Megan Stevens: Drake Letters 1. Drake to Louisa 7 April 1854 ◄ ● ► 3. Drake to Louisa 29 May 1854
The Drake Letters
Charlotte Augusta Drake (London) - Louisa Drake (en route to London), 29 - 31 May 1854
27 Park Village East1
May 29th 1854 – 2

My dear Louisa
        Henry3 was ordered away very suddenly and left England last Saturday week the 20th4 in the “Orinoco” Steamer with the 97th Regiment (for Greece we believe, but) they sailed under Sealed ordered orders to be opened off Gibraltar, from whence he will write to us – this news dear Louisa will be a very great disappointment to you, and the thoughts of your disappointment has added greatly to our own, for we made ourselves quite sure of his remaining some time in England after he was put down in the Army List “London” – however it is useless to repine for those things which cannot be helped and after all our dear Henry went out under more favorable circumstances than if he had been sent to the Baltic which he expected and a much pleasanter Service and climate, Mr. Weir5 who is a friend of ours of many years standing & knew Henry intimately in Barbados6 will be his Chief & joins the expedition at Malta, the Regiment selected for this Service is also one he knows & esteems – the 97th.7  his short stay in London has certainly improved his standing at the Treasury, giving Sir Charles8 an opportunity of becoming personally aware of his abilities – We received a few lines from Henry after he got on board, he had a Cabin to himself, which was a great comfort in a crowded ship – Your letter with the bill for £160 came safe – Henry took an unfurnished9 from Midsummer, he had calculated that you would not arrive before the 20th June, in which case I was to have furnished it ready for you, but he left me to do whatever I thought best & I have decided that it will be best for you to have a lodging first, it is so very wet today or I should go about it at once; before I send this off I must endeavour to do so, that you may know where to send your luggage which you must mark by “Goods Train” otherwise you will have to pay immensely for the carriage –
Wednesday 31st. I have taken the same lodging10 for you that Henry had, or rather where he had a bedroom – it is very small but clean & respectable; very near us, and close by your new house a small drawing room in front the back drawing room is a bed room & another bed room over the front drawing room, £1”4”– a week, I have taken it from Monday June 5th but it is quite ready for you if you arrive before and if the Captain will undertake to see your baggage off you had better come to Town at once, as Hotels are so very expensive, of course you will bring as much as you require for the first few days with you – your direction will be, 28 Park Street, Camden Town  mark your baggage by Goods Train very distinctly – As you are not much accustomed to English travelling I am going to give you a great deal of advice which of course you know I mean you to take follow or not as you think best – for example to travel in the second class by the railway the difference being about one third or nearly so, less, than by the first, which I imagine will make about £2 on the journey.   you will ask for three tickets and a half, Laura being under twelve will only pay half price. As you will have to leave your keys with the Captain, you had better ask him to make a little parcel of them & send them to you by railway, but not mark it by Goods train – I ought to have said that the “Express” trains too, are dearer than the others – I suppose you will drive to your lodgings first, if so send off one of the girls for me directly – I am all anxiety for your arrival, now the twenty days have elapsed
I have not been at all well lately, neither has Alice11 & it is quite necessary for us both to have change of air & it is settled that I am to go with all the small fry to the Sea Side the third week in June, which makes me quite in a fidget for your arrival as I could not go away without first seeing a little of you & the girls.12
We shall do our best dear Louisa to welcome you, I hope you really will consider your husband’s family as your own, for we always think of you & love you as one of our own, & I sincerely trust a very few days will bring you safe & well to us. Papa13 & Mama14 desire their very kindest love to you all. Tomorrow will be Laura’s15 birthday, we shall not forget it. My very affectionate love to you all. Ever yours

C. A. Drake16

Charlotte Augusta Drake

Henry’s sister, Charlotte Augusta Drake (1818-1905).
(Photo: Danie Ackermann, from the original owned by George and Nova Coetzee.)

28 Park Village East

28 Park Village East, Regent’s Park.
(Photo: Alun Stevens, 2005).

27 Park Village East

It seems 27 Park Village East was demolished to make room for the railway and Euston Station.
(Photo: Alun Stevens, 2005).

1. Park Village East, London (NW1), is located near Regent’s Park, between Prince Albert Rd. and Stanhope St.
2. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
3. Louisa’s husband, William Henry Drake.
4. THE CIVIL SERVICE. – Deputy-Commissary-General Weir has been appointed to take charge of the expedition to the Archipelago, and will hand over his present charge at Gibraltar to Assistant-Commissary-General Davenport, to be held by him until the arrival of Deputy-Commissary-General Dinwiddie from England at that station. Mr. Weir will take with him two of the clerks now serving at Gibraltar. Assistant-Commissary-General Drake will proceed from England on board the Orinoco, accompanied by temporary clerk Servantes, to serve under Mr. Weir; and Assistant-Commissary-General Archer will leave Corfu for the same purpose. [The Times (London, England), May 20, 1854; p. 9.]
5. DCG Thomas Christie Bartrum Weir.
6. Henry was appointed to the Barbados Customs on 25 February 1828, where his father, Commissary John Drake, was also serving. He was there until 13 July 1831, when he was posted to the Swan River Colony.
7. The 97th (The Earl of Ulster’s) Regiment of Foot returned from Nova Scotia on 19 May 1853. [The new annual army list, and militia list, for 1854, by Major H. G. Hart, (London: John Murray, 1854), p. 249.]
8. Sir Charles Trevelyan was the senior Treasury official in charge of the Commissariat Department in London. [J. Sweetman, War and administration: The significance of the Crimean War for the British Army, (Edinburgh, 1984), p. 57.] He was assistant secretary at the Treasury (1840-1859). [J. Hart, “Sir Charles Trevelyan at the Treasury”, English Historical Review, 75:294, January 1960, 92.]
9. Henry leased the house, 1 Gloucester Place, London (W1), for 12 months. Gloucester place runs between Park Rd. and Seymour St., and is situated near Regent’s Park.
10. The lodging was situated at 28 Park St., London (W1). Park St. runs between Oxford Rd. and Park Lane, and is situated near Hyde Park. The proprietor of the lodging was Mrs. Wood.
11. Alice Drake was the daughter of Henry’s brother, John Minshull Drake, who, with her siblings, Lucy, Reginald, and Dennys, was staying with her grandparents and aunt, while her father served in the Indian Army.
12. Louisa Drake and her daughters, Louisa Maria, Charlotte Augusta Dring, and Laura Mary. Another daughter, Emily Caroline (1845-1853) had died the previous year in St. John, New Brunswick. Their son, John, had not travelled to New Brunswick or London with his family.
13. CG John Drake.
14. Maria Drake (née Story).
15. Laura Drake (born 1 June 1843, Perth, Western Australia). This was her 11th birthday.
16. Charlotte Augusta Drake never married. Charlotte was writing this letter to her sister-in-law, Louisa, who had left England in 1830, aged 16, but had not lived in England since then. I presume the two had met before in 1850 when Henry stopped over in London en route to Canada, and attended Queen Victoria’s levee on the 5th July. [Courier (Hobart, Tas.) Wednesday 9 October 1850, p. 2.]

Megan Stevens: Drake Letters 1. Drake to Louisa 7 April 1854 ◄ ● ► 3. Drake to Louisa 29 May 1854