Manuscript Travel Logs, Ephemera Illustrated
TWO VOLUMES. Thick 8vo. 6 x 8.25 inches. Unpaginated. 1., 65 (+ 13 blank) leaves; 2., 105 leaves. Illustrated throughout by 108 postcards, 91 receipts and bills, 90 tickets, 20 programmes and notices, 19 press cuttings and printed extracts, 10 snapshot photographs, 2 telegrams and one cashed cheque (total 341 items tipped or pasted in). Two manuscripts of travels, in Germany during the rise of Hitler and in Spain on the cusp of Civil War compiled by George W. Wallace of 9 Scarth Road, Barnes Common, London S.W. 13, copiously illustrated by the postcards, receipts, tickets and other holiday ephemera acquired on his journeys. The 1931 journey with his wife, Hester, was to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the battlefields of Northern France and Belgium. They travelled by George Lunn's Tours, Ltd. (a company that flourished in the first part of the twentieth century) for the sum of ?16 and left Victoria on 13 August 1931 via Dover, Ostend and N?rnberg. The pair attended the Wagner Festival at Bayreuth, including a performance of G?tterd?mmerung. They returned to N?rnberg for a stay of extensive sightseeing,with coach excursions, including Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Wallace observes: 'This was my first experience of sight-seeing ? la char-?-banc. It is not a good method. For you only see what a guide thinks you should, a great deal of time is wasted at every stop in collecting the party, some of whom manage invariably to get lost.' Obviously their itinerary allowed for flexibility for they decided to leave out Munich, having had 'enough of visible art of all kinds,' and decided to travel on to Salzburg for the Mozart Festival, programs and original tickets preserved where they went to, Don Juan and Die Zauberfl?te. Then on to Innsbruck going to a concert in the Stadtsaal-Restaurant. They travelled by bus to the Brenner Pass but could not cross the frontier to walk into Italy as they had not taken their passports with them. After a short stay in Switzerland at Basel, where they heard a performance of Verdi's Simone Boccanegra, they returned to Victoria via Boulogne and Folkestone. Wallace's 1932 visit was to the recent battlefields of the Western Front, in the company of in the company of Major H. J. Chettle of the Imperial War Graves Commission (later Lt Col, 1882-1958, and Director of Records and Deputy Controller of the CWCG) who was making a visit of inspection. They visited towns and cemeteries, including Arras, Cambrai, Laon, Chemin des Dames, Soissons, Compi?gne and the site of the Armistice, Noyon, Amiens and Albert. Chettle had to return to England but Wallace continued his itinerary and visited the Somme memorial at Thiepval,Vimy Ridge, Arras again, Hazebrouck and finally on to Ypres, including the ceremony at the Menin Gate. He returned via St Omer and Calais. In the Second Volume, beginning in May 1935, George Wallace travelled on the Mac Andrews Line ship SS Carpio a cargo ship. He had mislaid his ticket and luggage labels but had time to visit the offices at Leadenhall Street to obtain duplicates. On the Spanish holiday, Wallace travels largely by sea and because he is on his own for much of the time, has more opportunity to encounter other people, both locals and other foreigners, as well his friend in Ibiza and the captains of the Mac Andrews ships. His outward voyage involves calls or excursions to Pasages, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Santander and Gijon before reaching his destination of Seville. The inland part of his holiday takes him first to Cordoba where in a square 'I saw the only two really handsome women on the mainland, but they were truly superb, with big classical features and imposing dignity. I wished I knew enough Spanish to speak to them and study them; as it was I was intimidated by their haughty look.' In Granada he has obtained an introduction to the former British vice-consul who shows him round, Wallace recording that his hotel has been overrun by 150 German tourists brought up from Malaga in a fleet of cars. Arriving at Alicante, he takes a ferry to Ibiza, where he has a female acquaintance, Stannie, who when she is called away, arranged for 'a very beautiful and fashionable young woman,' Carla, who is with her mother, Madame de la Vallette, to show him round; the snapshots pasted in at this point show the group of friends (Wallace is the older man in the centre of the captioned print) that he socialised with. Wallace takes a whole page to describe the Sunday best clothing of the women. They all pour out of the church in a magnificent group to dazzle the eyes of the admiring spectators: 'I have never seen so many beautiful women in so small a space.' With Stannie now returned, he visits Palma di Mallorca with her before returning to Ibiza and taking ship to Valencia. Here he attends a bull fight and preserves his ticket and other ephemera, which he describes in detail, observing, 'The whole show was a grisly business and I do not want to see another.' In Valencia he boards his returning Mac Andrews line ship, SS Castelar and voyages via Alicante, Cadiz, Seville and the southern Portuguese coast to Lisbon. Here the ship takes on a cargo of cans of sardines and fruit and a great quantity of cork before returning to London on 11 July. At the end of the second volume, Wallace describes a brief five day visit he makes to Holland in late September, to visit Stanny (sic) and Carla from Ibiza. He sails from Gravesend on the Batavier III ' in the same comfort as in 1930,' spending an interesting evening with Mrs Arline Herbert from Hollywood. Arriving in The Hague he is met by his two friends who are currently staying there. They dine out but leave when 'the jazz-band accompanying the dancing becomes intolerable.' The next day he has obviously has arranged to meet Mrs Herbert from Hollywood as he gets the two of them lost on a long evening walk. Wallace, and the two ladies visit Haarlem and the Franz Hals Museum and the next day he leaves The Hague and returns to England from Rotterdam on the Batavier II. THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR. Wallace was fortunate in making his visit to southern Spain in the year before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in August 1936, which immediately affected the region. It is not certain whether the presence of his two friends in the Hague were related to this event. Certainly, however, it dramatically affected the lives of two new acquaintances who had befriended him in Cordoba. He pasted in the trade card of Mr and Mrs Scott of Pittsfield New Hampshire, importers of Spanish Antiques and Embroideries. It was they who advised him on his stay in Granada and gave him an introduction to the vice-consul who acted as his guide. Inserted into the end of Volume 2, is a letter card (postmarked Boston, Mass, Dec 15 1936) from Margaret Scott saying that after twenty five years of living there, they had left Cordoba on 25 September: ' Poor Spain...this is the end of all good things...Bombing became too much for us...when a government plane was being chased we got all the odd bombs he dropped to lighten his plane.' They were planning to leave for England at the end of December and return to Gibraltar to see if they could retrieve their furniture. Obviously the writings of an experienced European traveller, with all their accompanying documentation and ephemera they form a fascinating and highly detailed record of what it was like to travel on the continent in the 1930s.
[Stock No. 26024]