Isobel Addison’s diary October 1931

Thursday, 1st October, 1931

Pa went by the 10.56 having started for the 10.14 and come back for his keys  which had been his pocket all the time!!   Spent a pleasant morning in the sun cutting beans and sewing.  Kate went up to town in the afternoon.  I pressed Isobel’s coat and prepared it for sewing.  Wilfred took Mrs. Willmott to Chesham in the morning and she came to see me for a few minutes after lunch.  I slept by the fire in the drawing room in the evening. Pa came home about 11.45.

Friday, 2nd October, 1931

Pa went by the 10.14.  I did a good deal of work at Isobel’s coat a nasty job! After lunch Mrs. Willmott came with me to Wycombe and went on with a friend to Maidenhead.  I picked up Carrie and we shopped and bought me a hat. Got home about 5.45. Pa got home by 7 and we had a meal and talked and  played patience  and came to bed about 11.30, quite early for once.

Saturday, 3rd October, 1931

Got up just before 8 and took Pa a cup of tea and got breakfast.  A perfectly lovely day.  Fed hens, gathered and arranged flowers – there are still some beautiful red roses.  Prepared lunch.  Girls telephoned at 12.45 that they were going to be late so Pa and I had our lunch – did some more work on Isobel’s coat. Went to see Mrs Willmott and Pa and I drove to Prestwood and had some tea at the bungalow. Came home and got supper ready. Kate and Isobel arrived about 8.45. After supper and lots of talk, Kate, Pa and I played dummy bridge.

Sunday, 4th October, 1931

Wilfred took me to St. Anne’s at 8.  Got home to find Pa was down and had made the toast etc., A man from Watford called re boiler.  Quite a pleasant day, a bit dull in weather and some rain. Wrote a long letter to Mike and Chris and Brigit and wrote election songs.

Monday, 5th October, 1931

Got up at 6.30. Got breakfast for the girls and they left by the 7.50.  Daddy went by the 9 and I made beds etc., and did the machining of Isobel’s coat – a rather long job needing care.  Lizzie and Nell and I drove to Swindon and picked up Daddy there and went to two meetings – had a cup of at Mrs. Beck’s and got home about 1 a.m.

Tuesday, 6th  October, 1931

Got up before 7.30 and had my breakfast and took Pa’s up to him.  He went to town by the 10.56 and then on to Scarborough for the Labour Party Conference.  I started clearing my desk today and ruthlessly and resolutely tore up many letters without even reading them.  Went over to Mrs. Willmott’s  about 6 and stayed till about 9.30. Read to her and talked. Mary came back to the house with me for a few minutes.  I had some tea and sat and read by the study fire – came to bed about 1 a.m.

Wednesday, 7th October, 1931

Got up just after 7.30 and fetched my breakfast upstairs.   Had a cold bath! Dressed and did my usual jobs then continued the clearing of my desk all day with intervals of hen feeding, egg collecting  and lunch and supper.  Mary came in to see me after supper. Pa got home from Scarborough by the 10.40.

Thursday, 8th October, 1931

Didn’t wake till after 9!  Mrs. Willmott came in after breakfast for a few minutes  and later on Wilfred took her to Chesham. Carrie came to tea and stayed a bit and Pa took her home about 6.30 or so.  In the evening Pa composed his election address  and we discussed election plans.  Rang up Chris and had a long and expensive talk with him!  I did a good bit more to Isobel’s coat and am glad to see it is nearly finished. Came to bed dreadfully late.

Friday, 9th October, 1931

Got up at 8.  Took Daddy tea and cooked breakfast.  He went to town by the 10.56 and from there to Swindon. I finished Isobel’s coat and pressed it – most satisfactory. Did some rather unsatisfactory dyeing of my own two woollen dresses. Cooked a piece of ham. Got supper for Isobel and myself. She came home by the 6.27.  Wilfred met Daddy at Reading and he got home about 10.45.  Did a bit more sorting to my desk today. Came to bed about 1.30 which is really stupid of me!

Saturday, 10th October,1931

Got up at 7.15, dressed and had my breakfast and took Pa’s up to him at 8.30 and Isobel’s to her at 9.  Did some sewing for myself. Isobel went after lunch to see Kathleen K……….  Kate stayed in town for a concert and came home by the 9.26.   Our new boiler hasn’t come yet and the old one continues to drip and deposit a lake in the scullery every morning. To add to this wateriness my bottle emptied  itself in my bed last night – a beastly affair!

Sunday, 11th October, 1931

Went to St. Anne’s at 8.  A real autumn morning with sun  faintly struggling through mist. Took tea to family before going. Pa had made toast when I came in. After breakfast etc., I went to see Mrs. Willmott  and read her some political news! Wrote letters and paid bills.  Pa and Kate and I had a game of bridge between tea and supper.  Long religious discussion with Kate – very interesting.

Monday, 12th October, 1931

Got up at 6.30.  Kate and Isobel left by the 8.20. Took Pa’s breakfast up to him.  Had a very busy morning getting ready to go to Swindon.  Did a most satisfactory amount of clearing out! Pa and I left about   2.45 or 3. Got to Mrs. Beck’s soon after 5. Had some tea and in the evening drove round to 5 different meetings in the various wards.  Ended up at 10.15 at Upper Stratton and got back to Mrs. Beck’s soon after 11.

Tuesday, 13th October, 1931

After breakfast Pa wrote his election address and I wrote my bit. We then went to the Office and arranged various matters re meetings, leaflets and work generally.    Back to Mrs Beck’s to lunch and afterwards went out and did a bit of shopping and went to the Office and to Miss Seymour’s.  Saw Mrs. Townley and had a long talk – back to Mrs. Beck’s again.  Printer called and we went over proofs and had tea, tidied ourselves and drove round to 3 more meetings of workers;  Rodbourne, Rodbourne Cheyne and Highworth.  Home again and had some tea and talked to the Beck’s.  Pa sat up preparing his speech for his nomination meeting tomorrow night.

Wednesday, 14th October, 1931

Pa went up to town today for a trustee meeting and didn’t get back till 6.  I spent the morning sewing and writing letters.  Mrs. Beck and I went to a small women’s meeting which I addressed, I think quite successfully!  Got home by 4. Chris and Brigit arrived about 4.30 or 5. I went with them to Milton Road to leave their luggage and change their clothes.  We all had a meal here and walked on to the nomination meeting in the Drill Hall – over 3,000 people, a really magnificent meeting.  Cripps spoke splendidly as also did Pa.  I was given a lovely bouquet of red and white carnations.  The whole meeting listened intently and intelligently and seemed to take the situation really seriously – it was very fine.

Thursday, 15th October, l931

Chris and Brigit came along after breakfast and after a bit of talk he and Pa fetched his and our cars.  Pa went to the office and Chris, Brigit  started for Peterley and London.  I joined Pa and did a bit of checking of addresses.   After lunch Pa went canvassing  and I went to Beatrice Street  and started work there folding leaflets.  Came home about 5.30, had tea and tidied and drove to South Marston  and Blunsden.  Two very good little meetings.  We engaged Perryman to drive me today for a bit and he got on very well.  We got home tonight soon after 10.

Friday, 16th October, 1931

Went to the office soon after breakfast and then Pa and I fetched the car and he went to the town hall for Nomination.  We then did a little shopping and I went to Beatrice Street and did some work and then went home to lunch.  Then spent from 2.30 to 5.30 at Beatrice Street sitting folding  and packing in a very minute room  with two elderly gents  and about 7 talkative ladies.  After tea Pa and Mr. Ashley and I did 4 meetings.  Castle Easton where several of the local “gentry” came to heckle and got very dignified answers,  Hannington, Stanton Fitzwarren and Lower Stratton – all very good meetings.  Got home at 10.30.

Saturday, 17th October, 1931

Left directly after breakfast for my committee room and worked there all morning.  Returned after lunch until 5.  Back to Mrs. Beck’s for tea and found Chris had arrived.  Pa did two lots of “mass” canvassing morning and afternoon and went after tea to speak at Frome.  Chris and I went and did a lot more work   at the Committee room and then sat by the fire at Mrs. Beck’s till nearly 11 when we went and picked up the car and Pa at the station and drove home.  Arrived just before 2.  Brigit was here and had some lovely tea and sandwiches for us.  The boiler had been mended and the kitchen all cleaned and everything looked lovely.  We didn’t come to bed till nearly 3  and I had a hot bath and got to bed about 4.

Sunday 18th October, 1931

Got up at 8.45, dressed and fetched all the breakfast up to Brigit’s room.   Isobel arrived about 10 and Kate and two of her “Poles” came about 11.30. Cooked dinner and after dinner and hen feeding I gathered flowers and vegetables and went to see Mrs. Willmott after tea.  Did a lot of tidying up.  Nick came after lunch and left after supper.

Monday, 19th October, 1931

Got up soon after 6, took tea to the girls, cooked their breakfast and got them off with their flowers and vegetables by the 7.50.   Took tea to the others and we all had our breakfast. Brigit went by the 9.35 and Pa and Chris and I got off soon after 10.  Got to Swindon by about 12.30.  Pa went to the office, I unpacked – after lunch Pa went canvassing and Chris and I worked at Beatrice Street.  Back here for tea and Father Blair was here.  Pa left at 5.54 for Newport. Chris and I went to the office and then on to Beatrice Street again.  Got back here about 9.  Talked to Mrs. Beck, had supper and read the papers and came to bed about 12.  Chris went the Seymours to sleep.  He and I took his bag there after tea and saw the old lady and her daughter.

Tuesday, 20th October, 1931

Chris came round while we were at breakfast and after that we went to work at Pembroke Street. I called at the office and then at Beatrice Street  and finally did a good morning’s work at Ferndale Road filling envelopes.  Back here for lunch.  Pa went and canvassed Stratton and I did more work at Ferndale Road and at the office.  Chris continued his job. We all met for tea.   Major Milner  joined us  and after work we did 4 meetings  and Milner did  3, all at different schools – very good audiences and very enthusiastic.  Got home about 10.30, had tea and corrected proof of leaflet  and Pa sat up over another leaflet.  I got to bed about one.

Wednesday, 21st,  October, 1931

Worked at office all morning – Chris at Pembroke Street.  Pa also busy – had 2 dinner hour meetings: he lunched at the Clergy house in Milton Road.  After lunch he and I went to a packed women’s meeting at Highworth.  They gave us some lovely flowers and we had some good tea.  After our evening meal here we did 4 meetings: Clifton Street, Lethbridge Road, Roadbourne Cheyne and Gorse Hill. Ashcroft and Greenfield came in late to see us and we were as usual very late to bed.

Thursday,  22nd, October, 1931

Pa spent most of the morning writing – he had two dinner hour meetings.  I went to see Mrs. Seymour to settle up Ashcroft staying there.  Chris and Ashcroft worked in South Ward – we all had lunch at Mrs. Beck’s.  Pa and I had a women’s meeting in the Co-op Hall, about 600 women, rather like the parrot house at the zoo. We had a speaker from Bristol as well and she came on to tea here.    Perryman drove Pa to Reading at night to speak there and he got home soon after 11.  Isobel arrived about 9.30 or 10. I had walked down to meet her but she had forgotten to change and found herself at Oxford! So had to come back.  Ashcroft spent his afternoon and evening bicycling round the villages and did some excellent work.

Friday, 23rd, October, 1931

Pa and I went to the office after breakfast and I worked there and brought home a mass of folding to do.  Ashcroft and Isobel canvassed and he did the same after lunch.   After lunch Isobel slept and I folded.  Five meetings in the evening,  Highworth, 2 Strattons, Blunsdon and Jennings Street. At this latter Isobel spoke and we were told she did very well.  They were all excellent meetings but far too much for one night and Pa was terribly tired. Gordon Macfarlane came down to help and Chris who had been in town all day brought Brigit here at night.

Saturday, 24th October, 1931

Pa had breakfast in bed.  The family all went to its usual committee rooms and canvassing.  Brigit wrote up cards at home.  Pa and I went to an open air meeting at Pinehurst and when we got back Brigit and I went shopping.  After lunch they all went working again.  A reporter came and interviewed Pa.  Kate and Bella came about 6 and after tea we separated again.  Pa and Kate and I with Mr. White went to meetings at Haydon Wick, Hannington and South Marston.

Sunday, 25th October, 1931

Went to church at 7.45 at St. Mark’s.  During the morning Isobel and Stella took Mrs. Beck for a drive in Stella’s car.  I peeled potatoes and did the vegetables and watched the dinner.  After dinner Kate and Stella left for town.  Isobel and Ashcroft went for a walk. In the evening Pa and I went to a meeting of our workers at the office – very enthusiastic and full of hope.  Wrote to Mike and Katie.

Monday, 26th October, 1931

The family went canvassing as usual. In the afternoon Mrs. Townley and I went to a women’s meeting at Pinehurst and at night we had a big meeting at Highworth and 2 in Swindon.

Tuesday, 27th October, 1931

Polling day – I spent all morning with Brigit in the Salisbury Street Committee room – awful mess there – went back after lunch and found there were plenty of helpers.  Brigit and I did some shopping and returned home and we both had a good wash and clean up.  At 10 o’clock we began to listen in to the results and our hearts sank at the terrible debacle – what can be accomplished by money and false tongues.

Wednesday,28th October, 1931

We all went to the town  hall at 11 – a sorrowful day.  After lunch we toured round the constituency in four cars and were greeted by our friends as though we had won! After tea and packing up we started for home between 7.30 and 8 – Chris and Brigit leading in the Morris, then Isobel and Ashcroft in the Ford and Perryman driving Pa and me in the Austin.  Got home about 10.

Thursday, 29th October, 1931

Wilfred drove Perryman back to Reading.  Did a good deal of tidying up, we were all terribly tired and disheartened.

Friday, 30th October, 1931

Michael arrived home about 11 p.m.  Chris met him at Reading.  Kate arrived by the 11.40 p.m.

Saturday, 31st October, 1931

Isobel came home at 2.15.  I went to see Mrs. Willmott in the evening.