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Birmingham City Council

Galton Papers - family life at Dudson

Sketch of family house at Dudson, 1815

Family life at Dudson - document 1.

Sketch of the family house at Dudson, 1815.





Letter from Lucy Galton to John H. Galton

Family life at Dudson - document 2.

Letter from Lucy Galton to John Howard Galton, 3 March 1807 [MS3101/C/D/10/6/29]

Extract from page 3:

'Who do you think is running about my lodging room? The Tortoise is runng about. I have been shut up, these three days, with a swelld face, so I could not go out to see the Cherub; - the Cherub, therefore, is come in a Basket to see me; but I dont much like his company. To oblige you, I have endeavord to make his visit agreeable to him. First of all, I took off his red flannel cloak & put him down by the fire. He opened his vermilion mouth & I though he seemd thirsty, so I put down some water, just warm, in a saucer but he could not put his mouth over the brim. Then I gave him water in a desert plate he stepd upon the side and overturned it. [I] sent Anne for a great white dish full of water - & put the Tortoise in the middle. He lookd just ready to be served up like turtle soup, for dinner. He has just now made a great noise, by forcing himself under the lower bars of a deal stool, which he lifts up & down with his back. He is now by the book-case, making the tour of the room. I suppose he thinks himself in a foreign land.'


Drawing of a tortoise
Family life at Dudson - document 3.

Drawing of a tortoise, enclosed in a letter from Lucy Galton to her son, John Howard Galton, 1807.



Letter from Lucy Galton to John H. Galton

Family life at Dudson - document 4.

Letter from Lucy Galton to John Howard Galton, 17 May 1807 [MS3101/C/D/10/6/35]
Extract from pages 1 & 2:

'Dear little Fellow,
I quite forget whether this is my Sunday for writing or not. If not, you may put the letter in the fire without reading it. Nevertheless I have a story to tell you; quite a new one spick and span.
Last Tuesday we invited all the seven boys from Spark Hill to breakfast, and spend the day. There were Strutt, Carson, Greg, Haywood, France, Byron & Crawford. The next morning before Breakfast the Gardener desired to speak to me and said, with a mournful face that the Tortoise was missing that he had put him in the walld garden after breakfast, the day before, whilst the young gentlemen were here. That he had seen him in the walld garden walking about, at 3 o clock the day before he went to look for him at 5 - & he was gone. He really thought it very likely, that the young gentlemen had taken him in play - & very probably had put him in the Pool to swim.
After hearing all this, I went off in the carriage to Spark Hill after the Boys. They were all gone a fishing but Byron and he assured me, they had not seen the Tortoise after the Gardener had put him out of the Hot house. Nevertheless, I begd of Mr Cowrie to speak to the rest. All this happend on Wednesday.
On Thursday we had a pouring rain, from morning till night. Yet for all that, Mr France & Strutt came over to assure me that not one of them knew anything of the Tortoise. I began to suspect that one of the labourers had stolen him, in order to sell him to the show man at the Fair. So I told the gardener to set all the men a hunting after the 6 o clock evening Bell, on Friday and Saturday; and that I would give a reward to any body who should find him but it was all in vain all the ash holes were searcht all the pots & rubbish was removed from under the shed in the strawberry garden, but in vain. So do not break your heart!
Mr Schimmelpenning left Mary Anne here last Tuesday and went back to Bristol. We were all astonishd to see him again today, before breakfast. He and Mary Anne went to chapel together. As I was dressing before dinner Mary Anne knockt at my room - & calld out to me to open the door; but what was my surprise to see her stand with the Tortoise alive & merry in her hands. She had been a walk & hearing the dinner bell, Mr Schimmelpenning said let us go in! No! said Mary Anne, I will go round the garden first, & look for the Tortoise! They found him crawling under a bush, between the hot-beds and the spider walk. Only one hind leg was to be seen. We treated him with rout cake. The Gardener declares, he shall never be let out of the hot house any more.'

(Rout cake is a kind of rich sweet cake flavoured with fruit, mentioned in Jane Austens Emma, which was made to be eaten at routs: large evening parties or fashionable assemblies)


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Guide to the Collections in Birmingham Archives and Heritage
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