Extracts from Diaries of Mrs. L. H. Hilton (Hildersheim) 1908 -1919

[Before the Addison’s move to  Hampstead in 1910 the two families seem to have had meals with one another about every other day. On one day the H’s walked up – from Murray Road – to Pretty Corner for tea, down again – perhaps for Dr. H’s surgery – and up again for supper.  I have omitted such general sociability: and one or two nice touches such as Mrs. H accompanying Mrs. A on an inspection of the Pretty Corner kitchen while the maids were out and feeling comforted by the result]

13/5/08  …went up to Pretty Corner to see the new wallpapers.

27/3/09  [CA and O.H. discussing going on holiday together without wives.

31/5/09  (Whit Monday)  40 Progressives came to Pretty Corner from Hoxton and we went up and helped to entertain them.  They were stickers and only left about 7.45.

Approx 15–28/7/09 .. CA and O.H. in Switzerland.

13/9/09  Travelled up with Dr. Addison (to London) who is rather excited about the general election.

22/9/09 [Dinner with the A’s]  After dinner the other three (?) sang all together out of the Scottish Students’ Song book. Discovered Dr. A has quite a nice voice.

21/11/09  [Addison gives £50 to “Anniversary Collection” of Presbyterian Church.

22/11/09  This day the Addison family flitted to Kilburn.  Mrs. Coates and self went to help settle in.

4/12/09  Dr. and Mrs. Addison and baby Bel looked in.  He is very excited about the coming general election.   On Wednesday evening Oscar went to Hoxton to help and did his first canvassing and found it all very entertaining.

1/1/10  Mr. A. Telephoned to ask me and anyone else to come and help stamp envelopes at Hoxton.  Went along to the Coates to ask, but they had a tea party.  Oscar went, felt since rather mean for not going.

6/1/10  This was a field day.  Katie and Christopher Addison came down for the day and I returned with them by the 5.9.  Dr. Addison looked tired and said he was, and his voice was different.  Claud Hay has disgusted everyone with his latest posturizing pamphlets.

16/1/10  …..We went through the Addison’s garden.  The place seems so sad without them – the sadder for all the turmoil and fuss in Hoxton  (see newspaper cuttings book).

17/1/10   This day was polling day in Hoxton.  N [orman] B[aynes] and others went off early to help.  Oscar went in afternoon…..It was thrilling to hear from him of the Hoxton fight and I wanted to return when he did by the 8.45 train, but Oscar thought the crowd might be too rough; so I waited at home……So Oscar waited outside the town hall  in the packed crowd until 11.30. They then learned that Addison had beaten Hay by 350 and presently they both, Dr. and Mrs. Addison came out on the steps and there was tremendous cheering and  no booing and his silver hair nicely brushed shone in the gaslight and he smiled and looked so happy.

18/1/10  I did a little coloured drawing of the Addison family back home again and took it up to Pretty Corner in the afternoon and got some hyacinths and planted them in a bowl I found, with moss on top, and put these as a welcome in the drawing room.  The cloth was on the table for tea and the house gleaming with cleanness and welcome.  It all seemed so sweet.  They were expected at 4.30………..Oscar looked in to see the Addisons…………..they were very jolly and happy.

19/1/10  ………went up to dinner with the Addisons and had a good talk and enjoyed seeing them again very much.  We both feel tremendously fond of    Dr Addison; and Mrs; but we love Dr. Addison the best.  I think he will turn into a violent liberal very soon.

20/1/10  …..rushed off and just saw the procession with Dr. Addison being pulled by men in his carriage ……Sat up  by the fire.  Oscar telling me about    Dr Addison’s speech.  He was very moved by it.

30/1/10  Isobel Addison’s 3rd birthday…..big tea party

[written on 27/2/10, a Sunday]  Dr. Addison has made his maiden speech and it was quite good.  He is disappointed in himself, I think, and said the other  maiden speeches that day were better.  “I really think they were” he said in his honest way.  He is enjoying the house very much and it was nice to hear all his first impressions and experiences.

22/4/10….Had tea at Well Walk.  The house is very charming; but you might not notice it for somehow the furniture does not go well at present with it.  The little high walled London garden took my fancy.  I should like to try and paint it, with the roofs of houses and a church spire over the end wall and the spring leaves against the blackness.

29/4/10……late for dinner, Dr. and Mrs. Addison had come for the Boot and Shoe meeting [Shoreditch children?]  afterwards………..Oscar was in the chair and was good.  Afterwards they formed a committee and  Dr. Addison proposed me so I am one.  The A’s with N[orman] B[aynes] back here afterwards.  Mrs. A. in her particularly annoying mood, and she has already taken a dislike to the Hampstead house, and won’t arrange to go away with  Dr. A. For Whitsuntide.  He needs it badly.

11/11/10  At 2 Mrs. Addison telephoned that they would come to dinner as invited a fortnight ago nearly.  Fortunately Mrs. Meiklejohn had given us a pheasant which was a marvel in the way of meat.  The Coates’s came in after dinner……………Mrs. A in great voice, made a deafening noise sometimes.  The two conversations – the  3 men and the 3 women – carried on with every foot on our small hearthrug was sometimes very amusing.  Both the A’s very confident of the success of the probably election in  January

4/12/10………..and Oscar also looked in to congratulate the Addisons [in Hampstead]

1911  Nothing to speak of

1/1/12  This morning Oscar had a letter from Dr. Addison telling that little Paul was worse and it was tubercular meningitis.

6/4/12  I went by slow stages to Briardale Gardens.  The doctors were there.  I waited ½ an hour in the dining room, the house being very still.  The maid had told me he was worse.  Went up to the room.  Mrs. A. Sitting holding his little hand, the room dark.  Paul looked peacefully sleeping a healthy sleep

9/4/12  All morning very busy getting ready for the Addison children.

Mrs. C[oates] came and did yeoman service………Slept in afternoon in preparation……….the children and Chown came about 7 and we put them to bed at once – four single beds in the spare room –  and the first evening  passed peacefully.  Little Paul is in the same unconscious state.

10/4/12  Very nice to have the house full of children.   I wish I had a big family             without the trouble of getting it.  They all played in the garden in the morning………All the children with Chown and Kitty went up to Pretty Corner to see the garden.   A noisy  [jammy?] tea and after they played in the stable…..

11/4/12  This morning little  Paul died at 9.30 [see letter from Mrs. A]  The children do not know yet.  This afternoon I went to the fields and gathered a bunch of cowslips, stitchwort and one ladysmock – home to find tea going on.  Chown in my place.  After they played stables again……I packed up and sent off the flowers…………….

12/4/12  In the morning, taking fruit with us…..into some pleasant meadows where men were harrowing the grass and picked cowslips………in the afternoon the children went up to the woods and came back with bluebells which were sent off to Mrs. Addison.

13/4/12  The children played in garden all day and after tea I went back with them to Briardale Gardens.    Little Paul was buried at 4 in the afternoon in the old Hampstead Parish Churchyard.  Oscar was there.   I went to see his grave.  Mrs. Addison had put his red tin bucket filled with the children’s bluebells and cowslips on the grave……………

21/4/12   The loveliest day.   …Heard the cuckoo……….Decided to go out and see the Addisons at Missenden.  Off by 10.30 in the car……….The Addisons surprisingly cheerful, especially Mrs.  She talked of Paul a good deal………….John very happy to be playing with the children again.

[Diary entries become spasmodic]

16/3/13…………the Fireplace given to us by the Addisons is partly up, but there has been a fortnight’s break in the work owing to the breaking of some granite belonging to it.  We are bearing it as patiently as we can.

13/4/13…………The new fireplace – the large gift of the Addisons in memory of the time last year when the children came here while little Paul lay dying – is now finished and a very great success and pleasure to us.  It is quite a beautiful thing.

9/6/14  Mrs. Addison has another baby born on Easter Sunday.  Oscar went out in his car – rung up by telephone at 4 o’ clock – and got there just in time.  They have called him Michael after our Michael.

12/6/14……..He [O.H.] had letter from Dr. Addison today saying Sir George Newman liked O.H. ‘s book on Care of Children very much and was going to help to get Methuen to publish it.

27/2/15  The Addisons have taken Pretty Corner furnished for 6 months.  They arrived on Saturday.  We were passing with Christopher [Eden?] and they hailed us in to tea.  I made beds  after and unpacked while John with the children played hide and seek in the garden and  John half learned to ride their bicycle.  It seemed very old time-ish.

9/6/15 ……Italy has now joined us and America is on the brink.  We have a Coalition Parliament [sic] trying what that will do – and from today’s account of bickering and wrangling over the trifling matter of what a minister may or may not do with his £5000 salary it does not seem as though things will be more helpful.  Anyway Lloyd George is  Minister of Munitions and Dr. Addison is Under Secretary of Munitions, so perhaps something will be done about that terrible affair.  It is easy to blame people in power, I know, but I think we have a great many clever fools.  One would not feel it so much if the Germans made just as many of the same kind of mistakes – but they don’t

The night we heard about Dr. Addison Oscar and I went up and he told us all about it – very entertaining hearing of the inner matters.  He is now very hard at work, quietly  confident of improving things.

10/8/15  [O.H.’s book ‘The Health of the Child’ published in July]  Dr. Addison has been very kind in writing to publishers he knows to ask them to give notice of it.  On the Bank Holiday we …………went out to Prestwood and spent the day with the Addisons.  Wonderful to hear more of the Inner Workings of the Nation.

19/9/15  Last night we walked up to the Addisons.  Met her, with scared face, in the hall – anxious not to  have “visitors” as she was untidy and tired.  He was issuing from the pantry at the back – bearing high the teapot with a second lot of hot water added.  Shouts of relief when they saw who we were.  I went to get teacups for ourselves and soon we were all seated tea drinking.  Enquiries and talk of Stephen first [L.H.H’s youngest brother, wounded] and   gradually the talk of his [i.e.CA’s] doings,  related with much enjoyment,   listened to with tremendous zest; undreamed of situations, very entertaining, very alarming sometimes, very saddening other times.  One thinks: is there time for all this patient straightening out – this humouring of spoilt grown up children.  Oh for a host of men like Christopher Addison.   Late it was – as ever – before we got to our feet taking some despised green figs – the gift of some bigwig – with us; and he, just as we were at the porch said  ”Would you like a handful of nut?”  ‘Nut’ pronounced in his Lincolnshire way.  So I followed him to the pantry, where he dipped into a big  earthenware bowl with both hands and filled mine with the [their] own gathered nuts.

30/10/15  This afternoon Oscar took Mrs. Addison and the three eldest and John, Roger and myself over to Northolt to watch the flying;  and, armed with a letter from Dr. Addison, we went right in on to the ground  [graphic description of experience]…………..

31/10/15  Dr. Addison has influenza.  I made him an egg jelly which O took up when he went to see him…………….

13/11/15  [written 15/11]  That evening we went up after supper to the Addisons.  Dr. Macphail there.  Mrs. A in very bad temper with the children.  She unburdened herself in the dining room.  It was 9.30 and they had not had supper.  We cut tongue sandwiches and made tea and took it in.  Dr. A in great form in spite of toothache.  Stayed until nearly 11

28/1/16……..Yesterday  Dr. Addison  rang up to know if I had seen a Sunday paper and asked that O should tell him if he had seen one; and he said he was worried about Verdun.

20/2/16  [Verdun etc]…..Dr. Addison seems cheerful.

2/4/16  [written 4/4]  We went up to the Addisons after supper.   They were as usual having their bits of supper in the drawing room.  Dr. A and O had two swift games of chess:  Dr. A chipping in as usual into Mrs. Addison’s and my conversation.  We heard about the Clyde strike  and other things.  As we were getting on the move to go, about 10.45 or after, the Zeppelin Hooter went rather hecticly

24/6/16  Yesterday we had supper with the Addisons.  Don’t think I have said in here that he has been made a Privy Councillor and is now a Right Honourable.  He had a cold and was not looking very well;  had been gardening. They have a real supper now.  We had a fire afterwards.  I had taken my sketch book and meant to try him again; but did Mrs. A instead.  She was a little low spirited and down – has got rheumatism very badly just now.  This weekend he is preparing a Bill – to be introduced next week – to do with the land taken over by government under the Defence of the Realm Act.  Told us how bills were worked;  told us about the soldiers who have been brought back from France – “40,000 I think” –  skilled workmen,  to work in Munition Factories and Dockyards and how very nearly there had been a terrible muddle        made by Mr. L-‘s promising something and how he, Dr. A, had had to work to get it put right just in time.

201/11/16  …..Last Saturday [18/11/16]  Mrs. Lloyd George came to visit our hospital.  I could not be there, but Oscar was.  She told him her husband thought “very highly” of Dr. Addison; and she thought he looked “fragile”.

3/12/16 ……….Last night Oscar was up at the Addisons.  I find it too tiring to go up after supper now [she was expecting a child in May] which I regret as I do love hearing him tell about things. Great changes in the cabinet are expected shortly and we are wondering what they will bring him.  He is a great man, I’m sure, through his sane levelheadedness.

Thursday, 7/12…………The King then [Tuesday] sent for Lloyd George and asked him to form a cabinet – which he is at present engaged in doing; and Dr. Addison is to be a member of it!  All Monday he was meeting, in twos and threes and more, members of the late cabinet.  At one meeting of himself, Carson and Lloyd George  L.G. said “Well if I have to form a cabinet I know two men who will be in it – that’s myself and you, Addison”.  At another time L.G. said Addison was the most reliable man he knew……………..We went up on Wednesday evening to help eat a duck and hear the news – Dr. Addison thinking he would be able to get home that evening for supper [but  didn’t] so we gave up hope of seeing him and put the nice little casserole of duck etc., we had arranged for him, in the larder, with the oysters we have taken up for him, and sat by the fire constructing a Cabinet of our own very sagaciously…….the conference lasted too late to catch a train so he telephoned to say so and that he was  to be Minister of Munitions  – so that is all right.

18/1/17  …..there was a tremendous shock which shook the house and set the doors and windows rattling.  I am afraid it  must have been an explosion……….

Last Sunday Oscar and I went up to Pretty Corner.  The Minister had been doing odd jobs round the garden, chiefly to do with the hens…..He finds it too tiring  to come out here late every evening, so they have taken a set of rooms in an hotel in London; and Christopher is to live with us during the week.

21/1/17……..the shock we felt was an explosion in a Munitions Factory in London.   Later Oscar rang up the Addisons and heard that it was at Silvertown.  Today the paper says 100  killed and many more wounded.  Dr. Addison says the scene is indescribable

6/2  Today Christopher’s father  [i.e. Dr A] has gone to France but it is a secret [returned night of 10th]

Friday, 26/4/17  [Call up of doctors]  Oscar saw Dr. Addison on Monday night and he promised t o try and see Lord Derby and find out what they really are meaning to do.  He said he would look after me when my baby arrives if Oscar really has to go before……………..

2/5  Last Tuesday [23/4] Dr. Addison spent a night at Windsor Castle.  At dinner he sat between the Queen and Princess Mary.

27/5  On Sunday evening [26th] Oscar and I walked up to the Addisons.  They had just come back from their holiday at Grindleford where they had been unable to get enough to eat at the Maynard Arms.  Did not stay long as Mr. Carr had come to dinner to discuss Land with him.

8/9/17…..After supper Oscar and I started up to Pretty Corner.  We found them still at supper and not long returned from Prestwood.  Had a pleasant evening   telling each other our ideal life – discussed it all – difficulties of combining such differing  things  as Oscar’s wish to breed carthorses   and spending evenings sitting in a big leather armchair at the Athenaeum Club and social work in Hoxton.  Dr. Addison agrees with me that there is [‘no’   presumably omitted]  life to come up to a farm life – not too big to give great anxiety and not too far from a country town.

29/9/17  ………There we were joined by Dr. and Mrs. Addison and Isobel. When I returned from getting my Kodak I found Oscar and Mrs. A. had retired for a consultation and Dr. A. was wheeling Judy round the garden    Oscar and John went to Pinner by the same train as the Addisons took to Harrow, where they have taken a furnished house for the winter.

9/10   ……….on Friday [5/10] afternoon Oscar took Mrs. Addison up to consult Dr. Russell about  her pain and I met them on their return at Harrow.  We had tea and saw the house they have taken for the winter.  Mrs. Meiklejohn was there giving the children music lessons

28/11  On Saturday [24/4] got a lift down Baker Street with Dr. and Mrs. A in the Ministry of Munitions motor car……….

1/12  [Addisons to tea]…….Dr A drew comic heads on the blackboard

14/3/18   ….We both attacked Mrs. A. on the subject of her scheme of doing with one maid again and cooking herself………..The Addisons have come back to Northwood now.

19/9/18   ………We are all worried about our coal supply.  We fear we are going to be rather chilly this winter.  But Dr. Addison sent a message to me that he would see we were kept warm with wood from up there while O is away.  [O.H. had been called up]

24/11/18  [Yesterday]the boys and I went up after tea to  fireworks at the Addisons.  Dr. A. had got them all arranged beautifully on the lawn and all went off splendidly.

31/12   [30/12]………to dinner with the Addisons.  He has been returned for Shoreditch with a majority of 6000.

1/1/19 …..hurried up the frosty road to Pretty Corner to hear Dr. Macphail sing.  He sang “Under the Gallows Tree”   (?)  and “Oh Where tell me Where”  Then the minister sang “The Friar of Ostersgrey”(?) and “Tramp, tramp, tramp”…..

26/6/19…….Mrs Addison and Miss White caught us up running – Mrs. A in the new tight-skirted frock I went with her to choose last Wednesday for the  King’s garden party today.  She had come up in the same carriage with a very much dressed up mother and daughter who closed the window.  Mrs. A – facing the engine – asked to have it opened and the mother said “Oh but the smuts, and we are going to Buckingham Palace”  Mrs. A. said “So am I and I shall get the smuts and don’t mind them a bit.”

4/7 [after a show at the Empire]        Oscar and I strolled down to Downing Street and  found out from a policeman where the Addison’s car was waiting…It was a dinner to the Ministers  and a reception after to them and their wives.  We saw many celebrities……..soon Dr. Addison’s silver head appeared and we all four together got  into the car, three on the seat and Oscar on the floor, and we came along through lamplit London – Mrs. A. discussing amusingly about the “naked women” and their behaviour; and we felt, though we had been to the Empire, that our show had been more decent than theirs………..Dr. A. had been up to speak at Sheffield that afternoon.  They had wanted him to travel in a decorated train and he had replied that if they decorated it he should travel by another train.

Saturday, July 19th.   Peace  Day.  The sun shone early and we were all having breakfast at  7.30 and then with the Addisons and Mrs. Coates and the children journeyed up by the 8.22. Walked to Baker Street and left Dr. Addison encamped with the 7 youngest children and all coats, bags etc., to wait for his car.  The rest of us, 5 grown ups and 5 children, walked, looking at the decorations.  Crowds began in Park,  but we only had one crush; that was getting through the Admiralty Arch.  After that we walked down the cleared and mounted-police guarded Whitehall and arrived at the Ministry of Health and found the children already hanging over the balcony…………….our front row was all children wedged tight, 13 in all; and the back was Dr. and Mrs Addison, Cecily Coates, Miss Walker, Dr. Macphail and his niece and Oscar and me….

[written 9/10/19 during rail strike]  Judy’s Davis milk was brought every evening out from London in a Cabinet [she wrote ‘Cabinate’ which sounds even grander] Minister’s car.

[written Dec]  An event in November I must tell of – the presentation to Mr and Mrs. Coates of a typewriter and a silver tray and a cheque for £150.  Dr. Addison fresh from 7 hours criticisms of himself in the House – made the speech and did the presenting………..  [John Ryder Coates had ceased to be minister of the Presbyterian church Northwood, on becoming secretary of the Student Christian Movement.