An 1830s Lady’s Travel Journal, continued

from Rosemary Bailey

This article was published in the December 2023 edition of Soul Search, the Journal of The Sole Society

We said in the April edition that we would be continuing the 1830s lady’s travel journal in future journals and that we would go into details of the writer’s ancestry.
George Solly, the Solly co-ordinator, when I asked him for some background wrote: ‘Sarah and her sister, Lavinia, were unmarried daughters of Edward Solly, a wealthy grain and Baltic timber merchant. He lived in Berlin when they started on extensive European travels, described in the diary. Sarah’s great-grandfather was John Solly (1660-1747) who was an ancestor of mine.’
He sent me across a tree which gives some details about the father of the children, Edward Solly (1776–1844). You may remember the article in the August 2021 journal by Peregrine Solly which detailed his experiences at the Battle of Leipzig (1813) and his epic journey back to England through enemy territory to report that it had been won. If you are interested you can read it at
The Solly family can be traced back to Stephen Solly who married a lady with the surname Harfleet in 1509. Prior this the tree is a little uncertain. It includes the Richard Sollys who were Mayors of Sandwich who have been written about before in the journal.
Edward Solly was married twice, first in 1801 to Lavinia Pohl with whom he had two surviving children, Lavinia (1802-1871) and Sarah (1804-1879). After Lavinia died he married Auguste Charlotte Ernestine Krueger (1797-1877) and had two surviving children Annette (1817-1894) and Edward (1819-1886).
Edward Solly amassed a large collection of paintings which he sold in 1821 to form the core of the Gemaeldergalerie, an art museum in Berlin. One of them was the Solly Madonna, by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael which was painted between 1500 and 1504.
And now to continue with the diary. The dots show unreadable words.
Friday 6th September
Today being a beautiful and mild day we took a delightful walk we went out of the [Gercons?] gate and entered the town again by the ….. …., meeting numbers of prisoners guarded by soldiers who were repairing the walks.
After dinner we called upon Mr Schlmeyer, who showed us part of his collection of dried plants some seaweeds which were extremely beautiful.
Saturday 7th September
Today all the day long soaking wet, I took advantage of a momentary break in the rain to buy some knitting pins for Annette.
Sunday 8th September
We took advantage of a beautiful morning to go once more to the Dom to see the splendid tomb of the Holy Kings and to admire the picture of … which was open today. We did not stop to hear … but on going
away we entered the bell tower where eight men were ringing the lesser bell which produced a tremendous sound.
Later in the forenoon I called at Mr Schlmeyer for some medicine and to get the direction of a watchmaker to whom we took Edward’s watch for some extensive repairs which the breaking of a watch glass and the stupidity of a Bonn watch maker’s boy had made necessary. After dinner we walked to the old Nicolaus Tower, turned around it into the …and returned by the same way home. I believe that we all had expressed a wish to see Madame Saquis [Ed: Madame Saqui (born Marguerite-Antoinette Lalanne on February 26, 1786 in Agde, Hérault; died February 21, 1866, pictured below] who is a celebrated rope dancer and was to exhibit this evening at the theatre for the last time this evening, so papa very kindly proposed to take us there, which he accordingly did, and after depositing us in one of the … boxes he left us to our fate. The house is small but very tolerable for … We had a little play acted by two children who performed their parts very well, a good deal of rope dancing, some of it very pretty, but most of it for my part I could not bear to look as particularly her Ladyship’s ascent in a balloon and her descent standing upon her head.

Madame Saqui the rope dancer who the family saw at the theatre
Madame Saqui the rope dancer who the family saw at the theatre

It concluded by some jugglers tricks and a Pantomime, which was very laughable. But as every pleasure must have some alloy of bitterness so with this, when we arrived at the new … I saw some ugly dark looking footprints on the ground, on looking I saw Papa with umbrellas telling us it rained very hard! The thought how my poor old worn out English shoes would like this … crossed my mind, but there was no time to consider, the crowd soon pushed us out, and here we were fairly launched on a sea of mud and filth exposed to as heavy rain as could be, my shoes letting water in at every step at the soles, and Annette labouring hard to fill them at the top, as she could not rest satisfied without measuring the depth of every puddle and gutter which crossed our path. How we got at last home and how got into bed remains to be described by future historians (Ed: if only she knew!).
Monday 9th September
We called upon Mr Schlmeyer for the direction of a … … and found the house of the man but he himself was not at home, so we went to a man who sells Diamonds to Glaziers, but his articles were badly made, and as dear as in England. At a jewellers we found a pretty little broach which was bought for Annette. In the afternoon we went to an Instrument makers, who, we were told had some Pianos which he would let out, he had however none at home and the few new ones which he had were not to my taste.
Tuesday 10th September
We tried again to find a Piano but had no better luck. After dinner we walked to the Rhine.
Wednesday 11th September
This morning Mr Jobs asked us to go with him into his wine cellar to show us the use of a large glass Wine gage which he held in his hand. We found ourselves presently in a vault of considerable dimensions filled with enormous casks of Rhine and others wines, some of which he told us were worth 800 Dollars. We had to taste several wines which were drawn on purpose for us, but this was work to which we were not used, and so we hurried away as fast as we could. Next I went to buy some black tea, but I found that the grocer did not sell it as nobody used it, but I was told I should find it at the Materialist, a dealer somewhat between a wholesale grocer and a … Bought lining for our Wool sage. After dinner Papa went into the … as it was empty, he asked us whether we should like to move into it, we did not wait to be asked twice but we sped off as fast as we could to remove our goods and chattels before he had time to change his mind. The change is wonderful! From having nothing before us but the tops of about 15 houses we have here a large open place planted with trees, the fine Dom on the right hand and above all a fine sense of which is almost every day, for if it is wet the whole day it generally clears up towards evening. After tea I bought for the baby of the home some plaything which seemed to please him very much.
Thursday 12th September
We had very hard rain all the forenoon and we employed ourselves in lining our Bags. I went to change the book for Papa, but Edward went on the bridge to watch the arrival of the steamer and the passing of several boats.
Friday 13th September
This morning Edward changed his book at Mr Schlmeyer. His wife made us a present of a beautiful large apple out of their own garden. By his wife I mean the wife of Mr Schlemeyer. The weather being very fine today we had a wish for a country walk, so we went along the banks of the Rhine beyond the Freihafen, it would have taken us to the ferry opposite but that was further than I wanted to go and we returned the same way having enjoyed our little trip very much. After tea we sauntered to the bridge for a little while to enjoy the lovely sunset.
Saturday 14th September
I asked Mr Schlmeyer this morning whether he would be so kind as to give me have his copy of …… and that I would order another for him at the bookseller to which he obligingly agreed. Papa had commissioned me to buy him a map of the environs of Inlich but I did not. After dinner we had another pretty excursion, we crossed the bridge, turned to the left and after passing some barracks, we came to the banks of the river along which we walked for considerable time, sometimes close to fields at other again close to the river. When we turned our steps homewards we had a particularly fine view of Cologne, which forms here a delightful picture having several considerable spires, the Dom always forming the principal attraction. Papa and Edward changed likewise their room today for a larger one and I
hope one that is more comfortable.