Once more we have found something completely unexpected here at Quarry Bank. Last March we found a letter from Bing Crosby in a donated second-hand book and now archive volunteer John Tomlinson has found the signatures of Queen Victoria and Prime Minister Lord John Russell on a slip of paper.
Lord John Russell was Prime Minister twice during his political career. His first stint was from 1846-1852 and his second from 1865-1866. Whenever a Prime Minster met the Queen at their weekly meetings, each signed a slip of paper which confirmed they had seen and discussed the contents of the dispatch box – those famous red boxes that we see entering and exiting Downing Street today.
John found the slip of paper in a box pertaining to Cressbrook Mill, Derbyshire, which was managed (but not owned) by the Greg family. The Gregs were great collectors, and Ally informed us that one of their collections, which belonged to Henry Russell Greg, contained the signatures of famous historical figures, including George Washington; it seems Queen Victoria and Lord John Russell’s signatures had got a little lost, fortunately that’s exactly why we’re cataloguing the archive!
Next week we’ll be back in the archives and examining Robert Hyde Greg’s reputation as a ruthless businessman with an interesting document which has come to light…