Margaret Tyrwhitt Drake's Reference Book

Her diary from 1883 to 1923

By Jennifer Ayto

Great Gaddesden vicarage
Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies, Clutterbuck Vol.3
St Mary's, Hemel Hempstead, pre 1919
Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies
St Mary's, Hemel Hempstead
Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies
The River Gade
Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies
Gaddesden Place before the fire of 1905
Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies
Gaddesden Place after the fire of 1905
Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies
St Albans Pageant, 1907 - the Funeral Cortege of Queen Eleanor, 1290
St Albans Pageant, 1907 - the Funeral Cortege of Queen Eleanor, 1290

Jefferson’s Family Diary and Reference Book has a year to a page and was described as ‘A diary for recording the important events which occur during a whole lifetime; the dates of which may be kept and also preserved for future reference.’ It also contains the following note to users: ‘N.B. If the diary be properly kept, it will prove to be a valuable book after the lapse of a few years.’

Margaret Tyrwhitt Drake was the daughter of the vicar of Great Gaddesden and was born at the vicarage on 3 December 1883. This was the family home until 1905 when her father resigned the living, and she noted that on 29 November they left Great Gaddesden vicarage forever.

After a temporary residence in London, she recorded on 3 May 1906 that it was her first night at Boro’gate, St Albans (the 1908 edition of Kelly’s Trade Directory for St Albans lists the gentry, including ‘Rev. William Thomas Tyrwhitt-Drake, M.A., at Boro’gate, St Peter’s Street’). This remained her home but her involvement with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel from March 1910 until May 1922 took her to London and to meetings elsewhere in the country. The last entry in the book records that on 1 November 1924 she started work with the Indian Church Aid Association. She died in 1968.

Her diary entries include the following:

3 December 1883

I was born at Gt Gaddesden vicarage.

20 January 1884

Baptized at Gt Gaddesden Church, by my father. Godparents my uncle Henry Trotter, his sister Emily, Constance Pownall (cousin) and Miss Maister.

14 April 1898

My confirmation at St Mary’s Hemel Hempstead by Bishop Festing. [John Festing was Bishop of St Albans from 1890 to 1903.]

March 1903

The river dried up at Gaddesden most of the winter.

1 October 1903

We had an ‘At Home’ and Picture Show at Hemel Hempstead.

22 July 1904

Played in Shendish Croquet Tournament.

1 February 1905

Gaddesden Place completely gutted by fire, only a few books saved.

November 1906

Started taking a class at the Abbey Sunday school.

December 1906

Joined the Grasshoppers Hockey club; Started a Sunday School class.

10 January 1907

Small dance at Boro’gate.

12 January 1907

Burton’s Fancy Dress Ball!

17 January 1907

Went to the St Albans County Ball.

15 May 1907

Started rehearsals for St Albans Pageant.

15-20 July 1907

Took part in St Albans Pageant, as one of the Court Ladies in Queen Eleanor’s Funeral Procession.

10 June 1908

Pan-Anglican delegates from Canada stayed with us.

30 June 1908

Large Missionary Festival at St Albans.

12 February 1909

Electric light put in at Boro’gate.

6 September 1910

Our new motor arrived.

4 August 1914

England declared war with Germany. Spent most of the month at Norwich helping with the Red X.

11 November 1914

Barnard [her brother] married Dorothy Doncaster at St Mary’s Ewell. [He was inducted as Vicar of Thundridge the following month.]

3 December 1923

My 40th birthday, spent at home.

6 December 1923

General Election on Tariff reform. Labour came into power.

25 December 1923

Christmas at home.

Margaret Tyrwhitt Drake’s Diary and Reference Book, H.A.L.S. D/ECK F69

This page was added on 12/10/2011.

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  • This would have been Harriet Susanna Tyrwhitt Drake, Margaret’s mother and leading light in the Mothers Union in Hertfordshire.

    By Jennifer Ayto (03/09/2020)
  • I have 2 watercolours signed HST Drake 1917 of Water End bridge, painted from each side of the bridge, given to me by my mother-in-law whose family lived in Gt. Gaddesden for over 4 generations.

    By Carole Goddard (03/09/2020)
  • Wonderful! She was my second cousin three times removed. Thank you for posting this

    By Mike Davies (15/01/2018)