Joined: 02 May 2007
Location: Athabasca, Alberta, Canada
| Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:34 pm Post subject: LOST NAVAL LETTERS
|My relative Louise Cecilia Bazalgette Lucas Stratton assiduously collected genealogical information on the Lucas and Bazalgette families. She was the daughter of St. Louis Wells Lucas and Louisa Bazalgette, one of the daughters of my ggggfr Captain Joseph William Bazalgette, R.N. This collection, which comprised several albums, is priceless from the family history point of view, and additionally contained original letters written to family members. Important amongst these were letters written to Joseph Bazalgette by naval commanders under whom he had served, including such prominent men as Sir Josias Rowley, Rear Admiral Anselm Griffiths and Sir Edward Pellew (Lord Exmouth). Some, if not all, of these albums were deposited for safe keeping at the Society of Genealogists in London.
I discovered a letter written to Bazalgette by Admiral Rowley listed for sale on ABEbooks by Julian Browning, a London autograph dealer. I emailed Mr. Browning, saying that I did not think I could afford to buy it, but for research reasons I would like a copy or at least to know its contents. He replied that the letter was sold, and the listing disappeared from ABE immediately. When I asked him to pass my request on to the buyer he agreed but appeared unwilling to discuss the matter further.
I did some further research on the web and found that this album was sold at Dominic Winter Book Auctions on Wednesday 10 November 2004. It was only at this point that I realised that the letters originally came from the album. I asked Mr.Browning about this, and he confirmed that he had bought an album, so it is obvious that he removed the letters. He would not say what happened to the album. I enquired of the librarian at the SOG and she confirmed that they held two volumes, plus three volumes of notes, but could not be sure if they had previously had more of them. She did say: ‘It would be interesting to find out if the recently sold volume had any of our library stamps in it because we lost a large number of volumes from our previous building due to light-fingered users.” I should add that the new SOG building is a model of security.
I am not suggesting that the album sold by the auctioneers was stolen property, but even if it were, I am sure that the trail has now gone sufficiently cold that nobody would consider action against them, or against the present owners. However, I would like to trace these letters, which is why I am approaching naval historians, autograph collectors etc in the hope I may have sight of them, since I am researching the life of my ggggfr.
Thanks for your indulgence in reading thus far, and hoping that you can help me with this fond quest.