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Charles Binyon's diary: January 1919

Diary Entry


JAN 1 Wednesday – Very wet, much colder.  Went down to the Drying Shed, after showing W A Fisher over H Hall’s ground, which he is going to value.  We valued the engine, boiler and apparatus.  In the afternoon we went to Aldington Kilns to value the Society’s possessions there.  In the evening I did my own accounts and Waldren’s.

The papers are full of President Wilson’s visit.  His views on the Peace Conference do not seem in agreement with Clemenceau’s.

[LGB stocktaking written in red in margin.]

JAN 2 Thursday – Fine and bright but very wet on the ground.  My men at the shed putting in a large lot of belladonna root.  We also got all the remaining bags of belladonna leaves marked ready for sending off.  In the afternoon I went to Aldington and Westbury and Wilson Butler helped me to get all the stuff there ready.  Leaves and 1 ton of root.

“Iolaire” sunk, 270 lives lost.

JAN 3 Friday – Fine and bright.  Went down to the kilns and loaded up the two Railway drays with Belladonna leaves and roots.  Then went down to the station.  The truck we loaded had come back from France.  We filled it up with six pockets from the shed – 4077 lb leaves, 2295 lb root.  We have still another ton of leaf to go off.  We are getting the fruit cans over to the drying shed.  Wrote letters in the afternoon.  E Mitchell came in the evening.

JAN 4 Saturday – Snow 4 inches deep.  Thaw.  Dull.  Went to the kilns and showed W Butler how we wanted the root packed.  The new bags hold ¾ [?].  Then to Drying Shed.  My men thrashing and packing sage.  DSMD came in after dinner and we went through the stock.  Discussed the Society with WRW and also JEK.

JAN 5 Sunday – A little snow in the night.  Dull.  Church at 11.  We had a chime on four bells 5, 6, 7, 8.  No sermon.  Visited W Jelfs in the afternoon and W Stanford and FEA at night.  Read Froude’s Essays, Hugh of Avelon.

JAN 6 Monday – 26o.  Bright and sunny.  Snow going slowly.  Walked to Drying Shed and Office and then by Offenham Cross to Evesham.  Police Court.  Only formal business – no cases.  Paid in £41 to bank.  Went to Shed in afternoon.  In the evening we had a long committee meeting at the LBG office.  The year’s turnover excluding herbs was £15,700.  The stocktakers made a report complaining of slackness.  DSMD plainly told the Committee that he was not satisfied with his position and there was a general opinion that great improvements are needed.  W Jones brought forward his suggestion for reconstruction.  He thought the Society should become dealers.  I suggested increasing our canning and taking on pulping etc.  In the end a Committee was formed to enquire into the whole working of the Society.

Disturbance at Folkestone.  Solders refuse to return to France.

[LGB Committee in red in margin.]

JAN  7 Tuesday – Milder.  Snow disappearing.  Walked with Mrs Cave to Evesham (Midland Station) and left by 10.45 pm.  Mrs Cave changed at Broom Junction for Northamptonshire.  I went on to Birmingham.  No snow beyond Redditch.  I had time to have some food and walk down New Street.  I bought “Against [?] odds”, J Hocking, to read in the train.  Left New Street by LNW train at 1.45 through Wolverhampton and Stafford to Crewe where I had an hour.  Engine from Birmingham “Sir John French”.  I came on by the Scotch Express drawn by two engines and about 15 coaches all very full.  We stopped at Preston and Lancaster and arrived at Carnforth quite punctually.  Arrived at Grange-over-Sands at 7.40 and walked up to Clare House by the Promenade.  All out except JFB at a party.  Talked with him till 11 pm.  At New Street Station notices said “Shortage of silver, have exact fare ready!”

Death of Roosevelt.

[Grange written in red in margin.]

JAN 8 Wednesday – Dull, cold and windy.  Wrote letters.  Went down to JFB’s office and in the afternoon helped Denis with his “myriorama”, the Hound of the Baskervilles.

JAN 9 Thursday – Dull, windy, much cold rain at times.  Phyllis and I went by 9.35 train to Arnside and walked to The Homestead, Carr Bank, where Lucy Butterworth is now living.  Katie was at home and Charlie and Dorothea Jackson (Connie’s children) came over.  We, all except Lucy, went out.  We went through the fields to Haverbrack past the Peal Tower, which appears to have been built in Perpendicular times, up through a wood mostly birch and larch with occasional pine and yew to the Fairy Steps which lead up a limestone cliff about 20 feet high.  The wood at the top has been cleared.  There is a fine view from here.  Arnside Knott shows up well, also Milnthorpe and Heversham villages.  We descended to Beetham and visited the church.  The tower is very peculiar with the top storey wider than the rest and so overhanging all round.  The south arcade is very plain Norman, capitals with no carving except on tower wall.  Intepular clerestory.  Some old glass.  Portrait of King Henry IV in south aisle (chapel).  Nice new screen.  Then we went over Beetham House to see if it would do for the Co-operative Boarding House and Land settlement proposed to be set up by friends in the north.  The house was too large and had too much lawn etc for a first beginning.  The outbuildings were good and the situation pleasing – overlooking the River Beetha and the village – but somewhat low.  Walled garden with worn out fruit trees, not large.  Then Phyllis and I went on by ourselves to Elmsfield, picking up a wounded seagull which Phyllis carried home and tended.  It died two days later.  Elmsfield struck me a being rather gloomy, very bare country and very lonely.  Farleton Knott stands up well from here.  That and the LNWR main line were the only attractions.  It rained very hard all the way back with much wind – very unpleasant so we walked back by the lanes, which twist and turn in all directions.  We got back to The Homestead at 3 pm and played at Number Patience – a new game to me – depending upon judgement and luck combined.  We came back by the 5.03 from Arnside.

[Arnside, Fairy Steps, Beetham written in red in margin.]

JAN 10 Friday – Very variable.  Very heavy shower just before one.  I went up Hampsfell, past the back of the church, up to the Hospice, but there was but a poor view.  Lake mountains quite invisible.  I came back by the Cartmel round, just getting in before the worst of the storm.  In the afternoon Denis gave an exhibition of the “Hound of the Baskervilles” to the Whitesides.  Father Langtree come in the evening.

JAN 11 Saturday – Cold wind, fine.  Went on the Promenade.  Phyllis was roller skating.  In the afternoon we went to JFB’s allotment and dug his artichokes.  Very poor crop.  Phyllis and Olwen picked them up and between us we brought down 2 bags to Clare House.  Tonight Denis Go Bang in the evening.

JAN 12 Sunday – Still dull but fine.  Went with Phyllis to Cartmel Church in the morning.  It is a most interesting building.  Cruciform.  Choir Norman but with a very large Perpendicular window.  North aisle vaulted.  Fine pointed Norman arch north aisle of choir.  Very curious diagonal tower.  The Vicar was preaching his farewell sermon.  I was quite pleased with him.  In the afternoon JFB and the 3 children went up Hampsfell.  The view was rather better, but still the Lake mountains were invisible.  We went up the Hospice and then over the beacon to the Cemetery.  Then down to the Kent’s Bank road.  Read Evelyn’s Diary in the evening.  Denis said that reading it would not improve his spelling!

[Cartmel and Hampsfell written in red in margin.]

JAN 13 Monday – Glorious day.  Sharp frost, bright sun.  JFB, Phyllis and I went by the 9.35 to Arnside and walked to The Homestead, meeting Gertrude Remington.  We talked over the scheme and then walked to Hawes Water – a large tarn – not far from Silverdale, a most lovely spot.  We found a fine farmhouse “Challan Hall” on a rise overlooking the lake and wished it were vacant.  Hills, woods and the lake, it was an ideal spot.  We came back across country.  A very wild district.  The level land is mostly moss.  The hills are mostly limestone very thinly covered or else projecting through the soil.  Birch woods with larch and yew cover much of the slopes.  Now and then there is an old damson orchard or hedge, but there is little cultivation – a few small patches of roots were all I saw.  We came back to The Homestead for dinner and afterwards walked to Arnside and met Denis and Olwen.  Then we had more Number Patience.  Denis is 13, looks like making a big fellow.

[Hawes Water and Challan Hall written in red in margin.]

JAN 14 Tuesday – Very wet and misty all day.  Denis came down to the station to see me off by the 9.35.  I changed at Carnforth and went by Midland to Leeds.  The Lune was a fine rushing foaming torrent.  I could see nothing of Ingleborough.  Arrived at Leeds at 12.40.  I went out into Boar Lane then took the NE train to York.  Arrived at about half past two.  Explored a bit and found a bed at Young’s Hotel, Petergate, close to the cathedral, which I then visited.  It was very dark which made the coloured glass look very dim.  I went round the choir.  The verger was very good and two small boys who kept asking questions added much to the interest, as the verger took to them and showed us many things he would not otherwise have done, “The Horn of Ulphas” and old chalices and rings.  The crypt is very interesting, the only Norman work remaining.  There is some herringbone work there.  The passage to the chapter house is very fine.  The Chapter House is decorated without the central column, but alas it is covered with a sham wooden vault like the main avenues of the cathedral, a great blot to my mind.  I stayed to Evensong at 4 in the choir.  Some very fine singing as might be expected.  After the organist gave a short recital.  Very fine effect with the cathedral nearly dark except for the lighted choir stalls.  Had tea and then explored the town and free library.

[Leeds, York, Cathedral written in red in margin.]

JAN 15 Wednesday – Fine, sunny but not very clear, until 3 pm.  Then heavy rain.  Fine at night.  Had breakfast at 8.30.  Paid my bill 6/6.  Then I walked round the walls from Monk Bar to the east, round the north of the city to Bootham Bar.  This gives some very fine views of the cathedral.  Then I went inside and found quite a different effect from the evening before as the sun was shining.  I ascended the Central Tower.  The stair starts in the SW corner of the Transept.  58 steps take you to the aisle roof, another 47 to the main Transept Parapet.  The path leads along the base of the Transept roof to the Central Tower, giving a good view of the nave flying buttresses, which show that the builders originally meant to vault the church with stone, but as these buttresses are missing on the north side, it seems as if it were given up.  No doubt the span was considered too great.  The same thing can be seen in the south Transept where stone springers for the vault occur considerably below the present ones.  271 steps take you to the top of the Tower.  On the top you can realize its huge size, over 60 feet square.  The view was not good, but it was well worth the ascent.  The pinnacles of the Western Tower appeared to be about 2 feet higher than the battlements of the Central Tower.  I came down and had a final look round.  The chief effect of the interior is spaciousness, the main avenues being so very much wider than any other Gothic Cathedral in England.  In consequence it does not appear nearly so high or long as it really is.  Westminster nave gives an impression of very much greater height yet it is only a few feet higher.  Ely appears higher yet it is considerably lower.  Ely interior also appears much longer though really about the same length.  But nowhere else have I felt such an effect of space, which is most striking.  The five sisters are very fine, so is the west window, also the open lantern, the Central Tower being open right up to the top.  Then I admired the west front and followed the line of walls past Micklegate to the castle.  Then I visited St Mary Castlegate which has an octagonal tower on a square base surmounted with a spire.  Most late Perpendicular but three plain normal columns on the north arcade.  Then to All Saints, Pavement, which has a remarkable skeleton tower, also octagonal.

I left York at 12.0 by NER to Leeds.  We had quite an exciting race with a LER train for several miles.  We could not quite catch up the engine.  I had over an hour at Leeds and walked to Kirkgate Market, but all the stalls were closed, as it is not a market day.  There are quite a lot of captured German guns here.  I left Leeds at 3 by Scotch Express through Cudworth to Sheffield where I had another wait before finding a train 4.40 for Birmingham.  This was late coming in but gained 5 minutes by Derby and got in punctually.  All the trains were very crowded and in the north appeared to be nearly all running in duplicate.  I arrived at Evesham at 9 pm.  AJT met me.  Fine for the walk back.

[York Walls, Ascent of Central Tower, Leeds written in red in margin.]

JAN 16 Thursday – Heavy showers in the morning.  Fine afternoon.  Visited A Hall and wrote letters in the morning.  In the afternoon went to the shed and office.  Nearly all the sage is now packed.  I looked into the accounts.  Very little work has been possible on the ground since I left.  Helped DSMD with some accounts of tonnage for the year in the evening.  It appears that this year we sent off about 750 tons of fruit and vegetables, excluding herbs.  Last year it was just over 1000 tons.  The loss is due to no Savoy contract this year.

[LBG Tonnage of consignments written in red in margin.]

JAN 17 Friday – Fine, mild, clear, occasional slight shower.  My men and four German prisoners are digging on Waldren’s ground.  Very sticky so we have got half a tone of lime.  In the afternoon I began writing my report for the Reconstruction Committee of the LBG Ltd.

JAN 18 Saturday – 28o minimum, fine and bright.  All hands at Waldren’s, digging.  Went to office, shed and kilns.  There are two tons of belladonna root ready to go off at the kilns.  I finished my report for the Reconstruction Committee.

1st meeting of Preliminary Peace Conference in Paris today.

Leibknecht shot.

JAN 19 Sunday – 23o minimum.  Cloudy later, some rain.  Church at 8 and 6.30.  Vicar announced all our prisoners were home.

JAN 20 Monday – Raining all day!  Walked to Evesham Police Court.  Motor cyclist without rear light fined 5/-, no licence carried 4/-, 3 men trespassing on Sunday rabbiting with ferret on fruit plantation 10/- each.  Application made for possession of cottage.  Occupier did not appear.  Granted.  To shed in the afternoon.  There are 26 bags of sifted sage, ready now.  Mitchell has been given 2 months working furlough and reported himself.  Mrs Hall’s at night.

Death of Prince John.

Sein Finner [sic Sinn Fein] propose to hold a Parliament in Dublin.

[Police Court written in red in margin.]

JAN 21 Tuesday – Wet at first then bright.  To shed and office then to Garnetts whence we sent off 41 sieves of sprouts to Glasgow.  In the afternoon I started with DSMcD to do the bank reconciliation account.

JAN 22 Wednesday – Cold, bright.  Germans out today – all hands sprout picking at Garnetts.  The large piece now cleared.  We sent off 41 pots to Liverpool.  Had a morning at the office.  Aeroplane nosediving over Evesham.  Six inch map of Evesham RDC arrived.

JAN 23 Thursday – 20o.  Grand day.  Frost gives a little in the middle of the day.  All men at Waldren’s digging.  To office.  I have satisfactorily finished all the checking of the bank accounts and found a mistake in Pass Book.  We have started checking the members’ ledger.  In the evening I met the Reconstruction Committee.

The Peace Conference has sent invitation to Russia. Strike of miners in Yorkshire.

JAN 24 Friday – 21o.  Another grand day.  All men digging at Waldren’s.  To office all day.  We have now checked and corrected the sales to members.  This evening I saw Venus for the first time since superior conjunction (Nov 1) at about 5.05 pm.

Strike ended.

[Symbol of Venus in margin.]

JAN 25 Saturday – 28o.  Dull turning to rain at 1 pm.  Men in the morning at Waldren’s.  I went to kilns and shed.

JAN 26 Sunday – Very wet at first, fine from 10.30 am onwards.  Church at 11.  Willie Moisey back.  HJC in the evening.

JAN 27 Monday – 29o.  Fine at first.  Roads all coated with ice.  Snow began at midday about ½” deep by 4.  Fine after.  Men at Waldren’s at first, then at shed packing sage stems.  I walked into Evesham.  At the Housing Committee we discussed several sites for different parishes.  Broadway Springs yield 86,400 per day.  Nothing special at the Highway meeting.  At the Board I stated the fact about Dorrell’s money, as the claimant had not turned up, we adjourned the matter.  At the Council meeting it was reported that the Committee to look at Cleeve site had recommended the purchase of 18 acres as £87 an acre.  I feel doubtful if the LGB will sanction such a large amount of land for 12 houses.  We also decided to hold an enquiry at Church Honeybourne as to the need of a Housing Scheme there.  A Food Control meeting followed.  It was reported that a milk producer had given notice to the retailer that all the milk would be put on rail in future.  We decided to make an order to prevent this, otherwise part of the district would be left without milk!

I came back by the 3.40 and visited the shed.  In the evening I went with JEK to the office.  It was a meeting of the Herb Committee and Reconstruction Committee.  I recommended all belladonna over one year old to be broken up, and said I thought that if both shed and kilns were at work until July 1 that after that day we could hand over the shed to the Canners.  Most beautiful night, starlight and frosty, quite like a Christmas card with the lights in the houses.

President Wilson proposes the establishment of a League of Nations.  Lloyd George supports this and the Peace Conference carry it.

[RDC, Milk written in red in margin.]

JAN 28 Tuesday – 23o.  Very dull, snowing frequently.  Men packing sage stems at shed.  I had a day at the office chiefly dealing with the nominal ledger.  Discussed question of war memorial with J Sladden in the evening.

Strikes at Belfast and on the Clyde.

JAN 29 Wednesday – 28o.  Foggy then bright but dull and showery later.  We sent off today all the rest of the sage leaf and the last lot of belladonna leaf.  Just over one ton of each.  All the sage stems are now packed.  A Mr Perkins from the Board of Agriculture paid us a visit to discuss any difficulties we may have.  We mentioned railway delays.  He said he knows of a place where there were 160 acres of motor cars and lorries out in the open.  He also pointed out that one of the chief reasons of the great success of co-operation on the continent was the fact that they had to combine for export, which was the great outlet of their trade.

JAN 30 Thursday – 28o.  Dull.  Freezing all day.  Roads very bad covered with ice and beaten snow.  Went to the kilns, then across the fields to the shed.  My men packed and stacked fruit cans.  In the afternoon I went to the office.  The Reconstruction Committee held another meeting and went carefully into the question of increasing outlets for produce and furthering the sale of manures.  WHC at night.

JAN 31 Friday – 27o.  Dull.  Very fine powdery snow falling on and off all day.  My men at shed making crates for the canned fruit.  Writing in the afternoon.

Diary Images
Type of Document
Six pages in a hard-covered notebook containing diary entries 1919-1925
Location of Document
In private ownership