Letters from the Past
London to Shaftesbury, Dorset, 1834
Queen Adelaide’s birthday
These old letters are all different from one another, even though they may concern legal matters, or family matters, or commerce, they all lead to different areas of research, and this one is no exception.
It was written by a legal firm Tilson Squames and Tilson of London to Messrs Wills & Burrage, solicitors of Shaftesbury Dorset. It has a London circular date stamp postmark applied in black 3 lines EX showing it was one of the extra tables required for the morning duty mail, 24 FE 24 the date and then the year at the bottom in a straight line, 1834. The charge mark for the cost of postage is ‘9’ indicating nine pence, which covered the cost of sending a single page letter over a distance of between 80 and 120 miles and Shaftesbury was 101 miles from London.
There is a filing note in a different handwriting on the outside of the letter, usually written by the secretary or clerk in the solicitor’s office for easy reference.
24 Feb 34 Sherrin & Galpin Henstridge Par, Drews Ejection, Colbourne and King, Wills & Hopkins from Tilsons
So now to the letter which is beautifully written, showing the downstrokes made from using the quill pen, and really easy to read except for the names of the people mentioned in the legal actions.. I think that the Prs in the first line is an abbreviation for the word Petitioners.
Colman StreetThe next paragraph is the only one where a couple of words are difficult to decipher, but they appear to be the same word, as illustrated here.
The interesting point initially was which Queen was involved in her birthday celebrations. A web search brought up no results for me, so I contacted a friend in England who provided me with the information.
The Queen referred to was Adelaide, consort of King William IV. He had married an actress, Mrs Jordan and they had 10 children, (all given the surname of Fitzclarence). As this was a morganatic marriage, the children were considered to be illegitimate, so when George IV’s daughter died, William had to get ‘acceptably’ married to try to produce a legitimate heir since he was the next in line to the throne.
This is the entry in Chamber’s Biographical dictionary for his new bride.
QuoteSo although it did not give him the required heir, his consort was honoured by the Court and others of the ‘great and good’ to celebrate her birthday, which in fact was not on that day at all.
A newspaper report for the event in 1834 mentioned in this letter, was in The Morning Post (London, England), Thursday, February 20,1834; Issue 19720.
QuoteThat report was kindly shared by Dr. M Bloy. Also a longer and different report in The Morning Post (London, England), Tuesday, February 25, 1834; Issue 19724. The section is headed “FASHIONABLE WORLD.” and an identical piece appeared in The Times (London, England), Tuesday, Feb 25, 1834; pg. 2; Issue 15410 the Court Circular.
A full copy of this can be seen on Dr. Bloy’s website http://www.historyhome.co.uk/people/queenbir.htm. This is just the first paragraph. The ensuing paragraphs contain complete details of all the guests and what clothes they were wearing!
If I had not bought this letter,(for the London morning duty post mark) I would have had no knowledge of, and no reason to check on Queen Adelaide and the celebrations for her birthday. I find it very interesting that this letter shows that although it would not have been a public holiday as such, not only the fashionable world, but also the legal profession, in London at least, closed their offices as a mark of respect.
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