Week 1 of #AnniesDiary100, 2-11 February 1924: London, Liverpool & the Transatlantic Voyage

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Link here to view Timeline of key dates from the American Peace Tour as recorded through ‘Annie’s Diary’.

Let’s start retracing the steps of Wales’ #WomensPeacePetition America Tour of 1924, looking baxk ‘#OTD’ from 2024!

Images

  • 1 & 4 – WLNU Press Clippings scrapbook in Welsh League of Nations Union (WLNU) Archives, National Library of Wales
  • 2 – Annies Diary, pages 4-7, National Library of Wales – from TI Ellis Papers (digitised on PCW)
  • 3 – Contemporary postcard of London Euston station, labelled LNWR, which in the 1923 ‘Railways Grouping’ transferred from to LMS operation. The London & North Western Railway and smaller companies were absorbed into the much bigger London & Midland & Scottish Railways, as post-WW1 government consolidated hundreds of local companies to create ‘The Big 4’ (LMS, LNER, GWR and Southern Railway).

Images

  • 1 – Annies Diary, pages 4-7 (digitised on PCW), National Library of Wales – TI Ellis Papers (digitised on PCW)
  • 2 – Annie Hughes Griffiths with friends at Aberystwyth railway station, 1911-12 – TI Ellis Papers (digitised on PCW)
  • 3 – Euston station, 1920s Aerial view
  • 4 – WLNU Press Clippings scrapbook in Welsh League of Nations Union (WLNU) Archives, National Library of Wales.

Images

  • 1 – White Star Line 1920s postcard, Temple of Peace Archives (digitised on PCW here);
  • 2 – ‘Great Oak Chest’ designed by JA Hallam to hold the 1923 Welsh Women’s Peace Petition – wood cut from 1924-5 Annual Report of the Welsh League of Nations Union – WLNU Archives, National Library of Wales (digitised on PCW).
  • 3 – Annies Diary, pages 4-7 (digitised on PCW), National Library of Wales – TI Ellis Papers (digitised on PCW)
  • 4 – from WLNU Press Clippings scrapbook in Welsh League of Nations Union (WLNU) Archives, National Library of Wales.

Images – from WLNU Press Clippings scrapbook in Welsh League of Nations Union (WLNU) Archives, National Library of Wales.

The Transatlantic Voyage

Images:

  • 1 – White Star Line 1920s postcard, Temple of Peace Archives (digitised on PCW here);
  • 2-3 – Annies Diary, pages 4-7 (digitised on PCW here), National Library of Wales – TI Ellis Papers
  • 4 – Cover of book by Mark Chirnside “The Big Four of the White Star Fleet” (2016, The History Press) – available from online retailers and authors website. Contains fascinating images and comprehensive history of ‘RMS Cedric’, the ship on which Annie and the women’s peace delegation travelled.

Images

  • 1 – 1920s Cigarette card of the RMS Cedric at sea crossing the Atlantic. Wikimedia Commons
  • 2-3 – Annies Diary, pages 4-7 (digitised on PCW here), National Library of Wales – TI Ellis Papers

Images – with deepest thanks to family of Elined Prys Kotschnig, who have given permission to Heddwch Nain helpers in America to transcribe and share her letters from the Womens Peace Petition Tour of America in 1924. Thanks also to Eirlys Barker and colleagues who have been transcribing Elined’s letters to bring her story to a wider audience in the US and Wales (upcoming articles will be published in ‘Ninnau’, the North American Welsh newspaper – subscribe here)

Images

  • 1 – Annies Diary, pages 4-7 (digitised on PCW here), National Library of Wales – TI Ellis Papers
  • 2 – Lyrics to ‘Y Fryniau Caersalem’ – visit
  • 3 – Sample of music to ‘Y Fryniau Caersalem’ – visit
  • 4 – 1920s Cigarette card of the RMS Cedric at sea crossing the Atlantic. Wikimedia Commons

Images

  • 1 – Portrait of Leila Megane – Wikimedia Commons
  • 2 – Lyrics to ‘Y Fryniau Caersalem’ – visit
  • 3 – Archive image of RMS Cedric at sea in 1920s
  • 4 – Archive photo from wedding of Leila Megane and Osborne Roberts in New York, March 1924 – National Library of Wales, TI Ellis Papers

Image credits as above. Tweet links to Leila Megane’s Welsh Biography; there is also an interesting History Points feature on Leila Megane and Osborne Roberts.

Eluned’s Letters aboard the RMS Cedric

Academi Heddwch and WCIA are grateful to Dr Eirlys Barker and colleagues through Heddwch Nain/ Mam-gu UD (USA), who have been graciously given access to Elined Prys’ letters by her family and are currently transcribing them. Eluned wrote to her mother from the Cedric and these letters add to what we know from Annie Hughes Griffiths’ diary. She started to write home to Aberystwyth on February 2, 1924, and this first letter is an account of getting on board and settling down in their cabins.

“I have a four-berth cabin to myself! It’s one that’s used for 1st class passengers when the boat is full too, but it’s pretty empty at this time of year. There’s a long corridor like this,

& little corridors running out, each with 3 cabins on either side. In the above I have the whole of no 3, Mrs. G. & Mrs. Melhuish Thomas have no. 4 & a Miss Carver, a trained nurse, who is a friend of Mrs. G.’s has no. 5, so we are quite a family party on that little corridor. We have a small table in the dining-room for the four of us, too; it’s quite jolly. The boat is very steady, & we all feel all right & have eaten a good dinner, so I hope it will continue this way.”

A fascinating detail from one of Eluned’s letters to Mam:“We are five hours behind you now, remember.  It’s been most confusing to lose 28 or 38 or 40 minutes every night & never know just how much your watch is fast in the morning.”

“Mrs. Griffiths is terribly impressed with our responsibility, & I read a good bit of the Life of Henry Richard, which I got from the library there, while at Bala, & I was very thrilled with it, & began to feel “in the succession” a little bit – and a great succession it is too. . .. I understand the mission & “we” are to be prayed for in the churches on Sunday. I’m so glad, because people have spoken so much of the “nice trip”, as though that were all we were going for.”

“Leila Megane is on this boat (1st class though) as this morning at the service she sang “O Fryniau Caersalem”, & we and two or three other Welsh people on board formed a sort of choir & sang the last verse with her. She is a member at Charing Cross it seems, so Mrs. Griffiths knows her very well. Last night she sang, (for the benefit of the 1st class only of course!) but we could hear from our cabins & it did so remind me of our gramophone records at one point!

As the voyage neared the American seaboard, Eluned “Thank goodness we’re nearly there! I’ve been in bed nearly the whole time, I am about tired of it.  All was well as far as Queenstown, but when we got into the Atlantic – oh dear me!” Both Elined and Annie were very sick, but luckily, the nurse, Beatrice Alice Carver, from Llandudno and Gladys Thomas were able to take care of them. Gladys came from a Liverpool Welsh family and married a London-Welsh cousin who was a ship builder – so perhaps she inherited sea legs from her family.

Letters courtesy of the Kotschnig family, many of whose previous papers are held at Walter Kotschnig’s Archives, University of Albany.

Next Postings: Arrival in New York Harbour, 11 Feb 1924