Cries for help.

Here’s a list of the documents I went through on Friday:

52.03 Bundle of Correspondence and accounts relating to the quarry.

Bundle includes:
a) March 1884 Invoice Account of Slate sales in March.
b) 1885 Bundle of correspondence regarding stock/finance discrepancies and A. Wyatt.
c) 18 October 1885 Letter from Robert Wynne Jones, 21 Ogwen Terrace, Bethesda. Claims that as a Conservative he is struggling to find work with the Liberals in power and asks Lord Penrhyn to help him emigrate to Australia.
d) c.1885 Letter from William Samuel (Quarryman). Asks Lord Penrhyn to arrange for him to work an easier rock than he has been given as he is old and infirm and can not work the rock allocated him. Claims to have always voted Conservative.
e) 1885 Price list of the Bryn Hafod y Wern Quarry.
f) 12 Dec 1885 – Leetr from Young regarding Cook, Bennet and discounts.
g) 1886 – Envelope containing various opinions of counsel on the use of the names Pennant and Penrhyn plus accompanying correspondence.
h) Feb 1886 – Application for labour work at the Quarry.
i) 1886 – Correspondence regarding dividends on stocks of Metropolitan Consolidated.
j) 1 June 1886 Copy of the Quarries Regulation Act
k) c. 1886 Notes on the Quarries Regulation Act.
l) 1886 Correspondence regarding the complaints of Mr Dunlop.
m) 16 January 1886 Letter from Young requesting to meet with G.D. Pennant.
n) c. 1875 5 pages from a letter sent to Yr Herald Gymraeg. Contains lots of information as to finance and general lifestyle in Bethesda, charitable work of Edward Gordon Douglas Pennant. At least 5 pages are missing, including the start and end of the document.

52.04 Leter of Acknowledgement from Lord Penrhyn to Lloyd Carter 19 November 1896

The requests for help from Lord Penrhyn affected me a bit.  Especially this one

You would imagine that after 35 years service, and the loss of a finger and an eye a person would have deserved small allowances to be made, but it seems not.  What strikes me about these letters though is what it would have cost for the individuals to write them.  Writing a letter to Lord Penrhyn himself must have been a last resort, and not something someone would undertake lightly.  I can’t help but think about the desperation and hope that lies behind these letters; the cold and hungry family that would have compelled a man to take such measures.

It seems that in the past, someone has attempted to organise and describe a lot of the documents in this collection, and for some time I’ve had the suspicion that that person was George Sholto Douglas Pennant. However, although I suspected the writing was his,  it would be  feasible that a lot of his letters were dictated, and that the writing I though was his in fact belonged to a secretary.

Today however, I found my proof in the form of a translation of an article from ‘Yr Herald Gymraeg’ regarding the ‘South Africa Question’ and Lord Penrhyn’s opinion on it.  It is hardly flattering about George Sholto “It is useless to argue with so thick-headed a man as Lord Penrhyn” and on the front is written “Abuse of myself… re war in Africa.”

It may be my geekiness, but I find it quite exiting that George Sholto attempted to organise the collection.  His notes have been very useful in helping me identify documents, and it seems to reveal a little more about the character of this man who I feel I’m starting to understand.  I believe he was a fastidious man, with a great (near obsessive) concern with getting things ‘right’.  What is also interesting is that the current bundle I’m working on seems to consist of translations of articles from the Welsh language media.  Most of the envelopes have words like  ‘scurrilous’ and ‘libel written by George Sholto on the from, so I’m sure you can understand why I’m so eager to get on with things quickly today! 😉


2 responses to “Cries for help.

  1. It is isn’t it. The fact that people feel they need to justify their plea for help with the fact that they are of good character, sober etc when you think that surely 35 years service and the loss of limbs would go some way towards testifying that. I just wish I knew what the response was.

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