Thomas Burrough's Work Diary : Broad Chalke


Thomas Burrough's Work Diary : 1832 : page 18

Thomas Burrough's Work Diary 1832 page 18 Thomas Burrough's Diary 1832 Reform Bill celebrations

Reform Bill

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The top image is August/September 1832.

The bottom image is on a separate sheet of paper and is a further description of the illuminations and dinner and other activities on 26th and 27th June 1832 celebrating the passing of the Reform Bill. It is assumed that this sheet is the diary of the father, Thomas (1) who was aged 56. The son, Thomas (2), records going to see the illuminations in the evening on 26th June 1832 (with different spelling - Sarum and Ilumination) and a dinner on 27th June 1832 in his diary 26/06/1832 and 27/06/1832 when he was aged 22.

Imagine the situation - a youth of 22 going for a day and night out with his father?, brothers and mates. How did they get to Sarum? The available modes would have been foot, bicycle, horse, pony trap or horse omnibus, perhaps the local carrier's covered wagon. Foot and bicycle are unlikely and the carrier's wagon would have been slow, so they probably went in Father's pony and trap with advice from Mother to look after the pony and not to come home drunk.

Imagine the melée there with hundreds of horses and pony traps. Did they leave the pony to wander about (few trees to tie it to) or sit in the trap all the time to get a good view of the illuminations?

There would be crowds everywhere including the worst elements of society; thieves, pickpockets, con-men and prostitutes. I expect they bought a few beers, then started the journey home in near total darkness, no doubt a bit merry. There must have been quite a traffic jam with hundreds of horses and pony traps all jostling along the lanes to the villages in the Chalke valley.

When they reached home tired and drunk they couldn't just fall into bed, they would have had to see to the pony first. Then into bed in the early hours knowing that they had to get up at the crack of dawn, which comes early in June, to start another day's work (unless he slept late on this occasion as on the following day, 27th June, he went to Sarum for the dinner at lunchtime in the Market Place).

Consider the risks; if they had a minor prang with another pony trap in the dark or the pony got lame, would they just abandon it and walk or hitch a lift home? There were no mobile phones or AA service to call for help.

The father's diary records the event on 26th June 1832 in more detail. Thomas (1) was aged 56 and his diary says that he left at half past 5 on 26th June 1832, "Walked about the Town Til 12 O'Clock", left Salisbury at 12, went to ? Wilton ? and was home by 2 so it's not certain if this was the morning or a very late night with his son. The son's diary above says that he went in the evening.

Images © John Burrough

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