A FABULOUS FIND! Always seems to happen when I stay up super late (two or three a.m.)… As usual, in looking for something completely different I found this VERY USEFUL Smith & Gosling tidbit.
Housed among the superb WALLACE COLLECTION (Manchester Square, London) is a Visitors’ Book for Meyrick’s Armory. When Charles noted the visit in his diary, I have to admit: I was baffled when transcribing it.
BUT: Charles SIGNED Meyrick’s book!! Alas, the online version is only a transcription (though page one, with visitors King George IV and Sir William Knighton exists in a small image).
- search for MEYRICK and see some of the fantastic armour he had on display in the 1820
- read Malcolm Mercer’s article Samuel Meyrick and the Historic Collections at the Tower of London (academia.org)
- Meyrick in THE LONDON MAGAZINE, 1829
- Meyrick’s (lengthy) obituary in GENTLEMAN’S MAGAZINE, 1848
- Goodrich Court and Rosalind Lowe’s book
The first inkling _I_ had was when transcribing this sentence by Charles in March 1829:
The text reads:
Went to see Dr Meyricks very curious
collection of armour dating back
to the earliest periods no plate
armour before Edward IV all
the armour previous was
As you can see, his entry was curious, mainly because of his difficult handwriting — until I knew something about Meyrick.
The armoury collection was located then at 20 Upper Cadogan Place, London. Sir Richard Wallace acquired Meyrick’s collection in 1871. Charles seems to have visited all by himself. The visitors’ book tells a different story, with three successive signatures:
Sir Charles Smith Suttons Essex
Mr Spencer Smith Portland Place.
Mr Bennett Gosling 6 Stone Buildings Lincolns Inn
So, Charles arrived with his brother Spencer and their friend / next-door neighbor / Charles’ brother-in-law, Benntt Gosling.
The other surprise came with the listing of Benntt’s residence: I knew he had qualified for the bar before ultimately joining the family banking firm Goslings & Sharpe; but never realized he lived for a time at 6 Stone Buildings!
As the introduction to the visitors’ book indicates, Dr Meyrick dissuaded people from signing more than once – so when Charles returned on the 25th he is not listed, but his companions are:
Went to Dr Meyricks with L. Christie Mother Augusta H Wilder
and there they are in Meyrick’s book; though the typescript has suffered a misread: Henry has changed sex and become his own wife! (they weren’t married even yet) Here’s the typescript (with corrections in brackets):
Mrs Smith & Daughter [Mamma and Augusta]
Mrs. [sic] Henry Wilder Purley Hall Reading [H Wilder]
Miss Gosling [Elizabeth Gosling, future Mrs Christie]
Langham Christie Preston Deanery Northampton [L. Christie]
Mary’s diary for these dates are BLANK on the 6th of March; and only mentions “Baby free from sickness” on the 25th. GROAN! There DOES EXIST a “mystery” (LADY) MARY SMITH on page 39 (as opposed to Charles’ entry on page 55). Could This Be HER?? Without seeing the signature, I just can’t know for sure.