THOMAS HENRY, 1st BARON FARRER OF ABINGER (1819-1899), THOMAS CECIL, 2nd BARON (1859-1940) AND HIS SECOND WIFE, EVANGELINE: LETTERS AND PAPERS
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- SHC Ref No: 2572
- Repository: Surrey History Centre, Woking
- Date: 1853-1947
- Format: Archives
- Description: The letters and papers in this deposit are chiefly those that, having been selected by himself for preservation, then survived the move from Abinger Hall to London in 1946. They relate to most of the activities mentioned above, and from 1900 on letters are particularly useful for Liberal politics in Surrey, and other Surrey matters. Some printed ephemera are bound into the letter volumes. There are, however, regrettably few drafts or copies of his own letters anywhere in the deposit, and his own views are not always apparent. (A number of copies of his letters survive in files retained by the Secretary to the Abinger Hall Estate Company. These, from c.1900 on, deal with the Abinger Schools as well as his own small estate. See 2463/-).
Among the interesting letters to be noted in his letter books are those from Sir Robert Hunter and the other founders of the National Trust, and from Dorothy Hunter; from T C Farrer's brothers-in-law Cecil Spring Rice, in his various diplomatic postings around the world, and Gerald and Bernard Spring Rice, running a farm and mill near Regina in North West Canada (1892 onwards), and sending him statements of their accounts;: from an Oxford contemporary W A B Shand, who went to Australia in 1886, made a legal career in Queensland, becoming a judge; from his younger brother Claude, staying with Sir Courtney Ilbert in Rajputana, India in 1886; from Laura Forster, the novelist E M Forster's aunt, deeply concerned in the affairs of Abinger Hammer. There are a few letters from E M Forster. Of his Liberal friends the most rewarding letters are those from F W Hirst, a continuous correspondent over many years. Parts of some of these letters have been printed by Stephen Gwynn in The Letters and Friendships of Sir Cecil Spring Rice, 2 volumes, Constable, 1929, referred to as 'Gwynn' below.
Among members of the family, particularly noteworthy are letters from the three daughters of Hensleigh Wedgwood (who all wrote partly in a type of speed-writing): Katherine Euphemia, the second wife of T H Farrer, Hope, who married a Wedgwood cousin, and a few from 'Snow' (Frances Julia), Robert Browning's correspondent. Several of the early deaths of the family are attributable to asthma and concomitant chest conditions. The letters provide details of such illness and its treatment during the seventy years after 1860.
Some letter and printed papers of Thomas Henry Farrer (1819-99) are included in this deposit (2572/83-99). They include a bundle for 1886 (2572/92) which has strayed from letters and bundles in an earlier deposit (2463/-). There are several letters from Joseph Chamberlain, and an interesting account of a conversation (on 11 April ) about Irish affairs, written down immediately afterwards by T H Farrer (2572/92/4). Two other groups, those relating to reform at the Board of Trade in 1884 (2572/83) and those from Sir John Lubbock about London County Council business, 1888-92 (2572/93), were evidently regarded at the time as confidential, had been set aside in a locked despatch box. File copies of most of his pamphlets are also in this deposit. There are, of course, many references to public affairs in T H Farrer's letters to T C Farrer included in the bound volumes (2572/1/1-28). T C Farrer had selections from his father's letters typed (2463/-), blue pencil marks indicating which passages were to be so copied.
Evangeline Farrer, as well as sharing in most of her husband's interests, was herself on many national and local committees. To her and to Margaret Vaughan Williams (Ralph's sister) was due the establishment of the Leith Hill Musical Competition (later Festival) in May 1905. She remained an active Chairman until the family moved to London in 1946.
Letters and papers relating to the Festival from 1927-46 (2572/100-114) include letters from Ralph Vaughan Williams and many of the other musicians who took part as conductors, singers and players. Her involvement in many Abinger institutions (Parochial Church Council, Mission Room, Abinger Hammer School, Abinger Women's Hospital Association) is reflected in letters and papers here. There is also interesting documentation on the Dorking War Hospital Supply Depot, which she ran during the first World War (2572/123).
- Level: Collection
- Related Material: An earlier deposit (2463/-) comprises deeds of the Abinger Hall Estate, plans of Abinger Hall, some volumes of estate accounts, personal (and some business) letters of T H Farrer, and correspondence and papers of F M Farrer when Secretary of the Leith Hill Musical Festival. In addition an estate account book, 1891-1903, (when William King was acting as agent) is among the records of the building firm of W & G King (see G150/13). R A Bray of Shere was agent for Lord Farrer for some years during the early part of the twentieth century, and letters for this period are in his letter books (see G85/37/1-2).
A quantity of T H Farrer's papers, largely concerned with currency questions, are in the British Library of Political and Economic Science. Sir Cecil Spring Rice's papers are deposited at Churchill College, Cambridge. The archive of the Commons and Footpaths Preservation Society (see 2572/34-81) has been deposited in the House of Lords Records Office (ref Hist Coll no 109).
- Access Status: Open. All Farrer material may be viewed and photographed under fair dealing without permission. Requests to publish must be referred to the depositor.
- Provenance: Deposited by Anne L Farrer in 1981.
- Bibliography: An obituary of T C Farrer appeared in the Times on 13 April 1940, and in the Surrey Archaeological Collections, volume 47 (1941), pp123-125. The latter lists his own publications in the fields of genealogy and records.
- Arrangement: The records have been arranged into four parts: 2572/1/- to 2572/82/- are the letters and papers of T C Farrer; 2572/83/- to 2572/99/- are the letters and papers of T H Farrer; 2572/100/- to 2572/141/- are the papers of Evangeline Farrer; 2572/142/- to 2572/2/155/- consist of other records.
- For more information contact: Surrey History Centre Collections Catalogue
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