Tench Family Diaries

Scope and Content

Tench family and friends' holiday diaries, south west England and Wales, 1919-34; with 4 diaries of an elderly lady, 1960-3.

The holiday diaries are written in a bright, rather whimsical and humorous tone:

"Thurs. 8th The Day.

Mu rushing up and down No.1 platform in search of Win. In meantime Ma & K board slip coach intent on bagging seats. Manage to secure three, amidst much scrimmage.

Wicked lady tried to get us out into Exeter part of train just to get our seats. The saucy knavess. Righteous indignation of religious lady in corner, of whom, more anon" [MSS.255/1].

They also contain some interesting descriptive passages:

"Oct. 4th

... Babbacombe Beach presents quite a different picture. It is entirely a fishermen's beach, littered with the implements of their calling. - Big, wide, boats, in varying stages of decay. One has lots of nettles growing through a hole in its side. Fishermen's sheds, hiding wonderful fishing rods, more of which anon. Mr Stiggins is the proprietor of one such shed. Fishing nets are hanging over a rough fence, constructed of any old thing, from useless cars to match-sticks, - drying. Their cork floats are a positive danger to unwary pedestrians. Anchors, lobster-pots, rope, tarpaulins, life-buoys, are lying scattered about" [MSS.255/5].

References to travel by train, river steamer and even tram have some period interest:

"Oct 3rd.

... All the conductors on the TTC [Torquay Town Corporation] trams are little boys, some have no uniform, some have a partial uniform and one a full uniform. Our tram was graced by this complete conductor of some fourteen summers. Among other things he trod many times unnecessarily on the bell, in fact, he seemed to get mixed up with it. However the driver seemed to take no notice, so all was serene...

[Return journey] Several corners en route, round which the tram squeaks its way. ... Something seems to have happened. We are sliding backwards. Oh yes, the driver has failed to clear the points so is getting ready for another rush. At the fourth rush he is successful" [MSS.255/2].

Administrative / Biographical History

The Tench family and associates included M.A. Tench, M. Tench, Georgiana Tench, W. Evans and K.E. Duke. During the period 1919-1934 the family holidayed in the South West of England, West Wales and the Isle of Wight. From 1960-3, Georgiana Tench lived with her daughter in Wandsworth.

Reference: Accessions file for MSS.255.

Access Information

This collection is available to researchers by appointment at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick. See http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/library/mrc/using/

Other Finding Aids

Custodial History

The collection was donated to the Centre by Guildford Muniment Room, Surrey Record Office, which had received the diaries from Mr. H.E. Hiley, a friend of the Tench family.

Family Names