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Mrs Columbus Goes to Sea

While not exactly about Brompton-on-Swale, I hope you find this interesting.

This is the 1948 diary of my Great Aunt Elsa Paxton - an American lady who married my Great Uncle George Paxton (from Richmond). George emigrated in the early 1900s, married Elsa and constantly promised that he would one day take her to see his beloved Richmond. Two World Wars got in the way. George applied for tickets (a lottery) on a ship to take them to England after World War 2, but tragically he died in 1945 and he never saw Richmond again. Elsa, his widow, finally received news that she had a ticket in 1948 ! Despite many reservations - she decided to come to England, alone, to meet her in-laws in Richmond.

Elsa kept a remarkable diary over 5 months, detailing her travels. Much is about Richmond, but she also visited relatives in Stokesley, Doncaster, Sussex, London, Edinburgh and other places. Her diary gives a great insight into post war England and is obviously from the perspective of an American lady - encountering all sorts of differences from what she was used to - the people, the food, the money, the language and rationing !! As you will see, Elsa clearly fell in love with Richmond and Swaledale. This is a long read - entries for almost every day over 5 months, but I hope you find it fascinating. There are some great anecdotes and stories. I have also added to the text (which remains in Elsa's own words) with pictures and links to give further context.




Elsa (seated) - 1948 - on a ramble somewhere near Richmond (if anyone knows where this is - let me know!)

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