As I mentioned in my last blog- I was rereading a few recollections I gathered ten years ago, re members of my mothers family. Probably no interest to most- but during summer 1906 my great grandparents Rev James Redfearn, a Methodist minister, & his wife Alice Maud spent a month in Paris, helping out at the English chapel.(I would love to be a fly on the wall & see the sights they saw.)
Whilst away Rev James’s mother Sarah looked after his 2 little boys Ernest(my grandpa) & George in Knutsford. Below is a letter sent from Rev James on the 4th June 1906 at no 4 Rue Roguepine Paris.
My dear Georgie,
Mother & I send you & Grandma our love. We are enjoying our stay in Paris very much. But it is such a busy place & there are such crowds of cabs, carriages, motor-cars & bicycles that one has to be very quick & very careful in crossing the streets. Often we have to wait several minutes before it is possible to cross & then run hard. The horses all run, you don’t see them walking. Every one drives fast, & those who walk have to get out if the way as best they can. The drivers take very little notice of the people on foot, they just drive on, right at you & so you have to look out yourself & be sharp if you don’t want to be run over.
You would have been interested in a flock of black goats we saw today in the city. They were being driven slowly along the wide footpath, and did not seem to mind the noise at all. They were tame.
We have nearly a hundred steps to mount up to get to our rooms, which are over the Chapel. There are seats in two places on the stairs so you can sit down to rest. It seems such a long way up to the top.
You can keep the stamps from this envelope & Ernest can have the next stamps that come. Someday you can stick them in a stamp album. Be good to Grandma. I am sure she will look after you.
Another letter sent on 21st June 1906
‘My dear George & Ernest,
We shall be back on Tuesday night; but it will be long after your bedtime. Mother & I are glad you are endeavoring to do credit to us & to Grandma & to everyone & I hope you will continue to do well at school. What fine times you have in the part, to be sure. The boys in their black pinafores & socks have a good time in the public parks, & we see them playing at ball. But they cannot play at cricket & football very well, as English boys do.
For one thing it is very hot, for another they have much longer hours at school than you have; & besides there are always so many people about that it works not to be slashing hard cricket balls, or even rather soft ones, all over the place for somebody would hit a regular smack & then they would talk at the rate of 350 words a minute, & flourish their arms about& then perhaps the policeman would come along & talk at 350 words a minute & flourish his arms & then a crowd might gather round & 350 persons be vociferating at 350 words per minute & gesticulating excitedly with their arms & faces & whole bodies – & all over somebody getting a smack with a ball. That is how they do in France. We are not nearly so excitable; but they are generally more polite.
We are thinking of going to see the Palace at Fontainebleau but shall mind not to stray from the beaten paths in the forest there, because there are such numbers of adders that it is very easy to get bitten & an adder bite is a serious affair.
Uncle George & Aunt Mary had a very enjoyable holiday with us & will have something to think about for a long time. Now I must take mother out; but will try to write again about the end of the week. With our love to both of you, & to your good, dear Grandma, who is so kind to you, your affectionate,
Letter to Mother – Sarah Ann Redfearn 21st June ’06.
My dear Mother,
We shall return on Tuesday & hope to be able to catch the 9:27 train from Manchester to Knutsford.The weather her is very hot. The sun blazes away all day long; but the evenings are beautifully cool & then all Paris seems to be out of doors.
Yesterday morning we went into an immense shop where they keep everything; but things were so dear that we did not purchase a single one.
We had a fine excursion to Versailles on Tuesday. The palace of the Kings there is very extensive & grand; but the gardens, fountains, woods, lakes, canal, summer residences are quite as beautiful. The front of the palace is a quarter of a mile long. The fountains play on the first & third Sundays of the month. It costs from threes to four hundred pounds each time. The largest fountain only plays about 20 minutes & sends the water 74 feet high.
Uncle George has sent us a paper & it is very interesting to us .It is the only English paper we have had, except a ‘Daily Mail’ & that costs 1 ½ d in Paris & only 1/2 d in England.
I have written a letter to the Circuit Magazine for next month…………..
Now we must go out. But oh! It is burning hot & we must keep on the shady side of the streets & under the trees.
Your affect. Son,
So I thought I would share the letters with a wider audience- maybe you too have enjoyed seeing a snapshot from the past.