07 April 2011

Frederick Weiss' journey from India to England

My father has a photocopy of some handwritten notes of Frederick Weiss', from when he journeyed home to England from India. Aside from the fact that I don't think I have ever read less legible handwriting from a 14 year old, it's quite informative, as it goes through the route taken, how long it took, and he also appears to have totted up his expenses as well. I guess if you are a 14 year old orphan you do have to make sure you manage your money carefully...

I transcribe it here:

Left Kotrie (Kotri, now in Pakistan) 16 Sep 1853.
Arrived Karrachee (Karachi, Pakistan) 20th Sep, arrived Bombay (Mumbai, India) 25th, in Aden 6th Nov, Suez 12th.
Left Suez at 9am on the 12th Nov, arrived at Cairo on the 13th at 1/2 past one o'clock.
I left again on the 15th at 1/2 past eight am, arrived at Alexandria the following morning.
Remained there five days.
Left again on the 20th Nov, reached Malta 25th at morning.
Remained 6 hours.
At Gibraltar 30th and remained 6 hours and arived at Southampton on the 5th Dec in the morning, reached London by the train at 1/2 past 6pm, and 73 Upper Norton St at 1/2 past 7pm.
[Illegible heading]
From Kotrie to Karrachee [illegible denomination - possibly "Rs" - rupees?] 14
From Karrachee to Bombay 42
Free passage to Suez Table money from Bombay to Suez 100
Suez to Alexandria 100-
Hotel expenses 30-
From Alexandria to Southampton 380-
Railway carriage -9-
Subtotal: 675
2 overcoats (Bombay) 40-
2 ditto (London) 22-8
2 cloth caps 8-
Total: 741-8-
Transit through the D[illegible] £5-
Hotel at Cairo 1-
Hotel Alexandria 2-10-
Passage in P&O Steamer Ripon 30-
Carriage to the College at Malta -5
Railway carriage from Southampton to London -19-
Cab hire 4-
Agency clearance -10-
Dock [something] and porterage -18-
Extra packages -14-
Boat in Alexandria 2-
Highbury College £25-
6 for Boots 2-10-
Tutor 5 months 5-5-
Edinburgh Institution 12-
Books etc 2-10-
June - Steamer twice to and from London 6-
Sep - Twice to and from Glasgow 1-
Jan - to and from London 3-
Feb - E.W., D.[7?] £4-
Presents 2-10

Certainly it would appear that the young Frederick wasn't the kind to write a diary, as we learn absolutely nothing about what the trip was like, what he saw, who he met, whether it was good weather on the ships etc. But we know that he travelled on the P&O Steamer Ripon, and he paid fees to both Highbury College and the Edinburgh Institution in 1854. The Edinburgh Institution appears to have been a private boys school - I'm not sure what age he would have finished school and then gone on to train for a profession. Highbury College was a teacher training college and Frederick did ultimately become a school teacher. He also paid for a tutor for 5 months - what was the tutoring for? Did he know someone at 73 Upper Norton St (now known as Bolsover St, in Marylebone), or did he just lodge there briefly on his way to school? Did he travel by himself? When did his brothers return to England - we know that Egmont definitely did because he is in the 1861 English census. Who were the presents for?

Ultimately the document does raise more questions than it answers, but it's interesting all the same to learn some details of his journey to England from India.


  1. Wonderful detail on Frederick Weiss in your blog - what a lovely surprise to discover it! Frederick was my great great grandfather. Would love to obtain a photo of him if there is one! Thank you for such interesting detail. Regards, Meralyn

  2. Meralyn, there is one photo of Frederick that I know of, and everyone who has a photo of him has the same one! I'll see if I can get hold of a copy and post it on the blog for you. Which of his children are you descended from?

  3. Prue, do we have a death certificate for Charles in India and if so, are his parents listed? I have descended from Adelaide.

  4. Meralyn, I only have a copy of the burial register, which lists his burial records (buried 15th Dec 1845, Charles N Weiss, aged 50, Serjeant H M 17th Regt, buried Back Bay by Wm Dinan). I'm not sure that there are death certificates available for British subjects who died in India. I've never thought about that... something to investigate - if one did exist it would, of course, all hang on whether Benigna knew her husband's parent's names, which so often it seems spouses didn't!

  5. Meralyn, my research suggests that there won't be any death certificate - the British Library India Office would most likely have anything that there is, and they only have baptism, marriage and burial records. Good thought while it lasted though!