In June 2011, Tony Macer and I were invited to go to the Museum in the Park to examine and photograph a scrapbook that had been donated to the museum in 1955 by a Mr Timbrell (if any of the Timbrells read this, do please get in touch).
The scrapbook turned out to be a day book kept by William COWLE (WC) during 1890. In it he pasted notes about his garden, his walks, his friends, his astronomical and weather observations, recipes, articles from newspapers and magazines, and illustrations that caught his eye.
His wife Helen had died in January 1890 and they had no children. He had his membership of local council Committees, but he seemed to have time to spare and not many close friends. His father had been a farmer and WC made notes about cereal yields and broken fences as he walked the paths around the county. His interest in astronomy was so great that he built an observatory with a 6" telescope on the corner opposite the hospital, "Open to the Public every clear Evening".
WC took his work on the local Board of Health seriously. He copied statistics into his day book about deaths per 1,000 of population, and kept careful weather and rainfall records (he was also concerned with the supply of fresh water in the town). And there are quite a few surprises. Somebody gave WC a newspaper cutting about using cocaine to cure influenza [Image 3408] "The effect was magical ... When I think I am going into danger I forestall it by an application." [no comment]. Later [Image 3420] he wrote a very disapproving list of friends who succumbed to ‘a fondness for stimulants’.
And the day book contains this lovely little watercolour of a young girl. We have no idea who she is, though she could be one of Helen's nieces. She had quite a few but one - an invalid - was called Hellen, so it would be nice to think this was little Hellen. Or it might even be Helen herself as a young girl. She was born in 1821 and I do not know enough about historical costume to be able to date this white frock [although staff at the Museum of Costume in Bath have since suggested that the dress, and the painting style, come from 1823-27; is this a six-year-old Helen?]. One of the Timbrell children - see below - had scribbled a bonnet on her head but I have digitally removed it from this image. If anyone can name her please get in touch immediately!
Lionel Waldrond was the curator of the Museum in the Park at the time the scrapbook was donated to the collection. He visited our Open Day in June 2011 and was able to tell us more about its acquisition (and some stories about the Timbrell family in the 1940s that I will not repeat here).
The scrapbook had been found in the attic of the Cemetery Lodge in Bisley Road. Actually, it was Mrs Timbrell who found it and happily let their children practise their writing on the pages! That was how the scrapbook spine got so damaged, and why many of the pages are overwritten in chalk or pencil childish handwriting. I had hoped that it had been discovered in a location connected with the COWLEs, and that Helen COWLE's nieces and nephews had played with it, but not so, which is a pity. A little daughter accompanied Mr Timbrell when he took the scrapbook to the Museum - possibly aged about 5 or 6 according to Lionel's memory - which would put her YoB around 1950. We do not know her first name, or his. We do not know who put the scrapbook in the attic, or why. One possible answer is that the scrapbook had been part of an auctioned lot, and abandoned because it was not of any interest. But we have not yet found any record of an auction of William COWLE's possessions, after his death. And we don't know who lived in the Cemetery Lodge immediately after World War II. Yet.
The scrapbook is in a very fragile state, with most of the pages completely loose, so there is no way of knowing the original order in which they were bound, or if any page is missing – although the Collections Officer wonders if one of them is the loose page containing the four yellowing photographs of The Field [Accession No 1957.145] annotated “H Cowle – grandfather’s sister house” (this casual annotation was the only confirmation that the COWLEs had lived there at all, and led us to possible present-day Kent relatives!). There are very few dates or newspaper sources that might give a clue so we have not attempted to re-order the actual pages. Tony photographed the front and back of every page so the image order below shows the order in which the pages were then stored. The lighting in Gallery 2 was good enough not to have to use the flash, which we were all relieved about, and we all donned gloves before handling the pages.
To show the order of the pages as presented on 7th June, the list below assigns a number to each loose page photographed, using ‘a’ and ‘b’ to indicate ‘front’ or ‘back’. Very occasionally a page needed more than one photograph (close-ups; backs of newspaper cuttings, and so on) so these are identified by ‘c’ and ‘d’ as appropriate. The images themselves are far too big to be displayed on this website but here at least is a detailed index of the contents, with occasional thumbnails.
To maintain continuity in the original Image numbers as they came off Tony's camera, every image is listed in this CONTENTS list:
|3392||1a||front cover test with flash|
|3393||1a||front cover test with flash|
|3394||1a||front cover test without flash|
|3395||1b||front cover back sheet – annotated ‘given 11-8-55 by Mr Timbrell’ then empty except for childish scribble|
|3396||2a||Opinions of the Press reviews of, and order form for, The Book of Choice Ferns costing 12s for the first twelve ... from the publisher at 170 Strand|
|3397||2b||magazine page of illustrations of slug and two ferns|
|3398||3a||portrait of Harry L W LAWSON Esq pub as supplement to The Stroud Journal October 8 1892|
|3399||3b||cutting of letter dated 25 July ‘fifty-three years later’ [so 1892] quoting extract from Macaulay’s 1839 book Gladstone on Church and State highly critical of Gladstone’s rhetoric|
|3400||4a||blank page, childish drawing of a house (bathroom, kitchen, lavatreen on G floor; bedroom on 1st floor, brick or stone garden path)|
|3403||5b||recipe for glue; Business of the Lodge annotated Oct 24 1891;|
|3404||5c||handwritten note dated Oct 29 1891: “rode from Stroud to Charfield and walked from Charfield home. Several trees blown down near the line. Saw only xx at Watson[?] / between Waldon and Symonds Hall[?] saw abt 4 or 5 acres of straw[?] xxx out. and abt one acre of Wheat. One of the Beach Trees at the highest point in the County blown down and one still standing ...[more] No corn out at S Hall, abt 17 ricks in the yard and 5 or 5 in the field adjacent [more] lots of trees blown down between Nailsworth and Stroud [end of page]|
|3405||5d||same page at 90o|
|3407||6b||handwritten note: 'Buried at Stow: Sacred to the Memory of Rachel Cowle of Moorslade Farm Who died July 21st 1852 in the 68th year of her age [so b abt 1784; 1841and 1851 censuses show them both at Moorslade, Falfield, Thornbury] Also of William Cowle late of Moorslade Farm who died at Stroud December the 13th 1868 in his eighty seventh year [so b abt 1781]’
‘In the Stroud cemetery: Sacred to the Memory of Helen wife of William Cowle of Park House Stroud who Died Jany 27th 1890 – aged 68’
|3408||7a|| small squares of paper with handwritten notes:
|3410||8a||cuttings from Stroud Journal Nov 4/92 and Stroud News same date, concerning Mr Cowle’s resignation from the Board of Health, after 30 years.|
|3411||8b||torn out – looks like remains of paper pocket for 1873 auction papers|
|3412||9a||cutting of undated magazine article Mr Besant in London – Romans ...city Guilds, fragments of monasteries ... 14thC ... royal palaces ... Milton ... masons|
|3413||9a||back of cutting: 5th August 1892 from English Mechanxxx World of Science No 1428 p 545: an electric Low Water alarm and the British Association for the Advancement of Science address by the President of the Association on James HUTTON|
|3415||9b||close-up of the White Hart trade card|
|3416||10a||watercolour of a little girl (see above), undated, unidentified - circulated within the Museum staff and Friends in June to see if anyone recognises it|
|3417||10b||p 546 of the English Mechanic and World of Science No 1428 Aug 5th 1892, containing articles headed: The Neptunists and the Plutonists; Smith's Law of Organic Succession; The Modern Science of Geology; Uniformity of Causation; Progression in Organic Types|
|3418||11a||same article cutting as 2412 Mr Besant on London [v crumpled]|
|3419||11b||purple ink: table of births and deaths the past 14 years (1875-87) Stroud U S D inc % per 1000, and infant deaths as % of births [dated in pencil 1887 and 14 corrected to 13]|
a handwritten list of friends who ‘have gone before their time from a fondness for stimulants’
Here is my transcript. Some are identified by their occupation. Not all names and initials are legible and I have had to guess quite a few - especially Ts and Fs and Js. And where WC wrote Do (ditto) I have repeated the actual name.
J Grist, T Grist, J Clissold Snr, J Clissold Jnr, Poole Holloway, Tea Smith, W Holmes, W Hobbs, & wife, White Cofferman, White Farmer, Buk Busham, William Coach Busham, Young Hallewell, Grand Father, Great Uncle, John Clutterbuck, brother, Father, Niblett Chemist, Hopson Butcher, Nat G, Alfred G, Jacob G, John G, Old Bateman, He Bateman, Old Humphries, G Humphries, T Humphries,
2nd column: Berry Ironmonger, Denis Lawyer, Leon Nailsworth, H H, Lucke Bank, Webb Ripley, D Stanton Jnr, Flight Snr, An Junr, Collins, Ponting Senr, Ponting Jnr, Bradford, Bradford, Webb, Sping, Winterbotham, Knee, Knee, Knee, James Robson, Cormack, Merrett B B, Guyland Patch, Websome Farmer, Webson Bean, Neal Russel St, King Butcher,
3rd column: Dutson Hunt, Gillman, Gillman, Hy Hyde, Hy Keill, T Chew, Banker Smith, Denys Healter, Lasbury, Lasbury, Lasbury, D Davis, W Davis, Reartly, Busthwait, Lamb, Lamb, Clutterbuck Law, Bliss Senr, Bliss Junr, G Allan, brxxxx, xxxx, Jowling, Willy Mason at Grey liskes, Hewlett, Hewlett, Hewlett Coach, Hunt, Hunt, Hunt, xxxtone (three of them).
If you want to see a copy of the image itself, please email me.
|3421||12b||something large has been removed from this page|
|3422||13a||printed Instructions for using the Negretti & Zambra’s Horticultural Self-Registering Thermometer for Determining the Greatest Cold during the night or absence of the observer|
|3423||13b||back of Negretti & Zambra's leaflet [blank page]|
|3424||14a||diagram from English Mechanic and World of Science No 1310 dated May 2 1890. p201, showing Plan of Inner Satellites [of Saturn:] Tethis, Dione and Rhea|
|3425||14b||intriguing torn-out printed sheet, the left-hand side of which says: “The recital ... twenty years old ... any doubts shall arise as to ... her expense to be made by a ...of its having during that period be... ...jection or requisition in reference to the Title or th ... .Wilberforce Heelas, within 21 days after the deliver of ... making further objection ... and shall be deemed ...” the original page was later used by a child to write a pencilled shopping list, with prices [did the child tear out the sheet? who can say]|
|3426||15a|| a number of articles:
|3428||16a||loose sheet: badly damaged newspaper cutting from Saturday June 19th 1869: page of adverts, the middle one of which is for Mount Pleasant, Stroud, Unsold Lots on this very xxxxxent building site [this must be the follow-on from Revd John Hawkins sale of Arundell Mill in 1868]|
|3429||16a||same as 3428|
|3430||16a||closeup of same cutting|
|3431||16a||[back of 3428] a full-page report of William COWLE v. William LONG – action by plaintiff, a gentleman of Stroud, against a manufacturer of Charfield mills and JP, to recover £16 damage to a hedge at Mr COWLE’s farm at Charfield, near the mills (bought by him in 1852). This was a jury case and Messrs John BARBER, J CROOME, D CRUMP, E ORGAN and G M COOPER were sworn. Plaintiff was represented by Mr NORRIS, barrister-at-law of Bristol, instructed by Mr KEARSEY of Stroud. The dispute was about access rights across two lanes.|
|3432||16a||another view of 3431|
|3433||16a||another view of 3431|
|3434||16a||handwritten notes pasted to auction ad: Temperatures for December 1889; Rainfall for 1890: 23”|
|3436||16a||the very crumpled June 1871 auction note to which 3434 was pasted - see 3437|
|3437||16a||full size auction poster for Corn Exchange and Exchange Buildings sale June 1871 [was this WC clearing the decks and raising capital after his purchase in Feb 1871 of The Field estate? He and Helen had lived at Exchange Buildings for some time.]|
|3438||16a||auction pamphlet cont'd: details of Corn Exchange and Exchange Buildings Lots [top already torn and missing]:‘
No 1: The CORN EXCHANGE, having one of the best Cellars in the County, xxxx Room, Store Room, with other conveniences, in the occupation of Mr Joseph BROWN
Coach House, with room for Three Carriages, Wash house, and Store Room, use by several tenants
No 2: PRIVATE RESIDENCE in the occupation of Mr W COWLE, the Proprietor of the property, consisting of Dining Room, Drawing Room, Breakfat Room, Kitchen, Larder, Back Kitchen, WC, and Five Bed Rooms.
No 3: PRIVATE RESIDENCE in the occupation of Mr James HUSSEY, having Parlour, Kitchen, Larder, Coal-house, WC, Two good Bed Rooms, and Dressing Room on Second Floor, and Two Bed Rooms and Store Room on Third Storey.
No 4: PRIVATE RESIDENCE, occupied by Mrs WOOLLMAN with xxxx [too creased]
No 5: PRIVATE RESIDENCE, occupied by Mr H THORNTON, having Dining Room, Large Drawing Room, Large Kitchen, Larder, Cellar and Four good Bed Rooms, with WC
No 6: PRIVATE RESIDENCE, occupied by Mr ORCHARD, having Dining Room, Large Drawing Room, Kitchen, with capital Cooking Range, Larder, Cellar, Store-house, and Six Bedrooms, with WC.
No 7: PRIVATE RESIDENCE, occupied by Mr Joseph BROWN, having Two Sitting Rooms, Large Kitchen, Back Kitchen, WC, Five Bed Rooms, Two of which are very large.
No 8: Grocer’s Shop and Residence, with very Large and Valuable Cellar, Kitchen, Large Drawing Room, Five Good Bed Rooms, Two Store Rooms, with WC. Also Cellar and Store Room, entered from Yard below, occupied by Messrs BROWN and HUSSEY
There is a LARGE GARDEN, divided into Lots for the use of the Tenants. There are TWO GREENHOUSES, supplied with Three excellent Vines each, which are very productive. Three Stables, Two Fowls Houses, Two WCs, and other Outbuildings.The entire Annual Rental is £190.
The whole of the Property, except Two of the Stables and the Greenhouses, are let at exceedingly moderate Rents. Gas is laid on at all the Houses except one, and the Water and Drainage arrangements are perfect. If the New Market scheme in contemplation should be carried out, the probability is that part of the Property will be purchased so as to make a New Road from the Cross. The Property enjoys a right to waste Water from the Reservoir belonging to the Board of Health. The entrance to each House is ornamented with Columns or Pilasters in the Ionic style. Nearly all the Fireplaces on the Property are supplied with modern Registered Grates, and many of them have Marble Chimney Pieces. The whole of the Property is in the most substantial condition.’
|3439||16a||back of the auction catalogue, listing conditions of sale, the year 1871; the vendor’s agent was Wilberforce HEELAS|
|3440||16a||[inside the folded auction catalogue] a loose leaf of p3 of a printed Minutes[?] with para headings:‘(f) From Army (g) From Plum Trees (h) From Debasement of Currency (i) from Apologies’|
|3441||16b||WC handwritten lists: one of Vines ‘recommended in book’, a second of 20 Vines headed ‘ordered’|
|3442||17a||Two (undated) newspaper cuttings concerning the election to the Local Health Board. Names mentioned are: COWLE W, HULBERT E, SIMS W T, OKEY J, GREENSLADE J, GARDNER T W, HOOK C, PEARSE W, and John HARPER [I think the date 1888 Feb 13 that seems to be at the top of the page is in fact from another page that was visible below this one. Messrs OKEY and GREENSLADE had bought building Lots at The Field auction.]|
|3443||17b||A magazine article The Alphabet about early scripts and hieroglyphics|
|3444||17b||page 2 of the article Image 3443|
|3445||18a||local snowfall record dated 1888 Feb 13 [loose sheet]|
|3446||18b||blank except for childish scribbled drawings|
|3447||19a||torn blue sheet showing a list of months and associated figures [not sure of what]|
|3448||19b||Very Truly Yours John ELLIOTT [portrait] published as supplement in Stroud Journal Jan 9 1891. [see #3426]|
|3450||20b||a torn out copy of a NOTICE to Wm Cowle Esq, from the Returning Officer|
|3451||21a||a page of small items:
An intriguing list of COWLE births in WC’s handwriting [WC’s grandfather+siblings? If these are siblings they are very close together – poor mum! Checked IGI but no consistent entries; lots of COWLEs in Isle of Man]:
|3452||21a||same as 3451|
|3453||21b||blank, pencilled scribbles|
|3454||22a||advert for Henley-on-Thames Ales by Holmes & Co – elephants and natives, palm trees, huts! Holmes & Co had a brewery in Stroud!|
|3455||22b||blank, pencilled scribbles|
|3456||23a||advert 1887 Jubilee – cartoon showing all nationalities (John Bull at the front) pulling a chariot containing the Spirit of Booze? (she is scattering the names of different types of alcohol) [similar style to #3454]|
|3457||23b||blank, pencilled scribbles|
1. handwritten: Feb 8th 1888 from W A LONG Chairman of the Local Board of Health, concerning the funeral arrangements for Henry HOLLOWAY – meet at the entrance to the Subscription Rooms at 11:45 to join the procession
2. printed: Feb 8th 1888 from W H C FISHER Secretary of Sherborne Lodge 702 – meet at the Lodge Room at 11:45 to follow his remains to the Cemetery. Brethren will wear white gloves.
|3460||23a||plan of Hemlock Well drain in Field Road, with scale|
|3462||24a||torn out newspaper cutting concerning a dispute – clues from odd words: ‘manufacturer ... There were many people who used the road and it was much used by people going to the mills and the railway. The hedge in many places was cut ... William Heaven said he knew the farm. He had lived in the neighbourhood for sixty years. He did know the lane, which was a dark milll ane. It had been xxxxed Long’s Lane ever since the mill had been there ...’ looks like that Charfield dispute see #3431|
|3463||24b||blank page, with childish pencilled list of words – and a brave attempt at scissors: ‘sicors’|
|3464||25a||note listing ?names and places? WC handwriting v spiky but looks like: Bert E Costa? / do / do / Niblets Common / T Hunt / Fenater / do / Ayliff Dursley / Ockford Gardner Field / Kearsey / Z Hunt plasterer / Wallop|
|3466||25b||blank page, childish scribbles|
|3467||26a||magazine full-page illustration of a fern|
|3468||26b||cover page: In Monthly Parts, Price 1s. Part 1 Now Ready: The Book of Choice Ferns ... cultivation and arrangement ... something else has been pasted on top of this cutting then torn off again|
|3469||27a||list of BIRT siblings BMDs – torn so that most birth-year dates are missing! Have transcribed this list separately but the details show ‘Children of Joseph and Mary’ and list eight children, the youngest of whom is Helen. Parents are named as Joseph BIRT b Apl 24th xxxx and Mary ALDRIDGE b Jany 16th 1777; [WC's handwritten list shows these entries; I have added what else I have so far found]:
|3472||28b||Helen’s funeral cards + Obit of Dr Thomas BIRT p1 [Helen’s brother]|
|3473||28b||same as 3472 [handwritten 3-sided letter dated Jany 13th 1883 – transcribed separately]|
|3474||28b||Obit of Dr Thomas BIRT p1 close-up|
|3475||28b||Obit of Dr Thomas BIRT p2 close-up|
|3476||28b||Obit of Dr Thomas BIRT p3 close-up|
|3477||29a||the blank back of a folded article|
|3478||29a||page from British Medical Journal Nov 1 1890 p 1036: letter concerning dietary fads|
|3479||29a||the blank back of a folded article|
|3480||29b||newspaper cutting (undated) about the British Association’s meetings at Cardiff – Anthropology and Darwin ... ‘.....It had been calculated that it would only require 600 years to populate the whole earth with the descendants of one couple, the first father being dolichocephalic and the first mother brachycephalic. They might after a time all choose to speak an Aryan language, but they could not choose their skulls......’|
|3481||30a||list of vines in new Vinery pasted on the loose back of an article|
|3482||30a||blank back of other half of folded page on which the Deafness article is pasted|
|3483||30a||2-column newspaper article (undated) from our correspondent in Paris about M. Ernest Renan, reviewing a new volume by this author of La Vie de Jesus the last volume of his History of the People of Israel. The author advises modern youth to discard metaphysics for practical science and history ......|
|3484||30a||long newspaper cutting (undated) headed Deafness and other ailments|
|3485||30b||WC handwritten note: Rainfall at Park House 1891 [monthly numbers] ‘nearly 9” above average’|
|3486||31a||blank page that once contained a cutting perhaps the size of a postcard, of which only remnants of the central pasted area now remain|
|3488||32a|| two undated cuttings:
|3492||blank page with childish £ s d sums|
|3493||blank page with one scribble|
|3494||blank page with childish long division|
|3495||blank page with colour chalk lines|
|3496||end page – WC’s business card|
|3497||back cover outside|
As at Nov 2011 the images are still in their original, unedited state. In due course we want to edit them into a more viewable format that can be stored at the Museum.
A reminder - the complete scrapbook with all its contents is owned by the Cowle Trustees. The reproductions made here are done so with the permission of the Collections Officer at the Museum in the Park.