Cooke's Tour of the Isle of Wight 1850

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John Hunt Cooke, with two companions, made a trip to the Isle of Wight in the Summer of 1850, and this diary was the record of the journey.

Cooke's literary style is somewhat erratic - his punctuation tends to be non-existent, and he rambles at length in a stream of consciousness which is broken only by his attempts at poetry. The results can be difficult to read !

Cooke names a handful of Island characters on the journey, whom we have attempted to identify, and his thumbnail illustrations are charming but naive. He has pasted into the volume cuttings of illustrations from other guide books.

Named or identifiable Islanders :

John Wilkes, M.P. (1725-97), Shanklin
George William and Mary Ann Bright, White Lion, Niton
Rev. Legh Richmond, Brading
Henry Southcott ('Captain Sothcott'), Sutton Cottage, Strand, Ryde
Rachel Cox, wife of James Cox, a licensed beer seller and Eating House keeper, at 54 Pyle Street, Newport
Isaac Butler, innkeeper, Yarmouth
Gideon Algernon Mantell or Mantel (1790-1852), geologist.

Biographical notes on the travellers

John Hunt Cooke
John Hunt Cooke was born in the Parish of Southwark, Surrey in about 1828-9, to John and Mary Cooke.
He married twice; firstly, Mary Ann Lash Taylor, in London in 1856, and secondly, Rebecca Samways, in Portsea, in 1863.
In 1841, John and Mary Cooke, with their children including John H Cooke, aged 12, are listed at 'West Camb. Road' Bethnal Green, which is assumed to be Cambridge Heath Road. John Cooke is listed as a Warehouseman.
The 1851 Census lists John Henry Cooke, the son of Mary Cooke, at 6 Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, so the Enumerator must have entered his middle name incorrectly; also living there was his grandmother Sarah Hunt. He is listed as a Bookkeeper and Sharebroker.
In 1861 he is listed, with his wife Mary Ann and 3 children, is listed at 32 Peel St, Portsea. He is listed as a Baptist Minister. Mary Ann Cooke died later in 1861 (registered Dec 1861 qtr, Portsea).
In 1871 he is listed, with his wife Rebecca and 10 children, at West Victoria House, Auckland Road, Portsea. Some of the children are from his first marriage, some from his present marriage. He is listed as a Baptist Minister.
In 1881 he is listed, with no wife, but three of his children, at 6, Spring Terrace, Marshgate Road, Richmond, Surrey. He is listed as a Baptist Minister.
In 1891 and 1901 he is listed, with his wife and three of their children, at Coolhurst Road, Hornsey, Edmonton, Middlesex. He is listed as a Baptist Minister (retired by 1901).
He died in Christchurch, Hampshire, on 29 May 1908.

James Thomas Slater
Joseph Wilkins jun.

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Many thanks to Jane Rose, for the donation of the Diary to the Society, in 2013.

Read the Diary