Have you ever dreamed of opening a box and finding inside something unexpected and fascinating?
That is what happened to me, back in 2005, following the death of a dear friend, for whom I had acted as Executor. Before his last illness he left a large trunk in our care, telling us it was his family papers. Only after his Memorial Service did I look inside the box.
The main items were the diaries of his grandfather, who had been Head Gardener at Palé Hall, near Bala, mid Wales, the home of the Robertson family, Henry Robertson being an engineer, ironmaster and railway builder. The Robertson family appears throughout the diary pages after 1869.
Thomas Ruddy’s second wife was a member of the interesting Pamplin family, originally nurserymen, and then botanical booksellers with links to Charles Darwin and Thomas Hooker. They too make their appearance in the diaries an other material from the treasure chest.
Thomas was an enthusiastic amateur geologist, contributing greatly to the geological understanding of his time. Under the guidance of the Professor of Geology at Cambridge University, he published a paper for the Journal of the Geological Society, and also won the prestigious medal of the Chester Society of Natural Science – no mean feat for a man who was largely self-educated. Geology and botany will appear here, together with delightful walks that can be followed today.
Then there is the matter of the visit of Queen Victoria in 1889….
This blog is intended to explore the life, work and contacts of a fascinating Victorian, typical of his age. I hope to build up a picture over time, and to keep alive the memory of a remarkable man.