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Great-grandpa in Albion

Posted by on April 4, 2014

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.

Plantation Montrose from Plantation Vryheids Lust

Plantation Montrose from Plantation Vryheids Lust

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.”[1]  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

Drawing of a bird from AJL's letter 1890

Drawing of a bird from AJL’s letter 1890

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”.

AJL self portrait Albion Plantation British Giana 1890

AJL self portrait Albion Plantation British Giana 1890

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.

 

Barbara

2 Responses to Great-grandpa in Albion

  1. Susie Gutch

    Exciting to have found those letters, photos and drawings from your great-grandfather’s travels.My great-grandfather travelled to Mexico in 1907,[ with my grandfather aged ca 20] , and I have a few faded photos of the trip, one of which is entitled ‘Cane for the crushers in Sugar Mill, Mexico.’ There are also various photos of factories under construction. My gt grandfather was a close business associate of Julius Drew who founded The Home and Colonial Stores, so maybe he was doing some local research into sugar production on his behalf.

  2. soomdat Ragoo

    My father called my mother Watson. She is one of three sister who grew up in Albion, Guiana. There father was Watson may be you have some extended family

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