Tuesday, 19 April 2016

P is for please may my bill. AtoZ Challenge 2016

Please pay my bill.

 When I was looking for examples of searching techniques for showing how to use Google I searched for Joseph Platt Lofthouse. I had done this many times before but this time I came up with 4 results I had never seen.
They were from the Archives of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851.
I had previously found a plan of the 1851 exhibition area that surveyor Joseph Platt Lofthouse had done and been sent a photo of it by the National Library in London.

However these were letters to do with payment for work done. I wrote to the archivist there and asked about visiting the archive when I go to the UK later in the year but she very nicely offered to scan the letters for me and they arrived a few days later along with the new plan. We now had 2 plans prepared by J P Lofthouse. My husband was delighted to see his great grandfather's hand writing and new plan.
The first letter was  dated Nov 3rd 1854 and from Brompton Rd Kensington.  Mr Lofthouse asked for payment of his attached account of £91/11/-  for the work connected with the Acts of Parliament and the Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851   which was for surveying the area for proposed roads between Kensington Gore and Old Brompton Road. 

The next letter he wrote was Aug 24th 1854 from Sandon, Stone Staffordshire. 
"Dear Sir, With thanks I beg to acknowledge the recof your letter of the 21st. I have not a stamp here but will obtain one and forward same tomorrow. I have the honour to be Dear Sir, your faithful & obedient  J P Lofthouse" My husband's comment on his great grandfather's writing. " Mine is not so bad after all"  J P Lofthouse did not have the best hand writing. A friend's comment was "well he was a surveyor and probably scrawled in the dirt and was not used to writing on paper"  I didn't think that was very nice as he did do very nice plans.

The third letter  October 23 1855 was very interesting because Mr Henry Hunt was questioning the amount to be paid and as you can imagine J P Lofthouse was not happy in the fourth letter.
He sent his letter from Milwich, Stone, Staffordshire on November 26th 1855 expressing "his surprise and annoyance" at having his account being questioned. He went on with much more explanation about his account but I'm not putting it here as it will go on for pages. Mr Hunt wrote again on Nov 30 and reiterated that he thought the bill excessive but Sir W Cubitt should be consulted as to the payment.
 Finally on Dec 6th 1855  the last letter gives the go ahead to pay Mr Lofthouse.
Mr Hunt was visited by Sir W Cubitt who wished the matter settled & thought very highly of Mr Lofthouse and gave his certificate for the payment.
It only took 12 months to pay his bill. He must have been well off or he couldn't have survived for  a year without pay.

The Great Exhibition that Prince Albert initiated had been  a financial success and it was  shifted from Hyde Park to Sydenham in South London.  The Commissioners bought land in Kensington and built the museums-Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum and  Science Museum. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Exhibition
The financial success is still evident today as it is the longest running Royal Commission ever and is still giving out  fellowships. See http://www.royalcommission1851.org.uk/