“He has had very much less flatulence…”

The cataloguing of the archive has been delivering some really wonderful and often beautiful finds, such as the wedding photograph of Robert Alexander Greg that I shared with you a few weeks ago.

Pat (middle) and Christine (right) made the find
Pat (middle) and Christine (right) found the letter in question

Today, however, two of our Archive Volunteers, Pat and Christine, have found possibly the most humorous letter thus far. Pat and Christine have been volunteering and working together in the archive for around 6 six years now, and usually focus on maps. As part of the cataloguing their talents have been redirected towards the collection of Greg family letters, and dug out this gem of a letter from Mary Philips, wife of Robert Hyde Greg, to their son, Robert Philips Greg.

Mary Philips
Mary Philips

It seems that his father had recently been unwell, for Mary informs her son that:

His eyes look more natural and larger than when he left home and much less like lines…he has had very much less flatulence indeed…but he says his head feels muddy and stupid for several hours of  every day…”

The left-hand side of the undated letter describes Robert's illness
The left-hand side of the undated letter describes Robert’s illness

I don’t know who I should feel more sorry for; Robert for being so poorly,  Mary for having to deal with the great deal of flatulence emitted from her husband, or their son who had to read all about it! I think it’s Mary’s underlining of “very much” that makes the letter so funny – you can sense her relief over a hundred years later!.*


Robert Hyde Greg in later life
Robert Hyde Greg in later life

Pat and Christine said that they had really been enjoying looking through the collection of  letters which are apparently full of scandalous details about marriages, love rats and love triangles.  I’m definitely going back next week to find out all the gossip!

Robert Philips Greg in later life
Robert Philips Greg in later life

Remember, even though the archive is closed whilst being catalogued, you can still get involved by helping us identify people in our set of archive photos on our Flickr account. Have a look through them and if you see anyone you recognise either comment on the photo or email quarrybankproject@nationaltrust.org.uk with the details. http://www.flickr.com/photos/quarrybankmill/sets/72157635034050455/


*(I hope you’ll forgive us all for having such a childish sense of humour…)


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