The last letter I have that my great-grandfather, Alfred John Liversedge (AJL), wrote to his children is from 1912. He is writing to my great aunt, his elder daughter Ethel, by now she is 24 and a young woman. He is with two companions in St Petersbourg in April 1912. This is the time in his life when he seems to have been working more as an independent consultant. The letter is written on headed notepaper from the Grand Hotel d’Europe where they have taken a room so they could have a wash after their all night journey, from where he doesn’t say.. They have been sightseeing “three churches – simply gorgeous, all images and ikons – pictures of the Virgin Mary and of Jesus, worked with gold and set with jewels – extraordinary.”
They have come into the hotel for tea, two glasses and one cake “delicious”. He is very impressed with the city and in particular the Nevsky Prospect, “we have no street in London or elsewhere to compare with the Nevski Prospect here; and when one sees such a magnificent thoroughfare and magnificent buildings one wonders why all the world flocks to London”.
In the hotel they are reading Tuesday’s newspapers which are carrying the first accounts of the Titanic loss.
He signs of by sending her “…ever so much LOVE and so many KISSES and so I remain your loving Dad”.
I am always surprised when I see “Dad” used as far back as this, somehow, in my head, “Dad” is a modern term, far more familiar than I would have expected of this Edwardian gentlemen. My mother always referred to her father as “Daddy” but that may have been because he died when she was still a child. Anyway it seems “Dad” first appears in the 1500s although the Oxford English Dictionary states that they have no evidence of its actual origin which maybe much earlier.