Hastings Museum and Art Gallery

After an unpromising start to summer, the British obsession with the weather is coming into its own with a beautiful couple of weeks passing.  Despite this, the sunshine was shunned yesterday for a productive afternoon at the Hastings Museum and Art Gallery.  Time was spent instead pouring over volumes of press cuttings and box files of letters, so carefully held, despite the incomplete and out of sequence clippings.  The history of these are almost as interesting as what they hold, acquired by the Museum in 1985 they have lived a mysterious life of their own throughout much of the twentieth century.

Rich finds included photographs of the farm at Indian Head, Canada, and a paper by Lou Taylor placing Annie’s daughter Constance very much at the forefront of the naming of the ‘Sunbeam’ yacht.  Both of these I shall return to another time, but of particular interest are the newspaper clippings pertaining to the sad loss of Lady Annie Brassey during the Last Voyage.

Letter of condolence to Lord Brassey:

“…To her noble generosity and kindly, ready influence and sympathy for religion, philanthropy, and social life we owe a vast debt of gratitude.  May you all receive strength and consolation from the Infinite Treasury of Divine Love.”

“Visitors from places so remote as Honolulu and New Guinea signed this document.  The sheets when collected were handsomely bound in mauve morocco and gold…recently presented to Lord Brassey”

[Lord Brassey wrote as follows] “I am deeply touched by the expression of sympathy which you have so kindly sent me in the form of an address illuminated with much taste.  I thank from my heart the sixteen hundred friends and sympathisers who have signed the address.”                                                (printed in Hastings News June 8th 1888)


In The Sussex Daily News dated May 7th 1888, it details a letter received from Lord Brassey sent to the Hastings Town Council:

“I desire to express to the corporation of the Borough of Hastings my heartfelt thanks for the assurance of sympathy I received from them on the painful occasion of the death of my dear wife.  she loved Hastings and it was a great aim of her life to do what she could to promote the welfare and happiness of its inhabitants.”

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