Randell diary 1869-76

 This is a transcript of a diary kept by Alfred Luke Randell between 1869 and 1876.

Alfred Luke Randell (their surname was consistently spelled this way) was born in Cirencester in 1856. His father was Geoffrey Randell who came to Stroud to be the High Bailiff of Stroud County Court. The family lived on Lansdown and the 1871 census puts them in the fifth house along, three entries before The Vicarage.

In April 1869 (at the age of 13) Alfred took up an apprenticeship with a furniture maker and his diary entries over the next few years show that his work eventually took him to different parts of England, and to Dublin.

SLHS has two more Randell records: a 1930s diary of the adult Alfred’s time on the Isle of Wight, and an 1895 article in the Stroud News about Geoffrey and John Randell. The transcriber of the 1869 diary – Alfred Hollis Randell – became a professional musician, lived and worked in South Africa, but retired to live in Hampshire. He died in 1965. And there is a very odd book by Geoffrey Randell on Google Books that describes how he and his sister Sophie fell for a string of hoax letters from a criminal con man, pretending to be their brother John who had gone to Australia in 1831. Not a good advertisement for a man who was to be High Sheriff of Stroud!

The SLHS copy of Alfred’s diary is a typescript and I used OCR to transfer it to my computer. I have corrected as many OCR errors as I can find (and apologise for any I missed). I have not been consistent in maintaining all the full-stopped abbreviations used in the original but  I have inserted Monthly headings to make the pages easier to read, although not all months were identified.

[My comments in the text are in blue square brackets, like this]

Marion Hearfield, April 2015

Stroud Local History Society



1869 – 1876

A transcription of the diary of Alfred Luke Randell, of Lansdown, Stroud, in the county of Gloucestershire: master cabinetmaker, linguist, and European traveller, by his grandson, Alfred Hollis Randell (who has added explanatory or biographical detail in places, in brackets like this).


1st January: John (Randell) and I went to Cirencester by the 8.01 train We took a return ticket to Tetbury Road, and walked from there to Cirencester; we came back to Tetbury Road, in Mr. Smith the fishmonger’s trap, and got home by the 5.30 train, p.mp, Reverend Will & Mrs. Stapleton slept at our house (Lansdown House), the same night.

2nd: Went to a party at Mr. Dudbridge’s, and spent the evening there. John (Randell) & I went to spend a night at Mr. Smith’s. In the evening, we went with Will Smith & Tom Barnard. (Walked to Telbury Road at night, and reached Stroud by the 12.11 mail train). To Rendcombe in Mr. Smith’s trap. The next morning, went with Will Smith for a walk; in the afternoon, went for several miles in a boat on the canal, with Will Smith and Tom Barnard.

3rd: We had a party, composed of Rev. Mr. Ridsdale’s family, H, Plested, Joe Stone, R. Bell and sister, Kitty & Arthur Dudbridge.

16th: Mr. Webb returned from his first journey, since he had engaged our rooms, which he occupied first on New Year’s Day

17th: John (Randell) & I, went to Mr. Hyde’s for tea.

20th: Went with Watson Face in the evening to “Hamilton’s Excursion to the Continent”, at the Subscription Rooms. John Randell returned to Lowestoft. I walked to Randwick to hear Mr. Welch, who preached there, as Mr. Beerson was poorly.

26th: Went to Juvenile Missionary Service Tea-Making, and to the meeting afterwards, at which Mr Carpenter presided. The speakers were Rev.B. Ridsdale and R. Bell, Messrs. E. Blanch, and G. W. Meats. The amount collected by the boys, with books, boxes, and cards. was about £27 and four shillings by total (13 pounds sixteen shillings originally). I collected, by amount, £1.5.1.

30th: Father (Geoffrey Randell, High Bailiff of Stroud County Court, Accountant, and Methodist preacher, born Chedworth, Gloucestershire, 17.4.1806., d,17.3.1872 at Stroud, and who married Mary Hollis, daughter of well-known Methodist, James Hollis, which latter was born at West Cowes, Isle of Wight, and who died at Plymouth, Devon, 14,2, 1896) received a letter from his brother John Randell (American and Australian resident, who left Stroud in 1831 for Australia[1], returning to Stroud in 1854, which same year he left for the United States of America, returning to the United Kingdom in 1855, whereafter he returned to Australia in 1861, to reside at St. Kilda, near Melbourne). According to press cuttings (i.e, from “Stroud Journal”), John Randell was “a gentleman of considerable wealth acquired in the Antipodes”, i,e., “£500 in gold”.

31st. Mr. Rouse called this evening.

February 1869

5th February: Rev. E. Beeson slept at our house at night.

8th: 1 went to Brimscombe and Amberley, and got back a little before 2 pm.

9th: I went to the Butter Row in the morning, and in the afternoon.

March 1869

lst March: Went to Woodchester in the afternoon.

11th: Went to see the fireworks displayed by Mr. Gyngell in the Great Western Field, and also to the Panorama afterwards at The Subscription Rooms.

17th: Anniversary of the day we first slept in our house at Lansdown.

26th: Uncle Moses Sly slept at our house.

27th: I was apprenticed to Mr. Rouse, the Indentures dating from March 5th. Mr, Gay, the chemist, poisoned himself at Bath.

April 1869

12th April: Large drops of rain fell in one afternoon, as large as a five-shilling piece.

10th: I went to Randwick, to the evening service with Moses Sly.

27th: Mr. James Harper, of Ebley, died at the age of 51. The Wesleyan Missionary Meeting was held; the Reverend W.J. Radcliffe & Rev. H. Burson slept at our house.

May 1869

3rd May: I went to work at six o’clock for the first time.

23rd: Mr. Harper’s funeral service was preached by the Reverend B. Ridsdale.

29th: The Sunday School Sermon was preached by the Rev. Luke Syerman, of London; the sermon in the morning occupied one hour and three minutes; service over at 12.00, and service in the evening was one hour seventeen minutes, the service over at 8.00. In the afternoon, an address was given by the Rev. B. Ridsdale; the collections amounted to £21.7.0¾.

28th: Hollis’s 21st Birthday . (The diarist’s brother, James Hollis Randell, Trustee, Circuit Chapel Secretary, and Senior Preacher of the Stroud Wesleyan Methodist Church; Treasurer of the Teachers’ Mutual Aid Association, b. Cirencester, d. Stroud 1910, married to Kate Randell)

29th: The Oddfellows & Foresters’ Fete was held in a field on the Pakenhill Road.

July 1869

July lst: The Wesleyan Sunday School Treat was given in Mr. Pegler’s Field.

4th: The Reverend W.W. Laskey preached in the Circus, London Road in the evening, and had a very crowded attendance.

18th: The Rev. W.H. Jones of America, preached- in the Wesleyan Chapel, morning & evening, for the purpose of raising funds To educate and support 800,000 poor black children, who have become poor in consequence of slavery.

19th: I went to the lecture by the Reverend W.H. Jones in the Circus, consisting of a great many life-size portraits of distinguished persons connected with the United States. and also illustrations of different races in connection with slavery, and emblematical illustrations of Scriptural subjects.

August 1869

August 14th: Mr. Gardner, of Stroud, died; verdict, same day, that deceased- commited suicide, being at the time of unsound mind.

The Flower Show was at Stratford Park.

25th: Grandfather (Luke Randell, Accountant of Chedworth, Glos) returned home.

27th: The Life of Mrs. Mary Ann Pearce was read in the evening at the Wesleyan Chapel, by Mr. Carpenter.

September 1869

10th September: Sergeant-Major Watt, of the Yeomanry, was buried in the afternoon, followed by The Yeomanry, and the Rifle Band.

15th September: Mr. Hooper, mill-owner, of Eastington, cut his throat.

October 1869

2nd: At age 15, my father bought me a Velocipede (bicycle).

November 1869

21st. Mrs Polman’s funeral sermon (who died November 3rd) was preached in the evening by the Rev. B. Ridsdale.

December 1869

27th December: I went with John (Randell) to tea at Mr. Dudbridge’s.

30th: Grand Concert to re-open the Subscription Rooms.

January 1870

Jan 2nd: Tea Meeting at ‘the Subscription Rooms. 750 present.

February 1870

25th February: Mr. Bidmead shot himself in the morning; at the inquest, the verdict returned was ” accidental death”.

March 1870

15th: I went to Bristol with H. Houlden.

The Wesleyan Sunday School Sermon was preached by the Rev. J.H. Rigg D.D., Principal of the Wesleyan Normal Training Institution of Westminster, in the morning & evening. The Chapel was crowded in the evening. In the afternoon, the Rev. Burson gave an address; the collections amounted to £26. 10. 0½d.

Whit Monday: H. Houlden & 1 went on our bicycles with the Sunday School to Stinchcombe Hill, & reached Dursley 12.50pm. Had tea in the park on the hill.

26th: Went to the Old Chapel Sunday School Anniversary in the evening

30th Mr. Bowly’s fete at the Horspools.

July 1870

7th July: Went to see the drill at the Stroud & Nailsworth Rifle Corps with the 2nd. Gloucester Corps(City & Dock) on Hampton Common.

10th: Went to the Randwick Sunday School Anniversary in the evening (Sermon by the Rev.H. Burson). Went to the Agricultural Show.

12th: Won the second prize (five shillings) at the Bicycle Race; ——- of Cheltenham won the first, prize (20 shillings)

September 1870

4th September: Went to The Bethel in the morning, and walked to Pakefield in the evening.

5th: Went to Mufford Wood in the afternoon.

7th: We walked to Somerleyton Hall, seat of Sir Francis Crossley, five or six miles; went round the gardens and conservatories, and into the “maze” or puzzle garden, at Lowestoft.

14th: Went to Cheltenham with H.Taylor on bicycles.

24th: The Northern Lights were seen very beautifully at Stroud in the evening.

October 1870

lst October: 1 went to the School of Art for the first, time.

December 1870

22nd: An eclipse of the sun.

25th: The Northern Lights were again visible in the evening, more extensive, but not so brilliant as on the Monday.

Christmas Day: James Hollis Randell, John Randell, Watson Face, & I, went sliding in the morning on a pond near the Slad Road.

27th: We went sliding on Mr. Libby’s pond in the afternoon, and went afterwards to the tea and Public Meeting at the Subscription Rooms in aid of the Sick Poor Visiting Society. T.A.Croome, Esq., in the chair.

28th: Went to W.S.Wooding’s Entertainment at the Subscription Rooms.

30th: Went sliding at night with John Randell on J.W. Ha1liwell, Esquire’s pond (by torchlight); there were a great many on there, and the Rifle Band played there part of the evening.

31st: Went to the Watchnight Service.

January 1871

11th January, 1871: We had town in the house for the first time in 14 or 15 days.

23rd January 1871: New sovereigns issued; device St.George & the dragon.

February 1871

10th February: Uncle Moses Sly died, aged 58 years.

12th: I went to Nash & Ware’s concert at the Subscription Rooms, & am learning to skate.

19th: Rev. T. West preached a sermon in the evening from 2 Kings 2.11, and made some remarks concerning the deaths of Mr Burghope, Mrs. Stone, & Mr.Butcher.

23rd Feb: The tea-meeting of the public meeting held at the Subscription Rooms in aid of the Fund for building a new Wesleyan Chapel. R. Mullings, Esq, in the chair.

26th: I went to the fire at night at Gussidge Mill, Brimscombe, belonging to Messrs. Grist.(.. Hence origin of saying “More grist to the mill”? Transcriber)

31st: The University Boat Race was won by Cambridge. [MH: 31st Feb does not exist!]

March 1871

3rd March: The Census was taken to-day. This day every person who slept in each house on Sunday night, to be entered on the papers, with the age, condition, & relation to the head of the family, etc., of each person.

6th: Robert Griffith came to Stroud in the morning to see T. Overy & me. We went on the Common in the morning, & went to Woodchurch in the afternoon to try and find out Fred Tacon. They had tea at our house & I went to Mr. Overy’s for supper.

8th: Walked to Stonehouse Midland Railway Station with Tom & him.

29th: Went with Mother (Mary Hollis, b.1820, W.Cowes, I.O.W, d 14.2.1898, Plymouth, Devon, mentioned in press-cutting with photo as being, “the daughter of Mr. James Hollis, a well-known Methodist full of good works and Holy life”; this family surname re-appeared in the name of James Hollis Randell of’ Stroud, and likewise in the name of his son, Arthur Hollis Randell, architect, prominent Methodist, surveyor, and master-Mason of St Austell, Cornwall, while approximately 15 members of the Hollis family were listed in the Gloucester & Environs Telephone Directory, 1982), to the Bedford Street Sunday Anniversary in the evening; sermon preached by the Rev.Dr. Brown of Cheltenham; the collections amounted to £43.4.7. The Chapel was very full.

May 1871

May 1st: Went to The School of Art Examinations. (Freehand)

9th: Stroud Fair.

13th: The Wesleyan Sunday School Sermons were preached by the Rev.Ishmael Jones, of Birmingham

29th: Went to the Sunday School Treat in the Chandler’s Field. and went in the evening from there to the Old Lodge on Hampton Common.

30th: Poultry Show held at Stroud; went to the Show in Stratford Cottage Grounds; here there were also Athletic Sports, Racing, Jumping, Sack Racing, &c.

June 1871

5th June: I joined the Young Mens’ Improvement Society at the Baptist Chapel.

18th: Old Chapel Sunday School Anniversary.

25th: Went to the Sunday School Anniversary at Randwick; the Sermons were preached by the Rev. George L. Allen, of Stonehouse.

29th: Mr. Bowly’s fete was held at the Horsepools; H> Taylor & I went to a fete at Nailswood [Nailsworth?] on our Bicycles in the evening.

July 1871

July 26th: Went with the John Street (to Chepstow) Improvement Society on their Excursion.

July 27th, 1871: Went In the evening to the fete of the Stroud Institute at Brown’s Hill.

August 1871

August 3rd: Went in the evening to the Picnic in aid of the new Wesleyan Church, in the grounds of Brownshill House, by permission of Mr. Dickinson.

17th: Went to the Flower Show in Stratford Park.

20th: Stroud Fair for three days.

September 1871

Sept 1st: Went to see the fire at Lodgemoor Mill, belonging to Messrs. Strachan & Co.

18th: Went to Lecture on Phrenology by Mr. Hagarty, at the Subscription Rooms.

October 1871

October 17th: Went to Vance’s Concert at the Subscription Rooms; Miss Evans died in the evening,

November 1871

7th November: Mr.Hooper’s Mill partly burnt down.

November 9th: The Northern Lights           are visible again.

15th: Went to the Meeting of the Science & Art Schools at the Subscription Rooms, and received my prize( a box of Drawing Instruments) for Freehand Drawing.

30th: Went to the Tea & Meeting & Entertainment at the Corn Hall in aid of the Bazaar Fund for the New Wesleyan Chapel.

December 1871

14th December:- Went to Hamilton’s Panorama of the Franco-German War, at the Subscription Rooms.

26th: Went to the Tea-Meeting & Public Meeting at the Subscription Rooms., in aid of the funds of the Stroud Sick Poor Visiting Society. W.J. Stanton, Esq., in the Chair.

January 1872

January 10th: Went to the Annual Supper of the John Street Improvement Society, in the Baptist Schoolroom. 17 members present.

19th: Went in the morning with John (Randell) to measure the large Elm at Swift’s Hill; it measures about 47 feet or rather more in circumference outside, and 13 ft. in diameter inside.

20th: Walked to Gloucester in the morning with John, had some dinner, walked round the Docks, and came home to Stonehouse by train.

22nd: Went to the entertainment at the Subscription Rooms by General Tom Thumb & Wife, Commodore Nutt, & Minnie Warren.

24th: Went to the Good Templars’ demonstration at the Subscription Rooms in the evening.

25th: Went to the Juvenile Missionary Meeting; the total collected was £20.18.8½d.

30th: Great Meeting of the Electors at the Subscription Rooms; Messrs. Winterbothom & Dickinson. S.S. Marling Esq. in the Chair.

February 1872

Feb 27th: The day appointed for the National Thanksgiving for the recovery of the Prince of Wales from his illness. Most of the shops were closed, and the day was observed almost as a general holiday. A treat was given to 800 of the children belonging to the National Day and Sunday Schools in the Subscription Rooms, consisting of a tea, and in the evening, an entertainment, under the leadership of Mr. James Chew.

March 1872

6th March: Arrest of the Claimant in the Tichborne Trial for perjury.

11th March: We began working the 56 hours a week from this day.[2]

17th March: Father’s (Geoffrey Randell, High Bailiff of Stroud) Birthday (66th); he died in perfect peace of mind.

21st March 1872: Father’s funeral took place this day about 3 o’clock p.m. There were present the Rev. John Killick, & Rev. John P. White, Messrs. Joseph Stone, Jnr., Meak, Mortimer, Plested, D. Smith & Woolmer (bearers), Paull, (undertaker), Hyd, T. Dudbridge, Pegler, T. A. Dudbridge, Huntly & Bezzant, most of whom stayed for tea afterwards, also Hollis (James Hollis Randell), John Randell, myself, and Moses Sly.

April 1872

3rd April: Annual General Meeting of the John Street Improvement Society for the Election of Officers, etc.

25th: Examination for the model drawing at the Subscription Rooms, and afterwards to the Musical Entertainment by the Tonic Solfa Singing Class at the Bedford Street School-Room.

26th: Messrs. Butt & Shewdray’s (?) Flour Mill at Wallbridge(?) was almost entirely destroyed by fired, announced about 1.30 a.m.

27th: Went to the Sunday School Anniversary at Bedford Street Chapel. Sermon preached by the Rev. J.P. Allen, of Glo’ster.

May 1872

3rd May: Shares in Hellier’s Bacon Curing Factory were sold by auction for £1 each. (i.e. Father’s 20 shares)

18th: Went to Littleworth Sunday School Anniversary; Rev. H. Burson of Gloucester & late of Cirencester. Mr. W.D. Killick, Rev. J. Killick’s eldest son, died very suddenly in the morning.

20th: Went to the Sunday School Treat at Mr Chandler’s Farm, and afterwards sent to the Common with several others.

21st: Went to the fete of the Gloucester Life Assurance & Sick Benefit Society, at Beeches Green.

22nd: Partial eclipse of the moon at night.

28th: I read my first Essay (on Phrenology) at the Improvement Society.

31st: The alteration of the Great Western Railway, from Stroud, to narrow gauge between Swindon & Milford Haven, has been completed this month.

June 1872

June 2nd: Went to Bisley Chapel in the evening.

13th: Mr J Kemp, the Master of the Stroud School of Art, was presented with a Sliver Tankard by a number of the scholars of the day, and evening classes, as he was about to give up the Stroud School, to remain at Gloucester.

20th: The Excursion of the John Street Improvement Soc., to the Woodhouse, Earth Bathurst’s Park.

23rd: Went to Ryeford Chapel in the evening.

29th: The Rev R Waddy Moss, (who slept at our house the night, and Sunday night,) from the Didsbury Theological Institution, preached at the Wesleyan Sunday School Anniversary. In the afternoon, the Rev S Gregory, from Stonehouse and Eastington Circuit delivered an address to the scholars, and distributed the rewards; he and a few friends had tea & supper at our house afterwards.

July 1872

8th July: Went to the Great Northern Fete at Nuneham Park, near Culham, in aid of the Windows’ & Orphans’ Fund, & walked nearly two miles to the Park from Culham.

20th: Went to Rodborough Tabernacle.

25th: Went to the Conservative Association Fete, held at Bownham Park.

August 1872

(11th August, 1872): Went to the Brimscombe Sunday School Anniversary, in the evening, the sermon preached by the Rev H Burston, of Glo’ster.

14th August: While in Isle of Wight, with Arthur (Budbrey?) of Stroud, we met in Gosport (on the mainland) Mr James Hollis (of Stroud), and had tea with Mrs Pinhorn.

15th August: Stroud Flower Show at Stratford Park.

25th: The Chapel Anniversary; sermons preached by Rev G E Sheers.

28th: Went to the Temperance Fete at Brownhill House.

September 1872

4th Sept: The Wesleyan Bazaar in aid of the new Chapel was opened by S.S. Dickinson, Esq.

5th: Went to the Fete of the Day Schools at Brownhill House, and the Bazaar at the Subscription Rooms.

16th: A detachment (about 120) of the Royal Horse Artillery arrived here in the morning, on their way from the Autumn Manoeuvres on Salisbury Plain, to Cheltenham & Birkenhead, * from their to Dublin, and they were billeted in Stroud for the night, and went away at 8 o’clock on Tuesday morning. About 120 or 130 of the Lancers passed through the town in the morning.

23rd: – Went to an Entertainment by the members of the two Lodges of Good Templars at the Old Chapel Schoolroom, consisting of Songs. Recitations, Dialogues. etc.

24th: Concert at the Subscription Rooms by Miss Fanny Edwards (Mrs H. Clifton)

30th: 1 went from the Cabinet Shop this day, to the Front Shop, to learn the Upholstering. Went to the Meeting at the Subscription Rooms in the evening, (S.S.Dickinson Esq., in the chair) which was to consider the Extravagant Expenditure, Indirect Taxation, & Restrictions on Trade by the present Government.

October 1872

2nd October: Went to hear the Female Christy’s Minstrels at the Subscription Rooms.

17th: Went to the tea–meeting & Entertainment of the Young Mens’ Improvement Society at the Baptist Schoolroom, & read my Essay on Phrenology, and also took part in a Dialogue on Marriage, with P. Ford.

20th: Went to the entertainment in the evening, by a Japanese Troupe at the Subscription Rooms.

November 1872

November 4th: Went in the evening, to the General Meeting of the Conservative Association at Badbrook Hall, for the election of Officers and Committee for the coming year.

5th: Concert at the Subscription Rooms, by Mr. Alfred G. Vance & Company.

9th: Went to Cainscross Church at night.

17th: Went to the Bible Class of the Baptist Schoolroom.

27th: Mr R Chandler, of Stringers Court Farm was buried; he died on the Saturday previous.

29th: Went to the Panorama, representing the principal battle-fields of the Franco-Russian War, and several views, proprietors Pool & Young.

December 1872

1st December: Went in the morning to Woodchester Roman Catholic Church.

10th: Went to an Entertainment by the Royal Temperance (Poland Street) Hand-Bell Ringers.

14th: The funeral sermon for the late Mr. R Chandler was preached in the evening by the Rev J Killick.

26th: Tea-meeting at Subscription Rooms in aid of Sick Poor Society (Chair; S S Dickinson Esq)

30th: Entertainment at the Subscription Rooms by Dr. H J Leslie, Grand Organist of the I. Order of Good Templars.

January 1873

Monday 6th January: Went to the meeting at Wesleyan Schoolroom to arrange for forming a Mutual Improvement Society.

22nd: Went to a concert at the Subscription Rooms, given by Mr.Chew, in aid of the Stroud Hospital.

23rd: Went to the Tea and Public Meeting of the Juvenile Missionary Society. John Randell returned to Glasgow.

27th: Went to a Lecture at the Subscription Rooms on “Old Rome”, by H S P Winterbotham, Esq., M.P., who has recently travelled in Rome, and the neighbour hood.

31: Robert Griffith came by train to stay here Sunday.

March 1873

1st March: Went to Rodborough Tabernacle at night.

29th: The University Boat Race won by Cambridge.

April 1873

7th April: Went to a Concert at Badbrook Hall.

8th: Went to the Service of Song, Illustrative of “The Pilgrim’s Progress”, at the Wesleyan Chapel.

11th: Went to the Tea-Meeting & Entertainment of the John Street Improvement Society, and took a part (Levi), in the Sacred Drama of Joseph and his brethren, of which we performed the first four parts.

21st: Went by an Excursion Train from Stonehouse to Birmingham.

21st: Went to a Concert of Old English Music at the Subscription Rooms in aid of the fund for building a new organ in Stroud Parish Church.

23rd: Went to a meeting at the Subscription Rooms, held by the United Kingdom Alliance, to consider the subject of Prohibition of the Liquor Traffic. The Speakers were General Neale Dow, of Maine, U. S. ; Dr. F.R. Lees, Mr. Scholfield, and others. S S Marling, Esq., in the chair.

May 1873

Thursday May lst: Went to the School of Art Examination for Model Drawing at the Black Boy Schoolroom, and the School of Art Examination for Geometry at the School, High Street[3], Stroud.

7th: Oratorio at the Subscription Rooms(Sampson) by the Stroud Choral Class.

11th: The Sunday School Anniversary Service, preached by the Reverend Thomas Hughes of Stockport, morning & evening; In the afternoon, Mr.W. J. Jubb delivered an address to the Scholars & friends on ” Memory”. The collections amounted to £19. 2. 7.

20th: To hear the female Christy’s Minstrels.

25th: Went to the Littleworth(?)Sunday School Anniversary in the evening; the Rev. H. Burson preached in the morning & evening, and Rev. W.W.Laskey.

June 1873

June 2nd: Went to the Sunday School Treat at Mr. Dorington’s Park at Lippiat(?), and went afterwards in Mr. Ratcliffe’s Field with the Baptist Sunday School.

3rd: Went to Oakridge in the afternoon by train to the Tea-Meeting etc., in connection wit t the Sunday School. The Service of Song was also held.

6th: The Camp of the County Rifle Volunteers on Hampden [Minchinhampton common?], to last for a week.

12th: Went to see the Review of the Rifle Volunteers’ Yeomanry on Hampton Common; went to Brimscombe by train, and walked to the Common, but the Review was over when I got there. [is this the reason why there was a railinged cannon on Minchinhampton Common? there is an old photograph MH]

24th: Went to a Good Templars Entertainment at the People’s Hall.

26th: Excursion of the John Street Improvement Society to Hinchcombe [Winchcomb?] Hill. Lucy Smith came from Cirencester to be bridesmaid at Hollis’s (Hollis Randell) wedding.

28th: Hollis’s birthday & Wedding Day. We went to the Wesleyan Chapel where the Reverends J.Killick & S. Green performed the ceremony; the Ministers, Mrs Goodrich(?), Mrs Bragg, Mr.Yelow(?), Mr. Smith, Mr.Hyde, Mr & Mrs. Dudbridge, Arthur Dudbridge, Hollis & Kate Randell, Miss Moran, Mrs Hyde, Miss Hyde, Miss Smith, Miss L. Smith, Mother & myself were present and afterwards went to tea and supper. Walter Smith, Miss Merrett, Mr & Mrs Ranger, Mrs Ranger Snr, Mr and Mrs Elliott, Miss Beckett, Mrs Killick, Mr C Killick, Mr & Mrs Guest. Hollis & Kate Randell started for Bristol in the afternoon.

July 1873

3rd July: The Promenade Concert in aid of the fund for building the new Hospital was to have been this evening in Stratford Park, but was postponed for a week in consequence of this wet weather.

9th July: The annual fete of the Great Western & Bristol & Exeter Railway Company was held in Blenheim Park, belonging to the Duke of Marlborough. Attended the Oddfellows’ Fete at Cirencester. The principal attraction was Blondin the tightrope-walker, walking blindfolded, with him tied in a sack, carrying a man on his back, cooking an omelette, balancing on a chair on the rope, riding a bicycle, and an acrobatic exercise on the tight-rope.

23rd: Went to Glo’ster by train from Stonehouse, had my photograph taken, walked round the docks, and went to a fete in Stroud, at Stratford Court, in the evening.

August 1873

4th August: Went with H.Plested to Weston-Super-Mare.

7th: Picnic in Field Park, in aid of the Wesleyan Circuit Fund; about 100 to tea.

14th: Went to the Flower Show in Stratford Park.

23rd: Miss Phipps, who was shot by Charles Edward Butt, on August 17th., at Arlington, was buried at Whiteshill Church.

14th: Wotton-Under-Edge Flower Show.

September 1873

27th September: Went to Bedford Street Chapel at night; Funeral Service of the Rev.John Wheeler by Rev John Park.

29th: This day, my indentures were cancelled by mutual agreement, Mr Rouse returning a quarter of the Premium (£12.10), owing to the shortness of work in the Upholstery Trade; went to Glo’ster and became employed at Asbee’s at Bristol Road, Glo’ster. (Ashbee’s Moulding & Joinery Mills.)

October 1873

16th October: Half-Yearly Soiree of the John Street Improvement Society

December 1873

3rd November: Went to the Robin Hood in the evening, to the presentation of a timepiece       to Mr Keaping, Messrs. Ashbee’s manager, this being the evening before his marriage.

7th: Went to a lecture at the Templar’s Hall, St. John’s Lane, by Arundel, Esq., on the Water System of the Globe.

8th: Went by train to Haresfield and walked back to Stroud.

26th December: Went to the Tea-Meeting at the Subscription Rooms, Stroud, in aid of the Sick Poor Visiting Society, the chair taken by S.S. Marling Esq. MP

January 1874

5th January: Walked, home in the afternoon to the Stroud Election. J.C. Dorrington Esq Jnr returned by 2,738 votes, Sir Henry M.Havelock polled only 2,347.

11th: Charles Edward Butt, executed at Gloucester for the murder of Miss Phipps on August 17th at Arlingham. Also at the same time, Edwin Bailey and Anne Berry were executed for poisoning a child, at Horfield, nr. Bristol.

28th: Grandfather died.

29th: Went to Cowes, (Isle of Wight) with Mother.

31st: Went to Grandfather’s funeral; John (Randell) sailed for America from Bristol, on the steamer Great Western.

February 1874

1st February: Went to Southampton and called on Uncle Moses Sly, at Free Hills, Burlesdon. Stroud Election; Messrs. Dickinson & Stanton elected.

3rd: Left Ashbee’s; went to work for Mr. Matthews of Gloucester.

12th: Decoration & Illumination at Gloucester, in honour of the marriage of the Duke of Edinburgh.

April 1874

3rd April: Went to (illegible)-Wood Hill in the afternoon.

6th: Walked to Painswick Hill in the afternoon.

May 1874

May 1st: The Election Petition commenced at Stroud on Monday; on Wednesday, it was closed by Baron Bramwell, declaring that Messrs. Stanton & Dickinson not to have been duly elected.

15th: Election at Stroud; numbers polled by J E Dorington, A J Stanton, R H Brand & G Holloway, not recorded by self.

25th: Went to the Sunday School Tea at Littleworth.

26th: Went to the tea-meeting at Oakridge. The Memorial Stones of the new Wesleyan Chapel were laid in the afternoon, by S S Dickinson, S S Marling, S.Budgett, & G. Ford Esquires. The Alhambra Music Hall at Glo’ster entirely destroyed by fire

31st: Went to Northgate Chapel in the morning, and in the evening to Ryecroft Sunday School Anniversary, sermons by Rev J Clulow.

June 1874

5th June: Fire at the Fleece Hotel, Westgate Street.

7th June 1874: Wesleyan Sunday Schools sermons preached at Stroud by Rev Dr Higg.

26th: Review of the County Rifle Volunteers at Hampton Park, who had been encamped there since Saturday 20th.

27th: Volunteers’ Fete and Gala at Hampton Park.

July 1874

8th July: The petition against Mr Stanton was closed this day by Baron Bramwell, declaring that there was not enough evidence to unseat him. Mr Dorington was un-seated on the previous day, the petition against him having lasted since Thursday the 2nd.

22nd: The comet which has been visible lately, was to have been most plainly visible this night, but in consequence of being very cloudy, it was not seen well.

24th: Stroud Election: Mr L Brand elected by a majority of 82 over Mr James Stanton. (Although I was in Accrington and Southport at the time, I was apprised of the news).

July 1874

8th August: to Manchester

31st: Went to the Subscription Rooms, Stroud, Tea- and Public-Meeting in aid of the new Wesleyan Chapel.


17th May: Went to Sunday School Tea at Littleworth Common.

25th December: After returning from Salford, Scotland, and Dublin, returned to Stroud to attend the tea and public meeting at the Subscription Rooms, Stroud, before re-embarking for Dublin.


15th June: Started at Mr Matthew’s, Gloucester. Went to Cheltenham with Mr Musgrave to see the Agricultural Show, and had a photograph taken in Gloucester.

20th: Went to Newnham with Hollis (Randell) by train, and from there, to Bilson, and Crump Meadow Collieries, returning to Stroud, and calling at Cheltenham, where Hollis bought a bicycle for £3.10 at Dawes, Sherborne Place. I rode home from Cheltenham on Hollis’s bicycle.

8th July: Went to Dursley, with Matthew’s son, on our annual excursion; had lunch and dinner at the “Bell & Castle”, Gloucester.

2nd October: Went to Bristol with Harry & Mrs Plested (of Stroud).

5th November: After working in Wolverhampton, returned to Stroud to have tea, and to spend the evening at Mr Dudbridge’s.

26th December: Went to tea, and spend the evening, at Mr. Woodward’s (my future father-in-law [Alfred married Sarah Ann Woodward in 1877]).  New Wesleyan Chapel, Castle Street, Stroud, opened for Service, Rev Dr Prinshon preaching the opening ceremony (sermon) in the afternoon, to be continued for several Sundays afterwards by the Rev T B Stephenson, and Dr Rigg.


1st January: Went for supper to Mr Ellis, at the Vatch Mills.


NB: Hereafter follows a ‘gap’ until 1930, when the Diarist and his wife, together with his elder son Sydney Randell (also from Stroud) moved to London to live opposite his cousin, Wilfred Lawson Randell, (also of Stroud), well-known author, writer, and Editor-in-Chief of the “Electrical Press”. Alfred Luke Randell’s younger son, (the writer’s father), Jeffrey Randell, of Stroud, was a master-jeweller and watchmaker, and served in the 22nd. Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps in the first World War, and is featured in three photographs as observer/pilot/air mechanic, in Arch Whitehouse’s book “Hell in the Heavens”, and in one photograph in the “Popular Flying” Magazine.

The writer [Alfred Hollis Randell], was educated in Switzerland and, due to being a chronic asthmatic since birth, returned to England in 1938, where he taught languages and music, joined the famous Felix Mendelssohn’s Hawaiian Serenaders in 1940, on their films, recordings, television, stage, and broadcast engagements, and as featured steel guitarist, guitarist, vocalist, and ukuleleist with the band, played at the Ritz, Stroud, under his professional name of “Kealoha Life” (derived from his mother’s maiden name “Life”) on the 19. 7. 1942, when he had the pleasure of re-visiting the home of his antecedents. After visiting French-Canada, Nova Scotia, and the USA he spent twenty years in South Africa, South-West Africa (now Namibia), and Portuguese East Africa (now the Republic of Mocambique) as orchestra-leader and radio and recording musician, travelling 45,000 miles through Southern Africa by train and car to fulfill engagements, with four return trips to England via the Canaries, Madeira, and St Helena, terminating his ‘tour’ in the Kruger National Park Game Reserve, which he opines, was the most terrifying experience of his life! His son, Jeffrey Lani Randell, born in Capetown, is a Mormon Elder (thus diverging from his family’s life-long association with Wesleyan Methodism) whose hobby is singing, and lives, with his family near his father, who is 67, and has retired in Hampshire.



[1] 1831 was the year that governments started offering assisted passages to Australia, so John Randell was one of the first. Immigrants had to be able to read and be in good health. MH

[2] 1874 Factory Act raised the minimum working age to nine; limited the working day for women and young people to 10 hours in the textile industry, to be between 6 am and 6 pm; and reduced the working week to 56½ hours.

[3] The School of Art was then still above Mills’ shop at 58 High Street MH