of vouchers though. Among the bundle was a small account book which recorded the expenditure for the Prince of Wales’ visit in 1894. They splashed out on so much stuff including; lavish food (a receipt for hundreds of french cakes from London made me drool), flowers, extra horses and carriages, bardic robes and subscriptions to the National Eisteddfod, harpists, clothing, furniture (including the brass bed for the Prince of Wales) and what seemed like a complete overhaul for the property, including a receipt for all the wallpapers, fabrics etc from Morris & Co (with whom they spent £845.0.5).
The account book is, I believe in lady penrhyn’s hand. I suspect because the breakdown of costs it mentions items for ‘my bedroom’ and as most of the vouchers are made out to her it would make sense that these were her personal accounts. In the account book she also lists the gifts the servants will get for the royal visit;
House staff £35 men, £30 women,
Kitchen staff £15,
Stable staff £35 (or it may be 38)
Spped £20 etc.
It also lists a ‘treat for the workhouse’ – which, according to the receipt is rather a large quantity of milk. Amazing really the paradox between the amount of money they spent on ‘socialist’ William Morris’ products in comparison to what they gave the poor of their own region.
Before I got called away to a sick child, I also managed to get through:
41.2 Copy of ‘Livestock Journal’ Publication 8 December 1922
41.3 Bundle of vouchers/accounts relating to stables 1895-1907 Includes vouchers for purchase and hire of horses, railway carriage for horses, tack, carriage repairs and hound van.
41.4 Catalogue of wines and whiskey from ‘Peters, Hall & Co’ April 1923
41.5 Correspondence to Lady Penrhyn from ‘The Ypres League’ 20 Sept 1922 Letter invites Lady Penrhyn to join the Committee of Princes Beatrice to assist in organising fundraising events.
41.6 Letter of reply to Howard regarding the purchase of ‘Bronydd’. 22 May 1879
41.7 Report of the analysis of water samples taken from Penrhyn Castle. 10 October 1872 Report by Liverpool Royal Infirmary School of Medicine
41.8 Letter regarding the loan of the Rembrandt to an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. 25 February 1899
There seems to be quite a bit more Rembrandt stuff to get on with today, time to get to it.