It is becoming increasingly difficult with each month that passes to remember what has happened, and what order it has happened in! It seems as there is so much goes on in this city that I get muddled up with what I have already written, and what I have forgotten. In my last letter, I forgot to mention a name I found on a plaque on a house wall not far from here in Smith Square. Out for a Sunday afternoon walk with Zoe and Andreas, we passed along Lord North Street to Smith Square, en route to walk by the river with the final intention of ending up at Evensong at St Peter’s, Vauxhall. As we passed by the house at the end of Lord North Street into Smith Square, we stopped to look at the green plaque on the wall, which announces to all who read it “W. T. Stead, 1849-1912, Journalist and reformer of great renown, lived here 1904-1912.”
I got quite excited when I saw this, as from previous research, I knew that W. T. Stead had been the second editor of the Northern Echo from 1871, only a year after it had been founded (for the benefit of readers from St Matthew’s, The Northern Echo is a daily newspaper available in the North East, published in Darlington). He left The Northern Echo in 1880 to go to the Pall Mall Gazette. He was quite a campaigner, and his “new journalism” set the way for modern tabloid journalism. He campaigned in the 1880s against child prostitution, and even wrote an item about sending ships to sea without enough lifeboat space for each person on board. W. T. Stead met his end in 1912, as one of the unfortunate passengers on board the Titanic who couldn’t get into a lifeboat.
I’ve had a very interesting time after Easter. Wayne returned with me on the 28th of April and spent the bank holiday weekend here. We had a very interesting day on the day of the Royal Wedding. We began the morning standing in Parliament Square listening to the band that was playing outside of Parliament. It was quite amusing when they played “I’m getting married in the morning” from My Fair Lady. There were crowds and crowds of people all watching and waiting. There was a lady sitting on the wall outside of the treasury building with a copy of the day’s Times newspaper, announcing to the crowd the itinerary of events that had been printed! We stayed there until the car carrying Princes William and Harry passed by, and then we returned to the vicarage to watch the wedding on the television, as we couldn’t really see much. Once the ceremony was over, we set out (after a glass of champagne to toast the royal couple) to go to The Mall as everyone was gathering to see Prince William and Catherine on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. We were so far down the Mall we couldn’t see the palace, but I was quite content where I was as I got a good view of the fly-past.
We also had a good time visiting several different places, the science museum, we went to see The Wizard of Oz stage show, the Imperial War Museum, and even Kew Gardens. Kew Gardens is a fascinating place to visit. It goes on for acres and acres, with beautiful flower displays, trees, hot houses and all sorts of interesting and beautiful things to look at. I was intrigued to walk around and look at things, and realise that some of the green houses were constructed in the mid-1860s, which was exactly the time that my great grandmother’s grandfather, William Hart, was working at Kew Gardens! I was walking around thinking to myself I could be looking at the plants that he might have planted, and am now looking at green houses that he might have witnessed being constructed.
Our pastoral assistant, Andrew, has been writing his "Andrew's Travels" column in his Parish magazine for three years. He continues to contribute and his current articles will be published here.