Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A day in Oxford

An early start yesterday, with Reg driving Olivia and me to Guildford Station, where we caught a train from Guildford to Reading and changed for Oxford, arriving there at 10 am. It was a 15 minute walk to the Taylorian Institute, the library for Slavonic studies.

I'd been corresponding with a libarian, Nick, and he produced two big boxes of Nevill's photographs of his travels, photographs of Nevill – all ages – and correspondence by Nevill to his sister Janet and condolence letters about Nevill after his death. It included letters written by Nevill in the days before he died (of his own hand) and a medical report which created great fear in his mind about infection, and letters by qualified friends of Janet's who were convinced that the doctors put unfounded fears in Nevill's mind.

I found these letters and notes quite unsettling, and I'm sure Olivia did too.

I photographed many of the photos, but I was not happy with the quality. But fortunately we had free use of a photocopier so brought away a great many copies of fascinating letters which I am reading today. There was a copy of his application for the position of Reader in Russian at Oxford, which was a potted history of his education and travels up to 1910.
Olivia left early to go back to Guildford, but I stayed because the librarian, Nick promised to take me around to see the hotel which used to be the 8 bedroom, 3 reception room house that Nevill had to himself with just one or two man-servants. It was owned by Christchurch college, and obviously leased to Nevill. The charwoman, Mrs Cornelius (the mother of his other two children) used to come in three days per week. He mentioned “his excellent charwoman, Mrs Cornelius” in a letter.

After viewing the hotel, Nick dropped me at the station where I purchased a Seniors Rail Card for ₤26, which will give me a 33% discount off rail tickets.

My next stop was Banbury, only 20 minutes by train from Oxford, where my dear (second) cousin Ray met me at the station. Raymond (Bayford) is also related to Shirley and it would be great if Shirley could meet Ray on her next trip to England.

Today Ray planned to drive me, at my request, to Chipping Camden where Janet Forbes lived and her children were born, but I didn't wake up till 10.30 (first decent sleep I'd had), and it has been raining frequently so I suggested we go tomorrow. We are just chilling out, which is very nice indeed. Daughter Tracey of course is at work. She works for a bank, and so far, her job is safe!


  1. He is so naughty Margaret that man of yours.

    Am reading along with you - so busy you are. Off to look at your latest pics.

    Lots of rain here in Adelaide at last!!