A walk through history.

When I told Einion, the archivist about the letter regarding the building of a horse-drawn railway, he told me that you can still walk along part of it, so yesterday I set off with kids and dog in tow to find it.  It is easy enough to find.  If you were traveling from Bangor to Bethesda, you take the turning to Tregarth just before half way bridge, and it crosses over the road pretty much at the junction.  It is a beautiful walk along the river in the Bethesda direction, although someone has tried to block the footpath off with a gate, which is a shame.  In the other direction it becomes a beautiful tree-lined avenue that leads you to another Tregarth road (the first you would come to if travelling from Bangor).  It was a real thrill to walk along the old railway line, when I had just days before, held the letter that led to it being built in my hands.  I think I need to invest in an OS map to try and follow more of it, and try to find out why it’s been blocked off too.

Lots of distractions last week left me with very little time with the documents.  At the bottom of the post is a table of what I got through.

41.9 Letter from Edward Poynter (Royal Academy of Art)  suggesting that the Rembrandt be restored while in London.  9 March (?) 1899  Describes the painting as being in a ‘dangerous’ condition and suggests that Dyer, at the academy work on it. 
41.10 Letter recommending that painting of St Luke and the Virgin is transferred.  8 March 1899  Letter states that its author (signature not deciphered) has been to see Buttery, the painting restorer and both agree that the painting of St Luke needs to be transferred.  A man named Morell is recommended as the best transferer in the world.  Letter also mentions that a Mr Hofstede de Proof(?), assistant director of the Hague Museum and head of the Print Room Amsterdam as well as leading Rembrandt expert to have the Rembrandt photographed. 
41.11 Letter confirming that ‘Buttery’ will transfer St Luke and the Virgin.  14 March 1899 
41.12 Letter from Dr Hofstede de Groot requesting permission to photograph the Rembrandt for a complete edition of Rembrandt’s works.  20 February 1899  Dr Hofstede de Groot  (late director of the Print Room at the Rijksmuseum requests permission to photograph the Rembrandt.  Refers to the fact that the Rembrandt is currently on display at Burlington House. 
41.13 Letter from Horace Buttery regarding the need to transfer the painting of St Luke and the Virgin.  7 March 1899 
41.14 Confirmation of Lord Penrhyn’s abbreviated London address.  7 Jan 1901  Confirmation from the General Post Office, London, that instead of Lord Penrhyn, Mortimer House, Halkin Street S.W., Lord Penrhyn’s abbreviated address will be “Penrhyn London”). 
41.15 Letter from Alice Douglas Pennant to Lord Penrhyn regarding Dieric Bouts painting lent to an exhibition in Bruges.  August 1902  Letter mentions that the critics had decided the painting was most definitely a Dieric Bouts rather than an earlier work, and were very grateful to have it for the exhibition. 
41.16 Letter from the British Museum to Lady Penrhyn identifying a juniper variety..  23 October 1891  Identifies juniper sample sent as ‘Juniperus Communis var. Alpina Gaud which was also called Juniperus nana. 
41.17 Letter from Lithographic Establishment Gate Street regarding drawings on stones.  18 Jan (?) 1850 
41.18 Letter from John Sparks of Japanese Fine Art Depot regarding scrum.  27 January 1903  Remarks that while he has seen many Chinese scrums of a similar nature, he has never seen a finer one.  Thinks it probably part of a twelvefold scrum originally. 
41.19 Letter with sales details of 2 gilt console tables with marble tops with accompanying sketch.  14 September 1899 
41.20 Correspondence from F. A. Hughes to Lady Penrhyn regarding the ‘Bangor Sketches by W. Pickering’  22 March and 1 May 1900  Two letters, one of which thanks Lady Penrhyn for the loan of the pictures, and one which requests permission to copy some of them.  Both letters make reference to Lady Penrhyn receiving news from the front in South Africa. 
41.21 Letter from St John’s College, Cambridge and two sketches of a portrait of John Williams with ‘Picture at  Hovingham’ written underneath.  19 Oct 1900 
41.22 Letter to Lady Penrhyn from J. Williams regarding plans for large and small Dining Rooms.  24 May 1894 Letter describes a five section dining table, and how it can be adapted; describes chairs in the large dining room and notes that six round tables are to be set up in the small dining room.  Letter also mentions sample picture chains and that a sample of the bamboo cane has been sent to Morris. Preparations for the Royal visit perhaps? 
41.23 Letter to Lady Penrhyn from J. Williams (Penlan) regarding erection and maintenance of cottages at Llandygai.  12 May 1896  Discusses thickness of walls and merits of using flue liners. 
41.24 Letter to Lady Penrhyn from W. Lester Smith regarding girth of Yew tree below Castle, and the health of William Stewart, a shepherd on the farm.  30 Dec 1896 
41.25 Note to Lady Penrhyn from W. Speed informing her that Lemonade is standing at 70 degrees in the shade.  12 August 1898 8.30am. 
41.26 Hand written account of the history of Penrhyn Castle.  c.1900
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4 responses to “A walk through history.

    • Thanks Graham!

      No probs, your pictures are stunning and your blog really interesting. I was reading some correspondence between Lord Penrhyn and the Crown regarding the Bryn Hafod Quarry, did a quick google, and your pics and info came up and was really helpful. Hope its ok to re-blog – new to blogging and not 100% on the ettiqete!

  1. Thanks Catrin. That sounds like a fascinating project you are working on. It must be very satisfying to be able to connect features still existing on the ground to their related historical documents.

    Best of luck with the rest of the project!

    • You’ve hit the nail on the head! I love finding the sites I’ve been reading about.

      It was quite romantic to see, in a state of ruin, something that had been described in a letter I’d just read as being at the forefront of cutting edge technology. Made me feel a bit like a timetraveller!

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