But just how much information could I glean from this little collection and what stories would it contain?
Miss Annie Elizabeth Brandle, (Auntie) single aged 48, Librarian, of Newnham Rd London N22
A clipping from the “The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser” dated the 29th November carried the notice that mail from UK had arrived aboard the Rajputana and would be ready to collect from 9.00am the following morning. The little party of travellers must have disembarked and decided to have a farewell dinner before onward travel to their final destinations. The venue chosen was the “Eastern & Oriental” one of the World’s top hotels, owned and run at that time by the famous Sarkies Brothers.
Storm Clouds Brewing and Dark Days Ahead
The Mrs Bloomfield Douglas
I don’t think the heat and colonial life must have suited my grandpa much as although I cannot find his return passage to the UK, he is nonetheless fit and well and playing rugby for Berwick upon Tweed against Gala on the 9th December 1930. (They lost by the way!)
Frederick Henry Cooke “Rastus” married Winifred Violet Howe at the British Consulate, Bangkok on the 15th April 1932. At the time he was still in the employ of the Bangkok Dock Company. Rather alarmingly I did find him on an outward passage heading back to Thailand on 26th September 1939. How and where he spent the duration WW2 is unknown. He died at his family home of Belaugh House, Wroxham, Norfolk on the 19th October 1952 aged just 53.
Annie Elizabeth Brandle “Auntie” appears to have returned to the UK in February 1933. She died unmarried at her home in Edmonton in March 1944 aged 63.
During WW2 both were occupied by the Japanese, but these “granddames” of luxury hospitality have stood the test of time and remain today at the top of the tree when it comes to lavish accommodation in the old colonial style.
The Eastern & Oriental too has witnessed much change in her time, which can be read about in the book “E&O Hotel – The Pearl of Penang”.
UNITED SERDANG (SUMATRA) RUBBER PLANTATIONS LIMITED
Neilson Hays Library, Bangkok now an Historic Monument
Stone House Mental Asylum Records
History of the E & O Hotels
Singapore Newspaper Archives
P&O Lists courtesy of Bjorn Larsson