Two albums kept by a Mildred Baker of Lennox Street Weymouth dated “1899” and a note states “Age 8”. The second album has an address in Ashley Road Parkstone (near Poole) which has been crossed through and the Lennox Street Weymouth address added again, dated “March 27th 1900”.
The pages comprise a lovely mixture of nature notes, detailing the names of plants and from where they were obtained, a variety of plant specimens affixed (usually by glue, larger ones with tape) and the occasional watercolour drawing or photograph. There are numerous visits to South Dorset and in particular the coastal areas. Other trips further afield are noted including a visit to London, and in particular the Zoo with photographs and several parrot feathers which were picked up and carefully inserted. Many of the Dorset journeys were carried out on bicycles or on walks with her parents, both of whom also seem to have had a keen interest in botany. Tales of their journeys are also included. There is a note of taking tea with “Mr and Mrs Bowles Barrett he is a great botanist and is going to help me” [probably William Bowles Barrett, Lawyer & Botanist, 1833-1915].
A third album is similarly bound in green cloth, and a note inside states “Barbara Baker Witchampton Rectory April 15th 1912 aged 10”, which may give us a clue to the original owner as a Reverend E.W. Baker (assisted by Lord Alington) erected the first Village Hall in Witchampton in 1924, so Mildred and Barbara Baker may have been his children? The third book follows a similar pattern, and is about half full. It breaks at one point for several years (until 1917) when she notes that she had been away at school in Bristol as well as bemoaning the difficulty of walking the coastal path at Portland due to the war. Finally, the last few pages note a different name (“Belinda Parham 3 Arboretum Rd Edinburgh Age 9”) with similar specimens collected during Spring 1949. It is unknown what relation this contributor is to the Baker girls.
A photograph of a young girl is also included and may possibly be one of the Baker sisters. Also three associated letters comprising 1934 2pp from Gerald Allen, Bishop of Sherborne regarding “..your husband’s illness”, 1911 1pp from Frederick Ridgeway, Bishop of Kensington and 1913 2pp from Charles Robertson Honey.