London Walking Tours    with Joanna Moncrieff

The Chigwell Row Medicinal Springs – a ‘lost’ manuscript?

There is one benefit to ending up (by slightly devious means*) on the Chingford Historical Society Committee in that amazing books keep being donated to the Society. I have already acquired several of them – giving the Society a donation of course. Strangely other members of the Society don’t seem to be interested or maybe they have more self control than me!

Often these donations come after a death and the person who donates the books from their late spouse’s collection has no idea how these books were acquired.

One such manuscript which is currently in my possession really should be in a museum. In fact it was originally in a museum being in the Essex Field Club collection held at the Passmore Edwards Museum in West Ham. This museum closed in 1994. We don’t know how this book and the others that were donated with it ended up in a private collection.

The title of the manuscript is ‘A short account of the Mineral Water found at Chigwell Row in the County of Essex’.  
First text page of the manuscript
The manuscript has been bound into a book and the cover page reads “The Chigwell Row Medicinal Springs: a late 18th century account of them by (?) the Rev Dr William Martin Trinder. See article with above title by Miller Christie FLS in Essex Naturalist XVIII 1915 pp60-70. Bound in cloth, January 1919.”
On the inside cover of the book is a bookplate which says ‘Presented by Mr T Fisher Unwin’. 
Cover page to manuscript
Book plate on inside cover
Through the archives of the Essex Field Club online I have found the relevant pages of the Essex Naturalist magazine and they can be read starting here – 0060 which from the evidence I have written above would I think prove they are one and the same book. This article written in 1915 lists the research that has been done to try to find the author of the manuscript. The report also includes a transcript of the manuscript.
1st page of the 1915 article. Read the rest here

1st page of the 1915 article. Read the rest here

I will write today to the Essex Record Office in the hope that they can add this book to their collection and will update here when I hear back from them. It would be interesting to know if someone was able to continue the research to see if the author can be identified.

This does make you wonder what other treasures are waiting to be discovered in people’s bookshelves and attics.

*I was invited to what I thought was a talk about local author and photographer James Brimblebut it turned out to be a committee meeting. By the end of the meeting I was on the committee!

The author of this blog (Joanna Moncrieff) is a qualified tour guide and leads walks in the West End, Islington, Walthamstow and Chingford. 
Details of all Joanna’s walks bookable by groups can be found here