Didi's Diary at Age 10, 1893
In the spring of 1893, when Didi (Ella Herxheimer Bruell) was ten years old, her
family went to a resort called St. Leonards in Hastings, England. Didi kept a diary
of this 19-day seaside holiday. It is a tiny book, measuring 2Â½ by 3Â½ inches,
but the pages are filled with Didi's exquisite handwriting. Dora, mentioned many
times, is her younger sister. This diary was found and transcribed (unedited) by
Liska Snyder in 2002
We went for a walk and afterwards we went on the pier. Early in the morning, we
went out shopping. In the afternoon, Dora and I went on the sands. And in the
evening for another walk.
We went for a long walk because we were going to Fairlight or Hollington Church
but as it was such a long way we found out it was too late as we had to be home for
two o'clock dinner and so we went on the pier instead meaning to go after dinner.
We went to West Hill and played about a good deal and Dora went home in a goat
chase. We went in a lift and I went on the beach.
In the morning we went on St Leonards pier and read some books which we took
with us and when we were hungry we took some chocolate from the Automatic
machine, then we went home to dinner and had it at two p.m. After that we went for
a drive in an open carriage and picked some wild flowers in Hollington church when
we got out. Then we went home again in the carriage and eat some oranges on our
way which I took in my flower basket.
Bank holiday. First of all we went for a long walk and then onto the beach which we
enjoyed very much jumping about a good deal on our way and then we bought some
flowers and a newspaper which was difficult to get as it was Bank holiday. In the
afternoon for two hours in the Public Gardens which were not crowded and were
just in front of our house. Then we went home and did not go out again.
We went for a country walk near the Highland Hotel and quite unexpectedly when
we asked was it the right way we saw the hounds meet. It was a beautiful sight.
Then we went to some very pretty gardens and sat down a little while in them on a
small seat. After having had our dinner we went in the public gardens and played ball
there for some time and then went home to write letters. In the evening we went for
another walk and after that to bed.
I bought a paper called the Standard. Afterwards we went to Fairlight woods and
when got there to the Lovers seat and we heard a story about it which was very
funny. When we came home father & mother bought us each a ball which bounced
splendidly and I walked home with father and Dora went in a bus with mother. In
the afternoon we went in the Public Gardens and played with our new balls. Then
we went home had our tea and read.
Early in the morning I went out shopping. We went to the station with father and
then to the post office. After that we went to the Public gardens. In the afternoon we
went on the beach and after that we read at home.
In the morning we went to the West Marina Public Gardens and played ball. We
had our dinner at 1 p.m. and started on another journey to Ecclesbourne Glen after
it, it was beautiful there and there were provisions provided on our way. We climbed
about a good deal and I found some lovely large violets. After having been there
some time we thought we had better go back so that we should catch our bus which
went at a qr. past five. But we were there too early and so we went and sat in a large
boat ash the boat man said we could and for a refreshment we ate an orange which
we had taken with us. Then we caught our bus and went right up to our house in it.
After breakfast we went out with mother and did such a lot of errands. In the
afternoon Dora and I went on the beach and first of all we were chasing the waves
and Dora was trying to run away from the waves when she tumbled down and her
feet got wet. After that I got mine wet and so we went home to change our stockings
and shoes and mother told us not to get wet again but when we went down on the
beach again we were throwing stones into the water and enjoying it very much and
all at once Dora's hat flew off into the sea and a Gentleman got it out with his stick
for her. When we went home again mother thought we had better go in the Public
Gardens and enjoy ourselves there as we had had such a lot of adventures and that
she would come with us and we had some fine games there and afterwards we went
in a bus to go shopping and bought some porridge and cream for our Sunday
breakfast and a beautiful stick as well.
We went to the nearest covered seats and read some new books of ours which
mother gave us. In the afternoon we meant to go out for a walk but none of us were
inclined to do so, so we read letters. I mean wrote them instead. In the evening we
went for a nice brisk walk and about catching each other and when we wanted to go
home, I mean in the game, we went near a seat and in going through the Colonades
Dora danced some jigs and a gentleman [illegible] asked about it also. When we got
home we enjoyed our supper and then went to bed because we were allowed to stay
up a qr. of an hour later and mother went to be a few hours later.
In the m. I went for the daily paper but it happened that there were none. After
breakfast we went to Besc. Hill beach and for a wonder there was some sand and
we read and took our balls in case we wanted them but we did not. We made
gardens on the sand, tunnels, our names and other things with our fingers. In the
afternoon we went to Gensing Garden and amused ourselves there for half and hour
and when we went home on our way we bought some nice chocolate cakes called
Outheloes which we bought as Miss Jackson was going to come and see us. And we
were allowed to have each one. Dora and I one. Afterwards Miss Jackson told us the
way to walk to Hollington woods and I wrote it down.
After breakfast in the morning I went to learn swimming and mother took me, as it
was the first swimming lesson I had had. I only did exercises. Dora was not allowed
to come out as she had had a powder and had to stop at home. In the afternoon all
three of us walked to Hollington woods and picked some beautiful flowers like
bluebells, violets, and other flowers. And as we meant to go away on the Wednesday
after we had picked the flowers we found out we were not going then and as the
landlady Mrs. Land had let our rooms already for some other people we went into
different rooms one at the top of the house and the other at the bottom of the house.
And so the fresh flowers were just nice for the fresh room. Then in going home we
found we had gone quite the wrong way to Hollington and only had three minutes to
go to the bus as mother said we had better go home in one and we bought some
biscuits on the way which were called Lunch. Then we went up to the end of
London Road and changed busses at the top of Silver hill. After that we went all the
way up the Marina.
In the morning I had my second swimming bath at about 10:30 A.M. and I could
swim a little then. That took up a good deal of the morning and so we went home to
rest. In the afternoon we went in the public gardens for some time. And after tea we
went for a nice walk up by the Highlands Hotel and we came through the colonades
in coming home and bought a milk loaf and an oaten cake.
Dora and mother had a bath on this day and so I could not have swimming lesson.
And when Dora came home she had to rest while I went erranding with mother.
After that I came home and rested as well. In the afternoon we chased the waves as
we called it and then went into the Public Gardens for a little while. In the evening
we went for another walk to the St Leonards Public Gardens it took about a qr. of
an hour to go to them and they were so pretty. And when we came home we bought
an oaten cake again like the day before and had it for our supper. When we went to
bed we soon got to sleep as we [were] tired from the walk.
In the morning I had my third swimming lesson and before it we went & bought
some presents to take home for the servants. In the afternoon we went on the beach
to chase the waves and mother went to have a hot bath for her rheumatismas. But
we found that the tide was gong out and so we went on the rocks and found some
tremendous large star fishes there and brought some home for our landlady Mrs.
Land to dry as she sent them away to some of her friends in London and made nice
ornaments of them herself in cases for the drawing room. And Miss Land her
daughter dried one for us which was very big. After we had brought four home we
changed our shoes I forgot to say. I tumbled on the rocks and made my dress in
such a mess besides cutting my hand. So Dora had to brush my dress until it was
quite clean. And that took her such a long time that we only met mother near the
Sussex and that was quite near our house. In the evening we went for a nice walk
and looked out the way to go to Hollington but we did not find it, we went another
pretty way instead. And we went through a field where we saw the hounds meet the
time that has been mentioned already. And the sky was quite blue and beautiful the
whole evening. When mother had come home from her bath she had changed some
chocolates at a shop where the people had given her different ones to what she
wanted and that time she only got seven back and the other time there was nearly
half a bag full.
We had breakfast at eight o'lock that was half an hour earlier than usual and directly
after that we went to the baths for me to have my swimming lesson. Mother had had
such a lot of trouble with the swimming teachers that she said that would be my last
chance and so I made the best of it but afterwards the woman said the next lesson I
would have would be on my back and so mother asked her if she would be early
again and so she said yes, then mother said I might have another lesson and I was
delighted about it. After that mother did some erranding and then we went to a china
shop and looked in there and we saw two clergymen laughing, the one telling a story
and the other laughing and so mother went in to ask the price of them and the man
said 2 gui. for the larger size and 80 shillings for the small couple. And so mother
said she would come in again on Tuesday and see if she wanted it then. And so we
went out and then mother told us to walk up and down whilst she went and bought a
chicken from London Road and as it was so drafty there she did not want us to go
with her. So whilst we were walking up and down we went to look at the shop again
and see the clergymen sitting together and whilst we were sitting there or more likely
looking, there came a lady and she spoke to us and said she had a picture of it and
that it was called A Good Story and afterwards we looked at another part of the
shop & a gentleman pointed to some little goblins there which looked very funny and
then he spoke to us and said hoe do you like those and what about these, aren't they
funny? pointing to some niggers tied up in handkerchiefs. After that we went home
and had half an hours rest. In the afternoon we went to Hollington and picked
bluebells, [illegible], violets and blush. Mother was rather tired when we got there
and so she sat on one of the banks to rest whilst we looked about for flowers.
Afterwards when our baskets were nearly full we wet home and when we got there
at last mother was so tired. Then after we had had a good tea we arranged all of our
flowers and they did look so pretty. Afterwards we ate some rubabe [rhubarb?] and
then mother said she would go to bed with us because she was so tired.
After having had our breakfast at 9 a.m. we went to one of the covered seats and
read there for about half an hour but as the sun was not out it was rather cold and so
we went for a walk and then into the St Leonards Public Gardens and went to a
nice shaded place to read and whilst mother was reading Dora and I went about to
look at different places. Afterwards mother came with us and we looked at the gold
fish and ducks in the pond and then went and sat in a sunnier spot. Afterwards we
went and saw the people coming out of church. When we had had our dinner we
stopped at home and wrote letters. And after tea we went out for a walk.
In the morning we bought lots of different kinds of presents consisting of studs, a
pencil in the shape of a nail, a broach, a vase, a stick, two pin trays, a picture, two
mugs and that was about all. In the afternoon we went on the beach but we soon got
tired of that as there were no rocks and so then we came home to ask mother if we
might take off our coats and she said [we] might if we went in the Public Garden but
not unless. And so we went in the Public Gardens and [played] ball there for some
time till a policeman came by and said to Dora you are a splendid catcher because
she was not catching at all. And afterwards when the bus came up to the corner of
the road and we gave the horses some sugar then the men said they would tell the
horses our address and that they the horses would always come to us. When we had
had our tea we went out for a walk with mother. When we did go out we forgot a
letter which mother had written for father and so we went back for it, posted it, and
then went for a nice walk and climbed up some banks which were on our way. Then
mother told us some geography which we were supposed to remember for the next
day. When we went home we went down some steps by the Sussex Hotel and then
when we got home we had to go to bed because it was 5 minutes past our bedtime.
In the morning I went to have my bathing lesson and the woman was about half an
hour late but I had a very long lesson all the same. When we were on our way home
we bought some outhelos and a few other things and then mother went home to
pack whilst we rested and then after that we packed as well and brought up the
things that had to be packed. Then we had a very nice dinner.
Click here to see original page one of the diary
LETTER DIDI WROTE TO HER MOTHER IN 1895
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St Leonards Public Gardens
Warrior_square public gardens
St Leonards Public Gardens
St Leonards -Warrior_square public gardens
and first page
Note on the photos
-These were sent to
Martin by a teacher
who lives in this area,
and came across Didi's
diary on the internet.
He used it to educate
his class on what their
area was like over a 100
years ago, and then sent
me these vintage photos
of the exact spots Didi