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Whitmore, Thomas Greenslade, 1799–1855

Journal of an excursion in the Lady Melville hatch boat / by T.G.W., London.

England, 1830.
Physical Description:
1 volume ([4], 154 pages) : illustrations ; 28 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
DA670.K3 W55 1830+ Oversize
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Archives & Manuscripts
Written in pen and black ink.
Bound in gilt- and blind-tooled green morocco.
The diary records a boat trip taken on the Lady Melville starting from Blackwall, August 21-30, 1830. The party comprises Edwin Fenn, Vincent Fenn, Mr. Woodward, Mr. Walter, and the author. The Lady Melville operated out of Gravesend and was owned by a Mr. Marshall; the cost of hiring her was 5 guineas per week. Having stocked the boat with "sundry pieces of salt beef ... a large ham cut in halves ... seven loaves of bread - some biscuits - a Wiltshire cheese, a nine gallon cask of table ale, and one gallon of gin, tea et cetera" as well as beds, the party set sail, but are almost immediately forced to put in to Ramsgate because of adverse winds. The following day they pass Dover, but are again forced by the weather to drop anchor near Dungeness lighthouse. Of Dungeness, the author notes, "Of all the dreary places in His Majesty's dominions I should think this bears the palm; I had no conception there could have been such a miserable place in the world". The next day, they pass Hastings, St. Leonards, and Beachy Head, before being obliged by the strong winds to drop anchor off Eastbourne. Here it is decided to abandon the original plan of going as far as the Isle of Wight and returning, as the weather conditions would have made it impossible to do this in the available time, and instead to return directly, visiting Hastings, Rye and Dover on the way back. At this point Edwin Fenn decides to leave the ship. The following day they manage, in spite of high seas, to go ashore at Hastings and to return to the boat, although there was some embarrassment at being seen by their London friends in a costume of "canvas trousers, Guernsey frocks, blue jackets, and ... sou'-westers". Later in the day, they arrive at Rye, where they visit a fair and are "greatly surprised by the number of smugglers ... and the open and fearless manner in which they operate". In general, though, "Rye is certainly a very uninteresting place, and there is a great appearance of poverty and desolation about it". The party is obliged to spend the night on shore owing to the uncivil conduct of a Lieutenant McTavish, and a detailed account is given of this incident and its aftermath. There is also a discussion of the effects of smuggling, and the best way of dealing with it (chiefly, according to the writer, by a reduction in duty). The next day they sail from Rye to Dover. The day after that, Mr. Woodward decides to leave the party, and those who remain visit Dover Castle. On returning to the ship, the wind has changed, and it is decided to revert to the original plan of going as far as the Isle of Wight. Unfortunately, at Beachy Head the ship encounters another gale, and is again forced to turn back. The next day, Vincent Fenn is forced to leave the party, owing to an injured hand. Passing Margate and Ramsgate, the boat then hits another gale off Herne Bay, and it is decided to return to Margate and anchor there for the night. The following day is spent chiefly on shore, visiting Broadstairs. The party's hope to reach Blackhall the following day, though threatened by another calm wind, is realized when the passengers are picked up by a passing steamer.
The text is accompanied by engraved illustrations of places visited. These are presumably extracted from contemporary publications.
Subject Terms:
Beachy Head (England)
Boats and boating -- Great Britain -- 19th century.
Dover (England) -- Description and travel.
Great Britain -- Description and travel -- 19th century.
Kent (England) -- Description and travel.
Margate (England) -- Description and travel.
Rye (England) -- Description and travel.
Seafaring life -- Great Britain -- 19th century.
Voyages and travels -- Great Britain -- 19th century.
Whitmore, Thomas Greenslade -- Bookplate.
Whitmore, Thomas Greenslade, 1799-1855.
Travel writing.

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