Sunday, 15 March 2009

Thomas's Brother, John, then came to visit and his sisters moved their lodgings to St James's House in St James's Street. The round of sight seeing continues but mostly to places Thomas has already visited so we have already found out what we can about them.

Aug 1 1743
Went to Dr Tayler for advice of my Eyes he Cutt a vain or two in my Temples and gave me Two Bottles & gave him 10/6

(this is beyond comment!)

And, at last, an outing to a new place

Aug 15 1743
Dined with Sisters & Mr Longdon and Mr Fox went to Chelsea to See Sir Robert Walpooles Grotto & Gardens & The Physick Gardens & Don Salteras Rariteys and Cost us a Pieces 2/6

Sir Robert Walpole, famous as the first Prime Minister of Britain, had a house in Chelsea, close to the Royal Hospital.The house was extensively remodelled, into part of the Royal Hospital. Here is a portrait of the man himself.

And this is the only picture I can find which seems to be of the original house (It's the Vanbrugh Orangery). It became the Infirmary and was destroyed in World War II. I had to resorted to paper research to find that piece of information (Pevsner's Buildings of England, no less).

"Don Salteras" was known as Don Saltero but was really James Salter (a glamourous name never did any harm, it seems). His Coffee house and museum were in Cheyne Walk and Benjamin Franklin records visiting to see the curiosities in his autobiography. James Salter had worked for Sir Hans Sloane, whose collections form the basis of the British Museum, and at least some of his exhibits came from his former master's collections. It seems that he added some items of uncertain provenance such as the almost inevitable piece of the true Cross and.... "Pontius Pilate's wife's chambermaid's sister's hat" !

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