Tracking the travels of my great-grandfather, Alfred John Liversedge, is proving difficult; in his adventures in sugar he hardly stayed anywhere long enough to leave a mark. There are some photographs but most have a minimal description, with the plantation name rather than the country and no date. But there are a few letters that were saved in my great-aunts sewing box.
The earliest dated 22ndMay 1890 was written from Plantation “Albion” to his daughter, Ethel, my great-aunt, when she was four. This would correspond to the time I think he was in British Guiana (now Guyana). Planation “Albion” in Guyana has grown into the town of Albion and is now home to the largest sugar manufacturer in the Caribbean region. In his albums AJL has photographs of Berbice now one of the suburbs of Albion and of Plantation “Montrose” taken from Plantation “Vryheids Lust” (Dutch for Secret Hope).
I have found an account of Albion Plantation in the memoirs of Bruce Watson who was born on the plantation in 1928. The Albion he remembers was “28,000 acres, 25,000 of which was plantedout in sugar canes. Every field in crop was surrounded on four sides by canals, the back end of the estate being a dammed water conservancy. There were approximately 400 miles of canals grid-like between the cane fields.” My great-grandfather’s letter gives me little idea of his life there; it is lovely letter from a father to his little daughter, thanking her for sending him “all those nice kisses” and asking her
to give mama a kiss from him at her bedtime. He says “I am writing this letter in my bedroom, out at a place in the country where they make sugar; and just under the window there are a lot of Koker nuts growing.” He includes a sketch of himself, a “solemn looking man”.
He describes coming into his room and finding a small bird there which he catches and releases out of his window, it had a long bill and “white features on its breast and beautiful dark coloured feathers on its back and wings”. He ends by sending her lots of kisses. Although obviously I would have preferred a letter giving a detailed picture of the house and his life there I expect this has survived because of the gentle words and fondness he shows in it. I am sure it must have been much prized by my great-aunt as she grew.