The Helen Kegie Collection is a historical record of the Child, Sargent, Barton and Quinton families


Josie McMullen – A 13-year-old American girl’s visit to Britain in 1926


Josephine Mary McMullen was the youngest child of Charles Bernard McMullen and Edith Sarah Child. She was born in Alaska on 8th May 1913.

Her father, Charles Bernard McMullen (known as Bernard), was a master mariner and had met Edith Child while living with his family in Tidenham, Chepstow. His father, Charles William McMullen, was also a master mariner, while Bernard later became a marine surveyor.

Bernard and Edith were married on 25th December, 1908 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and the family story describes how Bernard and Edith had arranged to meet out there and get married.

Josephine had two siblings – her sister Dora Edith McMullen born in 1910 and her brother Colin Bernard McMullen born in 1912. All three children were born in Alaska, but by the time Josie was writing her diary the family were living at San Pedro, California (near Los Angeles).

The diary covers the period between 24th May and 1st October 1926, when Josie - with her mother Edith, sister Dora and brother Colin - travelled to the U.K. They sailed on the S.S. Orduna from New York to Southampton, arriving on 8th June 1926 and returning to New York on the ship Orca on 1st October, 1926. This was the first visit to their grandparents since 1919.

The trip to the U.K. of some four months was clearly intended to have some educational value as the children visited a number of the sights of England as well as meeting many members of their family. During their time in England they visited Cheltenham, Devizes, Stonehenge, Salisbury, Bath, London, Weston Super Mare, Oxford and Chepstow.

At the time of writing the diary Josie was thirteen years old and this is her account of that visit during their four-month stay. As well as describing the famous places she visited in some detail, Josie also gives us a fascinating insight in to what family life was like for the Child family at the time. She was also clearly fascinated by the differences that she discovered between life in America and life in Britain in 1926 commenting on such aspects as transport, buildings, school and language. Some memorable observations from her ‘Customs of England’ include the following:

“Most of the people in England have maids”.

“The two most known slang words are Blow and Dash”.

“They do not have traffic cops in England and so the people so not get pinched”.

The diary itself exists in the Helen Kegie Collection as a bound photocopy of the original. The details are all legible, but not all of the pages scan clearly. There is some confusion over the sequencing of the dates, but the layout presented below is believed to be a faithful account of the record.

[Editorial comments are added in square brackets.]

The diary

My Trip to England, May 24, – Oct, 1 1926, Private Property, Please look the other way

The first page of the diary

Figure 1: The first page of the diary

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May 1926

Monday 24th May 1926

We got on train Monday May 24th 1926 at Terminal Island time 10 minutes after then we transferred in L.A. We were on the other train until Thursday night May 27 at Chicago we changed to another train Baltimore and Ohio train. We got on the train that evening & stayed on it until Friday May 28 evening 5 to 11 p.m. Standard time in New York, we stayed at a hotel that night in N.Y.

Saturday 29th May 1926

Next day Saturday got up and then we had some breakfast and then we took taxi and went down to the ship the S.S. Orduna. On the train we went over the Mississippi R. as we were going along on the train we followed the Lincoln Highway for many miles we also went across the Potamac R. We went through Washington D.C. & we saw top of the capitol building then we went through Philadelphia.

The Ship S.S. Orduna goes from New York to Southampton England, it is the Royal Mail line, when we got on the ship and were sailing we saw the statue of Liberty very close to us. The New York harbor is very interesting and we saw all of the big buildings, when we had been out of the harbour a few minutes……We saw the Brooklyn bridge going from New York to Brooklyn.

Saturday afternoon the firemen of the ship entertained us with songs and they were dressed in funny costumes there were eleven of them. Sunday church.

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June 1926

Tuesday 9th June 1926

On board ship Tuesday June 9th the firemen entertained us again. Tuesday afternoon we went through the needles we got into Southampton at 3.30. We met Auntie Rosalie and Uncle Stewart and went with them to tea, then we left them and went to the hotel for the night. The next morning Wednesday June 9th had breakfast and went to two churches one the Catholic and the other the Episcopalian and then we saw a wedding then we went to the Tudor house museum over 700 years old there was a garden in the back of the museum after that we went on a streetcar for a ride and then we went back to the hotel and had dinner.

In the afternoon we took the train at 4.40p.m. and met Uncle Stewart and Auntie Rosalie and Mary after we had been on the train for a little while. We got to Cheltenham at 8 o’clock Wednesday night very light because of Day Light Saving time. We met Grandpa and Grandma & Uncle Gower & went home & had dinner and went to bed. Next day June 10 Thursday Grandpa took us to his garden about three blocks away & he showed us his chickens & his little summer – house then he took Colin and me down to the bank to change our money. I had 2.19 changed into English money then we went around the shops learning the money. In the afternoon we went over to the garden and had afternoon tea in the cabin.

[Stewart Child (1884-1974) was Edith’s brother, married to Rosalie Barton]

[Mary Child (1918-74) was Stewart and Rosalie’s daughter and a cousin to Josie]

[Grandpa & Gandma were Joseph Colin Child (1856-1929) and Mary Ellen Sargent/Child (1854-1944)]

[Uncle Gower was Anthony Gower Child (1880–1934), brother to Edith]

Stewart and Rosalie with Mary and Anthony.  The boy died tragically in an accident in 1924

Figure 2: Stewart and Rosalie with Mary and Anthony. The boy died tragically in an accident in 1924

Friday 11th June 1926

Next day … in the morning Mother, Dora and Grandma went shopping to get Dora a new coat. Grandpa and Colin & I went for a lovely walk & we took our walking canes with us, and picked wild flowers.

In the afternoon Grandpa and Colin & Dora and I played odd & even with almonds it was raining outside I won the game & I won the 16 almonds then we all ate them. Grandpa taught us three tricks 1 using 2 forks 1 penny and a glass 2 a paper and a glass of water 3 a bowl of water and a glass & cardboard.

Saturday 12th June 1926

Auntie Hilda Barbara & Cecil came

Donald also Uncle Donald stayed all night.

[Hilda Taylor (1883-1969) was Edith’s sister and her children Cecil and Barbara were Josie’s cousins]

[Donald Child (1893–1961) was Edith’s brother]

Donald Child

Figure 3: Donald Child

Sunday 13th June 1926

Next day Sunday June 13 we went to church the Salem Baptist Church, in the afternoon Uncle Gower & Colin & Dora & I went for a walk over the top of Lake Hampton Hill. then we went to church in the evening.

Monday 14th June 1926

Grandpa & Colin & Dora & I went for a walk to the Pitville Park there is a lake where you could rent boats. In the afternoon Uncle Gower took we three children to the Montpellier Park & we played tennis and then we swang.

Tuesday 15th June 1926

Played around in the morning and in the afternoon …… ladies came.

Wednesday 16th June 1926

In the afternoon a gypsie lady came around trying to sell chains sugar etc also a gypsie man came around. In the afternoon Uncle Gower took we three children down to the park & we went over to some people’s house Mr & Mrs Cony we played tennis then we had tea we also had supper there, they lived on a farm they had a horse, cows, calves,pigs, sheep, chickens & ducks.

[Mr & Mrs Corry were family friends of the Childs]

Next day Sunday 20th June 1926

we went to church in the morning and we went to the Zion Baptist Church in the evening.

Monday 21st June 1926

In the evening we met Uncle Leonard & Auntie Freda & Uncle George.

[Leonard was Robert Leonard Child (1891-1971) brother to Edith]

[Freda was Winifred Alice Child (1888–1966), sister to Edith]

[George Tudor Child (1895–1971), brother to Edith]

The children with George and Freda during the visit

Figure 4: The children with George and Freda during the visit

Tuesday 22nd June 1926

Next day Tuesday 22 Uncle Leonard & Uncle George took we 3 children out boating at Pitville Park we had a lovely boat ride Wed morning 23 we went down to the station to see Uncle George off. In the afternoon Uncle Leonard Uncle George Auntie Freda & Mother went to Sinderford [Cinderford] to see Auntie Amy. I learned how to crochet.

[Auntie Amy was Amy Elizabeth Child/Barton, sister to Edith and mother of Helen Kegie]

George Child

Figure 5: George Child

Thursday 24th June 1926

morning we saw Uncle Leonard off. In the afternoon we went to the carnival I bought a lot of things and we had tea on the promenade.

Friday 25th June 1926

Friday morning I practised and in the afternoon we went down and played tennis Saturday 26 Mother & I & Grandpa & Uncle Gower went to Auntie Hilda’s in the car We went over Cecil & Barbara & Uncle Frank and in the afternoon we went up to the Chase. Grandma & Dora & Colin & Auntie Freda stayed at home. Sunday we went to church in the morning & in the afternoon Dora & I & Uncle Gower went for a walk & when we came home Uncle Stewart & Aunt Rosalie & Mary were here.

[Uncle Frank was Frank Taylor (1877–1951) who was married to Edith’s sister Hilda]

Gower with grandmother Mary Child in his car

Figure 6: Gower with grandmother Mary Child in his car

Monday 28th June 1926

we 3 children & Mother went with Uncle Gower to Oxford. We went to the Christ church college tower – it had a very large bell about 300 hundred years old in the top of the tower. I stood under the bell we had to go up about 100 circling stairs to get to the bell – the church is nearly 400 years old. I saw the great kitchen and the dining hall with its oak table and portraits of famous men who were once students. I visited the Christ Church Cathedral with beautiful stain glass by William Morris. Then we walked to Folly Bridge over Isis on Thames. We saw the college barges and the river where the races are …………… Crossed the …… and went by the broadwalk to the Botanic gardens and Magdalen Bridge over the Thames it is called the Isis. Then we visited Magdalen College Queens College then Radcliffe Camera where we climbed to the top and had a wonderful view over the bridge of Oxford. Then we visited Mansfield College and its Chapel where Uncle Leonard was a student, then we walked to the Old Oak Tea House for tea. After tea we visited the Martyrs Memorial which was erected in honor of three Englishmen named Latimer Cranmer and Ridley who were there burnt at the stake for their protestant opinions, then we visited St Johns College and saw its beautiful gardens and lawns and the statue of St Bernard over the front of the College then we walked back to the car and drove home.

Tuesday 29th June 1926

in the morning we three children and Uncle Gower went to Gloucester to see the cathedral it is 576 yrs old we saw the statue of Jenner who first invented vaccination died date 1823, we saw the Statue of Robert Duke of Normandy on top of his tomb, his statue was carved out of wood, he was fenced in so that people would not carve names or anything on him, the stained glass windows are very fine and the pillars are very old, and they are cut out of stone, we saw many statues of famous men and women lieing above these tombs centuries old.

Wednesday 30th June 1926

Yesterday June 30th we went to Auntie Amy’s Grandpa and Grandma and I. We went on the bus. It was Auntie Amy’s birthday. Mother and Dora and Colin and Auntie Freda went with Uncle Gower to Stratford to see Auntie Nell. We saw Auntie Amy and the children, Margaret is 3 months old tomorrow, she was in long clothes. Helen is 4 Uncle Alfred has his chemist shop attached on to the house they have bought a new home, we went to see it in the afternoon. We started for home at 6 o’ clock.

[Auntie Nell was possibly Nelly McMullen, sister of Josie’s father Bernard]

[Margaret was Margaret Elizabeth Barton (1926–2011), daughter of Amy and Alfred Barton and a cousin to Josie]

[Helen was Helen Ruth Barton (1922-date), daughter of Amy and Alfred Barton and a cousin to Josie]

[Uncle Alfred was Alfred Quinton Barton (1889-1956), husband of Amy]

High Street, Cinderford

Figure 7: High Street, Cinderford

Alfred’s chemists shop in Market Street, Cinderford, just before they moved in August to other premises nearby

Figure 8: Alfred’s chemists shop in Market Street, Cinderford, just before they moved in August to other premises nearby

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July 1926

Friday 1st July 1926 [Friday was actually the 2nd]

I got a hair cut and in the afternoon I crocheted a little while and I finished my napkin ring, then I went over to the garden and picked some berries for supper.

Saturday 2nd July 1926 [Saturday was actually 3rd]

Next day Saturday July 2nd Mother and we 3 children went with Uncle Gower to see Auntie Babs, Auntie Gertrude and Grandma, we had a lovely time, they were very short of water and they had to go across the street to get drinking water, the pump where they got their water was in a cave, it had a well underneath it, the cave was very old.

Auntie Babs had a dog the garden was lovely & they had a hammock, we played in the hay & I was covered up in it. We stayed all night and next day Saturday we drove home we reached home in time for dinner. Driving home we stopped at a very old church 15th century St. Mary’s Redcliff the church is in Bristol. Dora & Colin & Uncle Gower and mother went in to see the church but I stayed outside.

[Auntie Babs was possibly Muriel Grace McMullen, the youngest sister of Josie’s father.]

[Auntie Gertrude was possibly Gertrude McMullen (b.1888) the sister of Josie’s father.]

[Grandma was Ellen McMullen (nee Bishop), mother of Josie’s father.]

Sunday 3rd July 1926 [Sunday was actually 4th]

we went to church in the morning Uncle Gower was not very well it rained a little

Monday 4th July 1926 [Monday was actually 5th]

it rained all day and I did not go out all day.

Tuesday 6th July 1926

it rained all day, it was Colin’s birthday he was 15 & he went with Grandpa & Grandma & Uncle Gower to see Auntie Rosalie. Grandpa & Grandma stayed there for a little vacation.

Wednesday 7th July 1926

…afternoon we picked berries in the garden, in the afternoon. Then we drove over to see the Dixons we arrived home quite late. The Dixons [family friends] were out on the Ham. The Ham is a large piece of grass land it covers over 200 acres and is often flooded, it lies in the bend of the Severn R, & it is often flooded in winter, it belongs to the lord of the Manor who has a right to a main crop of hay, after which the wives of the burgesses are entitled to the crop up to Michaelmas.

We met Mr and Mrs Dixon & their boy and then we went back to the house and talked. Then we went home.

Thursday 8th July 1926

Colin and Dora went to see Auntie Amy. I went to town with Uncle Gower & then I left him and came home. Uncle Gower gave me 6 pence.

Amy with Helen and Margaret

Figure 9: Amy with Helen and Margaret

Friday 9th July 1926

in the morning Colin & Dora & I went over to the garden to pick some logan berries we picked 8lbs 11oz all together. In the afternoon Uncle Gower took Auntie Freda & Mother & I to Tewksbury to see the Dixons I bought a suitcase 8/11 we had a lovely time, they had 3 children 2 boys & 1 girl.

Saturday 10th July 1926

Auntie Mary & Auntie Dorothy & Dick & Auntie Mary’s baby & Uncle Graham came to see us we had a lovely time the baby is 9 months and Dick is 3 years.

[Graham Child (1879-1956) was Edith’s oldest brother, married to Dorothy and they had a son Dick]

Graham and Dorothy at Colwyn Bay a few years before the visit

Figure 10: Graham and Dorothy at Colwyn Bay a few years before the visit

Sunday 11th July 1926

we went to church & in the afternoon we talked & had a nice quiet time.

Monday 12th July 1926

Uncle Gower had to go on a business call to London he left early in the morning. Mother and we 3 children left a little later on the train for Banwell to stay with Grandma & Auntie Gertie & Auntie Babs for a week we took a little horse and trap up to their house. Then we had tea and sat out on the lawn & talked & read.

Tuesday 13th July 1926

we swang in the hamick played with the dog read and played tennis on the lawn.

Wednesday 14th July 1926

we 3 children & Auntie Babs & Mother went through a lovely forest & then we picked wild flowers we went to a tower we went to the top of it, it had 57 steps to go up 7 down we could see Banwell very well way up there & then we went to a cave in the Banwell woods it was a very warm day outside but in the cave it was very cold there were candles to light it up, the lady that showed us the cave said that all the bones which were piled up against the sides of the cave were of prehistoric animals there was one other dark hole into another cave but we did not go down there because it was very dangerous, we also saw some Druid stones in the forest.

Thursday 15th July 1926

Mother took we 3 children to Weston super Mare a very favourite seaside resort in England we took the bus it was about a 30 minute ride when we got to Weston we looked for a house which said Belle-Vue the lady said that Uncle Graham & Auntie Dorothy were down in the sands we found them & then we walked around & then we had dinner. After dinner we 3 children had a donkey ride & then we saw a punch & Judy show & then we walked around some more & then came home.

Friday 16th July 1926

in the afternoon we went over to play tennis at Mr Lances house. Mrs Stole is his housekeeper we had a lovely game of tennis they have a beautiful house & they have a beautiful rock garden and tennis court.

Saturday 17th July 1926

afternoon Auntie Babs took Dora and I down to the village to have an ice & then we went to the Banwell church Dora and I wrote our names & where we came from in the visitors book we were the only people from the U.S. the church is about 500 years old, it had a graveyard around it.

Sunday 18th July 1926

it rained quite hard so I did not go to church but mother and Colin did. In the afternoon it stopped raining & we 3 children went to meet Uncle Graham & Auntie Dorothy & Dick they stayed until 5 o’clock we had a lovely time with them we took pictures talked had tea & enjoyed Dick.

Monday July 19

we packed & then we went down to the train to leave for Divizes we reached Divizes nearly 4 p.m. Mary and I played shop that evening.

Tuesday 20th July 1926

in the morning Uncle Stewart took Mother & I out into the country I rode in the Dickey seat my first ride in a Dickey seat. Mother and I left Uncle Stewart and we walked up a hill we saw Sawsbury plane we picked wild flowers we also saw two observation balloons, then we met Uncle Stewart & went home.

In the afternoon Uncle Stewart took Colin and I and Dora out for a country ride we three children climbed a very high hill & then we saw a white horse 1780 made it was from head to tail 160ft.

The horse is visible from 30 miles away on a clear day. Made of white clay, it was very large when we got near to it Colin and I walked all around it, then we climbed some more hills and went through a lovely forest and came to the monument of King Edward VII, the monument was hollow inside. Cherhill is the name of the monument it was put up by the Lansdown family it is 120 ft high it is called the Lansdown Column it crowns the steep hill.

Wednesday 21st July 1926

we went to a old English Fair it said on the cloth across the street Ye Olde English Fayre the Fair was held at a old castle in Divizes we saw a play and had a sea saw ride and looked at ourself in funny mirrors and I had a Lucky Dip for beads and we saw a gymnastic display.

Thursday 22nd July 1926

we went to market it was very interesting and we played tennis in the evening at some people’s house up the road.

Friday 23rd July 1926

morning Uncle Stewart took mother and we three children for a walk we went up on a hill we saw a lake where 5 people were drowned on a Sunday we also saw a thatched roof house about 200 yrs old. In the afternoon we 3 children met Mary from school & when we came home a man and a lady were here then they left and Miss Clappen had tea with us we played tennis in the evening.

Saturday 24th July 1926

In the morning Mary and I made a tent outside and we also played tennis then it rained and so we made a tent inside in the evening we played snap because it rained.

Sunday 25th July 1926

Mother and we 3 children went to church with Mary it had a pump organ. In the afternoon I read to Mary.

Monday 26th July 1926

In the morning I wrote to Pearl, Daddy, Corinne, & Margaret. We 3 children played snap. In the evening Uncle Stewart took we 3 children for a walk it was raining we saw about 13 locks between the Kennete & Avon canal the locks open to make the same level up the hillside for the barges, a horse pulls the barges, it walks along the toe path pulling the barges with a rope.Divizes Wiltshire is the headquarters of the Wiltshire Regiment the headquarters of the County Police it also is an assized town, it contains a very imposing assize court this honor it shares with Salsbury. We saw the lock keeper’s house he had to go over a little bridge to get to his house, then we saw a old prison they were taking it down and making homes out of it.

‘Calling the Sessions’ in Devizes, around the time of the visit.  Stewart Child stands third from the left

Figure 11: ‘Calling the Sessions’ in Devizes, around the time of the visit. Stewart Child stands third from the left

Tuesday 27th July 1926

Uncle Stewart hired a car and took us all to Stone Henge it was wonderful, the stones were put their 2000 yrs before Christ.

The Friar’s Heel or sun stone is nearly 17ft high, exactly, over this stone on a midsummer day the sun rises and it is customary for people to go to Stone Henge to see it- the 21st of June they go. The stones are 25 to 30 ft high.

The stones were put there by the Druids. All of these stones at Stone Henge used to be the temple of the sun.

The people worshipped the temple because they knew it gave light and warmth.

There were 30 stones.

We went to the ruins of old Sarum it was built by the Saxons it was a castle but they do not know just when it was built. Some of the walls were about 10 ft wide the castle was made out of flint and mortar.

Then we went to Salisbury cathedral it has the highest spire in England. The Cathedral was started building in 1226 and finished in 1258. It is706 yrs old. The cathedral had some wonderful stained glassed windows. The spire is 404 ft high.

Wednesday 28th July 1926

in the afternoon Uncle Stewart took we 3 children in his car to Bath. Mother & Auntie Rosalie went on the train, once we were able to wave to Mother and Auntie Rosalie from the motor. We went to see the Roman baths. The Romans built these baths during their occupation in Britain completed in A.D. 54. A.D. means, After the birth of Christ. For 2000 years the Hot Springs of Bath have been restoring health and strength to the sick and suffering. The Roman Baths are about 2000 years old.

Half a million gallons of Health giving water flow every day from the Hot Springs of Bath. Not only are the Bath waters the only natural hot springs in Britain their temperature is 120 degrees. The guide took us in to a very hot spring.

We looked at some very old pottery which the Romans had made. We also saw some rings and bracelets which they had made and some stones which they had made into beads.

Never in their long history have the Bath Springs done more valuable work than during the days of the Great War when nearly a quarter of a million treatments were freely given to wounded and invalid sailors and soldiers of all ranks with the most wonderful results.

We saw some Roman tiles which the Romans had baked painted and made the tiles were very old they had patterns on them, we walked on stone slabs which the Romans had also made.

We saw statues of famous Romans, we saw Julia Caesar.

Then we went to the Bath Abbey it was about 427 yrs old, the present building begun in the reign of Henry VII A.D. 1499 took the place of a Norman Cathedral which stood on the site of a Saxon Abbey in which King Edgar was crowned in 973, 953 years ago.

We went over Pulteney bridge it had shops on it.

Thursday 29th July 1926

we went to market, I bought a book Little Meg’s Children for twopence and a book mark for 1 penny.

In the afternoon we 3 children took Mary to school and then we 3 children went to market then we went home and Auntie Rosalie took Mother and we 3 children to see a lady her name was Mrs Sainsbury her home was 200 yrs old we had to walk up some very old oak stairs we went up into the attic it had some gable windows and then we walked out on to the roof the house was one of the highest in that district, you could see Divizes very well, they also had a very beautiful back yard pretty lawn & flowers and trees. In the house on the ceiling upstairs was a series of moldings the depicting the accoutriments of war the second ceiling showed the dove with the olive branch in its mouth which meant peace, a feature of the rooms was the panelling some of the rooms were entirely panelled in oak from floor to ceiling.

Friday 30th July 1926

In the morning Dora and I went for a walk up to Round Way Down it was a lovely walk.

In the afternoon Dora and I went for a ride with Uncle into the country and then we met Mary it was her last day of school she gets 8 weeks holiday, I put on all of Mary’s school uniform and she put on mine.

Saturday 31st July 1926

Mary and I played house outside in the garden and we had our dinner too. In the afternoon we all went up to roundway down Mary and I tried to see who could find the most snails we also played ball and ran around Auntie Rosalie and Uncle Stewart had tea up there too. Mary fell and strained the muscles in her arm.

Sunday we went to the Congregational church in the morning and in the evening we went to a Parish church in Potterne, there were very pretty thatched roof houses around Potterne.

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August 1926

Monday 2nd August 1926

We reached Chepstow at 2.45 and we drove to Auntie Hilda’s we had our dinner outside in the back yard.

Wednesday 4th August 1926

Auntie Hilda took Mother and all the children to Beachley it is a little place where the river Wye joins the river Severn. We went in wading on the beach and we also had lunch.

Thursday 5th August 1926

I played with Barbara in the morning. In the afternoon Auntie Hilda took us all for a walk through lovely woods and picked a few sprigs of hazel nuts which were not ripe.

We walked on and soon came to the ruins of Tintern Abbey, the Abbey is 793 yrs old it was built in 1131 it is 1,131 yrs A.D. It was very beautiful. The monks used to live in it.

Tintern Abbey

Figure 12: Tintern Abbey

Friday 6th August 1926

The horse races were held a little way out of Chepstow and so there were quite a lot of people around the town. In the afternoon we all went shopping.

Saturday Auntie Hilda’s birthday we 3 children gave her some candy. I played with Barbara in the morning. In the afternoon went to town and did a little shopping. In the evening Grandpa and Grandma came, they came from Cheltenham on the bus they had tea and talked and then went down to the little house where they are going to have a vacation.

Sunday 8th August 1926

we all went to church at the Baptist Chapel it was very nice – it rained in the afternoon. In the evening mother and Auntie Hilda went down to see Grandpa and Grandma we children played a game naming all the different things we could with B & Y & O and other letters.

Monday 9th August 1926

In the afternoon Uncle Leonard and Auntie Freda came.

Leonard Child

Figure 13: Leonard Child

Tuesday 10th August 1926

in the morning Auntie Freda took me down to see Grandma and Grandpa I did a puzzle in puzzle peg and then Grandpa took me out into a field near by. In the afternoon we all went to the cemetery we saw the little grave where mothers little brother Marcus lay he died at 3 months of age.

Wednesday 11th August 1926

In the morning Dora and Colin cut my hair. We also went to the Three Samons Auntie Bessie Grandma’s younger sister went with us too. Uncle Leonard, Auntie Freda, Grandma,and Grandpa, Dora, Colin, Barbara, Mother, and I, Cecil, Auntie Bessie, Auntie Hilda, and Cecil’s friend Donald we ate our lunch and played ball it rained and we went into an old house until the bus came. We played Rounders in the evening.

[Auntie Bessie was Bessie Fryer Sargent (1857–1937), younger sister of Mary Ellen Child (Josie’s grandmother)]

The Taylor family with Cecil and Barbara, a few years before the visit

Figure 14: The Taylor family with Cecil and Barbara, a few years before the visit

Thursday 12th August 1926

Dora and Colin and Auntie Freda and Uncle Leonard went to Wyndcliffe. Mother bought Barbara and I a little doll. In the evening Mr and Mrs Cole, friends of Aunties and Uncles came for tea and Grandma and Grandpa and Auntie Freda and Uncle Leonard also came, After tea Mr Cole played some tricks and we played catch.

View of the river Wye from the Wyndcliffe – a photograph by Edmund Ballard, brother-in-law to Josie’s grandmother Mary Child.

Figure 15: View of the river Wye from the Wyndcliffe – a photograph by Edmund Ballard, brother-in-law to Josie’s grandmother Mary Child.

Friday 13th August 1926

Uncle Leonard left for Cambridge in the morning, it was raining very hard. In the afternoon I went for a walk to town with Auntie and Cecil and Barbara. In the evening we went for a walk when we came home Irene and Evelyn Mr & Mrs Cole’s daughters came they have a music store.

[Mr & Mrs Cole & their daughters Irene and Evelyn were family friends who ran a music shop in Chepstow]

Saturday 14th August 1926

In the afternoon we played Rounders and then Grandma and Grandpa came for tea.

Sunday 15th August 1926

we all went to the Baptist Chapel. In the evening we went to the Tidnam church the boys in the choir wore white cloaks.

Monday 16th August 1926

in the morning Barbara and I went for a long walk we went to the Bishton Railway Way Bridge we walked about 2 miles we were 45 minutes late for breakfast. In the afternoon we went to tea at Mr and Mrs Coles house we played golf and we looked at some of Irene’s things which she is going to use in her new home when she is married we also saw Evelyn who is 18. Mrs Coles brother and sister also were there and her sisters daughter. Grandpa and Grandma went. At the end of the party we sang Blessed be the Tithe that Binds.

Tuesday 17th August 1926

we all went to Beachley Auntie Hilda and Auntie Freda crocheted a little dress for my doll. Grandpa went for two ferry rides the two boys also went for one ride. Grandpa took Barbara and I for a little walk we played in the mud and paddled.

Beachley Bay

Figure 16: Beachley Bay

Wednesday 18th August 1926

In the afternoon we went for a walk I took Barbara in her little cart.

Thursday 19th August 1926

Auntie Freda left in the morning for Cheltenham. In the afternoon Auntie Amy, Uncle Alfred, and Helen, and Baby Margaret, came with Uncle Gower in the car. Grandma and Grandpa came for tea and we all had tea together. All the children had a picture taken and then Uncle Alfred took a picture of we 3 children together for Daddy. Uncle Frank came home a little later for tea.

Freda Child

Figure 17: Freda Child

Friday 20th August 1926

It rained in the morning. In the afternoon we went down to see Grandma.

Saturday 21st August 1926

In the morning Grandpa and Grandma left on the bus for Cheltenham it rained. In the afternoon Uncle Frank took us all to look over the race course

Sunday 22nd August 1926

We all went to church in the morning the pastor was a missionary he was a Belgian Congo missionary he told us all about what the people did in that country. In the evening we all went to the Chepstow church or the Church of England, the boys in the quire wore white cloaks.

Monday 23rd August 1926

In the afternoon Mother and Auntie Hilda took Cecil & Barbara & I to Wyncliff it was very pretty. Evelyn came for tea. Irene came a little later and she played the piano, Evelyn brought up a Ukalele from there music store and Dora played it.

Tuesday 24th August 1926

In the afternoon Dora and I went down to see Irene and Evelyn at the music store, Cecil came in to the store and we two girls said goodbye and went with Cecil to catch the bus, at the bus we met Auntie Rosalie and her cousin Miss Quinton and then we went back to Auntie Hildas, we rode there on the bus, we all had tea and then Auntie Rosalie and Miss Quinton took the Charabang & went home. Then we all took the bus and went up on the chase and picked hazel nuts, we picked 7 lbs, we had a lovely time, we walked home. I wore my old black tennis shoes and I wore them out & so I through them away. When we got home we all had a nice little supper in the kitchen.

[Miss Quinton - cousin of Gladys Rosalie Barton, perhaps Connie Quinton]

A contemporary view of a charabanc, with Helen Barton/Kegie in the back seat with her parents.

Figure 18: A contemporary view of a charabanc, with Helen Barton/Kegie in the back seat with her parents.

Wednesday 25th August 1926

We left Chepstow for Cheltenham, Dora went on the train, Mother, Colin and I went on the bus. We arrived rather late in the afternoon at Cheltenham. We went to see Aunt Rose Grandpa’s sister she lives in a apartment. We looked at some pictures. We played halma in the evening.

[Aunt Rose was Rosa Oldreive nee Child (1853-1945), sister of Josie’s grandfather Joseph Child]

Thursday 26th August 1926

Auntie Rose came to tea in the afternoon.

Rosa Child/Oldreive

Figure 19: Rosa Child/Oldreive

Friday 27th August 1926

I went for a little walk with Grandpa in the morning and I had my height measured in the garden I was 5 ft 2. We left Cheltenham for London on the 3.20 train. We went through Oxford and we saw Tom Tower from a distance. We arrived in London at 7.30 & Uncle Graham met us. We rode in a horse and carriage from West Croydon station to the house, Colin and Uncle walked.

The Child family in 1919 when the Americans had last visited.  The children sit at the right with Edith.  Behind Josie are Alfred Barton and Amy Child, who did not marry until the following year.

Figure 20: The Child family in 1919 when the Americans had last visited. The children sit at the right with Edith. Behind Josie are Alfred Barton and Amy Child, who did not marry until the following year.

Saturday 28th August 1926

In the morning we 3 children played with Dick and I helped Colin mark the tennis court.
In the afternoon we went to see the air planes, quite a lot of people went up in them, we played tennis in the evening.

Sunday 29th August 1926

Mother and we 3 children went to the West Croydon Baptist Church. In the afternoon 2 ladies came to tea, they came from Africa.

Monday 30th August 1926

Mother & we 3 children went to the London Zoo we saw all kinds of animals. On the way to the Zoo we went over the Westminster bridge on the bus over the Thames R. We also saw the Houses of Parliament & Big Ben. In White Hall we saw the horse guards they looked very pretty sitting on their horses, they keep so still that they do not look like they are alive.

Tuesday 31st August 1926

In the morning Mother took we 3 children to Westminster Abbey we had a guide to take us around it was lovely, outside the Abbey I bought a book for 1s of London with 101 views in it. We walked around the houses of Parliament but we were not able to go in because the Parliament was sitting. We walked over Westminster Bridge

Colin took a picture of the houses of Parliment and of Big Ben as it was striking 11o’clock. We ate our lunch in St James Park. We then took the taxi and went through up White Hall saw the guards and then we went through Admiralte Arch, we also saw Buckinham Palace where the King and Queen lives. Queen Victoria’s monument was before the Buckinham Palace, & we also saw it. We also saw St James Palace where the Prince of Wales lives. Then we went to the British Museum, it was very interesting.

We took the bus then & came home, on the way home we saw Crystal Palace it is all made of glass, in the war they put German soldiers in it to save it. Uncle Gower sent me a letter & gave me 3/4 & Auntie Dorothy gave me 10/-

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September 1926

Wednesday 1st September 1926

In the morning Mother & we 3 children went on the train we went on an underground train we went to the Natural History Museum at S. Kensington, I was very interested in the stuffed animals we saw quite a few elephants, one elephant was 11ft high, we also saw some skeletons of prehistoric animals, we ate our lunch in the park adjoining the museum. After dinner we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum, We saw a pleasure boat that used to belong to an English King, it had a crown on the top of it, we also looked at some little doll houses and at some very old furniture.

Then we walked to Victoria station took the underground train & came home.

Thursday 2nd September 1926

[Diary continues later]

Birthdays of my Cousins
Margaret Elizabeth Barton April 3, 1926
Helen Ruth Barton June 13, 1922
Barbara Mary Taylor April 20, 1919
Cecil Ernest Taylor May 15, 1913
James Richard Child June 6, 1923
Penelope Mary Child Oct 7, 1925
Rosalie Mary Child Feb 9, 1918
Richard Barton  

[Richard Barton was not born until 1929, so the list must have been altered at a later date]

Customs in England

and carriages

The children learn French and other studies when they are first going to school.

The children get a month vacation at Easter and at Christmas.

The trains in England are different than the American trains, the seats are placed like this

In England the people do not have screens on their doors or windows.

Most of the people in England have maids.

In England in the winter it gets dark at 4.30.

In England in the summer it does not get dark till 8.30 regulation time at night.

In England when their is a fire on a thatched roof house they use long hooks to tear the thatch off.

The children play with marbles and tops in the month of October.

The two most known slang words in England are Blow and Dash.

In the houses in England every room almost has a fireplace the bedrooms & all. In the English bedrooms you generally see washstands.

Customs in England

Figure 21: Customs in England

Tuesday 12th August 1926 - Continue of In England

Tuesday morning Aug 12 before breakfast Barbara and I walked along to the house where Daddy lived when he was a boy and then we walked along to the house Sunny side where Mother lived for a little while when she was a girl, we saw two hunter horses and very many white dogs with their tails wagging it was a very pretty picture
The town gate in Chepstow is very quaint and we walked under it quite a lot of times. In London Auntie and Uncle had a tennis court on the back lawn & we played tennis quite a lot. Dick is 3 yrs old and is very sweet. We saw the Marble Arch in London.

Continue of Customs in England

Bycycles & motor cars drive on the left side of the street. The steering wheels of the cars in England are on the right side.

The men wear wooden heels.

The weather is very uncertain it can be sunshining one minute & looking like rain the next minute.

They do not have the 4th of July in England but they have Bonfire night the 5th of November.

Some of the schools have these uniforms of the same dresses for girls or same hats & coats with bands representing the school and the boys have caps and coats alike.

The boys in England wear short pants and socks until they are quite old.

The girls of 14 & over are little maids for people & take out their children for them.

The end of July and August is haymaking time in England.

14lbs = 1 stone they weigh in stones in England.

The children in England can not have driving licenses until they are 18.

You see a lot of baby buggies in England because the mothers take the babies out in buggies and not cars, also they go for long country walks.

Many thatched roof houses in England.

Almost all of the houses in England are of 2 stories the houses in England are all made of bricks or stones or cement rock & oak beams filled in with plaster. On Sausbury plane the houses are made of rammed earth and thatched.

England is a very beautiful country & with so much rain it is green all of the year round.

They do not have traffic cops in England and so the people do not get pinched.

Wheat Barley Oats mostly grown in England.

The eldery women in England quite a few of them ride big trysicles.

They have August Bank holiday in England in August all of the banks and stores close.

All of the Private schools in England have, Scripture or Bible reading.

There are many horse and carriages in England.

The children learn to write in England with their paper straight up and down.

In England when there is a funeral they always use horses.

Continue of In England

branch of the river Avon where in the old days they used to Baptise we looked at the Chapel graveyard,& river for a little while then we went to look at the Tewksbury Abbey the Abbey is 803 yrs old it was very wonderful it had a graveyard around it.

Then we had tea & went home. I played with Mrs Dixons children two boys & a girl the little girl is six years old.

We saw a gun outside the town hall which was captured from the Russians about 110 yrs ago.

We also saw another gun outside the police Barracks which was used in the world wars.

I read a book at Grandma McMullens.

We played tennis very much in Divizes.

The day Uncle Stewart took us to Stone Henge Mary and I had our picture taken outside of a little prison on the way.

In Divizes we saw many pretty thatched roof houses and also we saw some thatched roof walls.

In Chepstow we had our meals outside quite a lot.

In Divizes I recived a silver 6 pence washed in gold from Grandma McMullen.

In Chepstow on Monday August 9 we went to see Chepstow Castle it is 791 yrs old.

In Chepstow Uncle Graham sent us the guide Book of London, he lent it to us. In Chepstow we walked over the Chepstow bridge on the R. Wye many times, we also saw the Watch Pocket which is a hole in the rocks.

  • garage – garage
  • barn – barn
  • buffet – buffet
  • Aunt – Aunt
  • Belsize – zedee
  • center – centre
  • path - path
  • Front Room – Drawing Room
  • neither – neither
  • peanuts – monkey nuts
  • either – either
  • biscuits – scones
  • socker ball – foot ball
  • dress – frock
  • sorry – instead of pardon me
  • Depot – Depot
  • hair bobbed – shingled
  • tomatoes – tomatoes
  • jolly good
  • Right you are
  • Right – oh
  • oh rather
  • lever - lever
  • aluminum – aluminium
  • candy – sweets
  • Davenport – Chesterfield
  • Oh I say
  • cookies – cakes
  • braid of hair- plat
Chepstow Bridge and Castle.  A photograph by Edmund Ballard, brother-in-law to Mary Child, Josie’s grandmother.

Figure 22: Chepstow Bridge and Castle. A photograph by Edmund Ballard, brother-in-law to Mary Child, Josie’s grandmother.

Different words in England

  • Tram – street car
  • Pram – baby buggy
  • Slide – barette
  • Lift – elevator
  • Draughts – checkers
  • Automobiles – motors
  • Engine hood of car – bonnet
  • Fenders – mudguards
  • Soda crackers – biscuits
  • Full stop – period
  • Zed – Belsize
  • Gasoline – petrol
  • Winshield – screen
  • Cooler – larder
  • Hike – tramp
  • Bangs – fringe
  • Cute – intelligent or bright
  • Apron- pinafore

Customs in England

The children go to school in the hours of 9.00 to 12 in the morning, & then they have two hours out of school & then they go back at 1o’ clock and stay at school until 4.30.

Quite a few of the children go to private schools each school has its different uniform which the children wear.

Some of the children go to boarding schools. The games which the children play at school are cricket, hockey, tennis.

The children can leave school at the ages of 14.

The children go to school for a little while on Saturday.

The different English cars are

  1. Austin
  2. B.L.A.
  3. Bear
  4. Rover
  5. Daimler
  6. Standard
  7. Morris Cowley
  8. Bayliss
  9. Clyno
  10. Jowett
  11. Royals Royce
  12. The Hillman
  13. Coventry
  14. The Triumph
  15. Singer
  16. All Days
  17. A.J. Stevens
  18. Sunbeam
  19. Morgan
  20. Ariel
  21. A.B.C.
  22. Belsize
  23. Omega
  24. Renault (French)
  25. Swift
  26. Celeril

The children go to Sunday School in the afternoon. Church in the morning & the evening.

The ladies & children & men ride bycycles very much. You see very many horses and wagons in England. The children play with hoops in the month of March.

They do not have corn in England.

You see very many baby buggies in England because the mothers take the babies for long walks & they do not go in cars.

English Money

English Money
farthing half of halfpenny
halfpenny half of penny
penny 1 penny or 1d
6 pence or 6d 12 pence
1/s shilling  
2/- shilling piece = florin 24d
half crown 2/6 30d
= 5 dollars
£ = 240d 20/- = £1
half sovereign 10 shillings
threepenny bit = 3d (silver coin)
threepence 3d
twopence 2d
1 crown 5/
Guinea 1£ 1s or 21 shillings

4d bit about size of 3d bit but is milled round edge and slightly larger

In England

I heard Big Ben one evening over the radio a very famous clock in London, in Cheltenham I heard it.

We went through the church over at the Corry’s a thousand years old they had a pump organ. The ladies had to wear hats in church. Near Gloucester.

When we were going to Grandma McMullen’s we saw the suspension bridge it aspends at the gorge of the Avon which is 220ft deep it is a wonderful constructed bridge and Heavy motors can go over it.

June & we went to see the Dixons in the afternoon. Mrs Dixon took Uncle Gower Mother & Auntie Freda & I to see a Baptist Chapel one of the oldest in the world 271yrs old behind it was a graveyard one of the graveyard stones was 220 years old 1706 the person had died. I locked & unlocked the graveyard & I locked the Baptist Chapel, behind the graveyard was a

On the train

Very nice people in our car.

Behind our car Mrs and Miss Warren had their quarters we talked with them quite a lot they got off at Iowa, Thursday morning.

A lady on the train had 3 children twins at 1 year, a boy & a girl her little boy was 3 years of age. The lady had lost her husband & was going back to her mother & father, we girls helped her out quite a lot.

We had to stop at the meal times because we did not have a diner.

We saw the monument of John Brown in the park at Harpers Ferry W.V. this is the site of the Y.L. Arsenal captured by John Brown Oct 16th 1859 U.S.A.

Going to England

On the Ship

I was just a little bit seasick but not enough to go to bed.

Many women smoked on the ship.

The games we played were checkers, shuffle board & dominoes.

We met many nice friends.

Tuesday morning arrived in Cherburg France.

We met a boy and his father and brother the boy’s name was Sidney he was 20, we had many good times with him playing games etc his last name was Smith.

The McMullen family a few years after the visit in 1926.  Josie sits at the left.

Figure 23: The McMullen family a few years after the visit in 1926. Josie sits at the left.

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