Unidad documental simple 10 - Letter from Joseph Phillips to Alfred Lawrence

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Letter from Joseph Phillips to Alfred Lawrence

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  • 1 Oct. 1851 (Creación)

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2 folded sheets

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11 Brighton Terrace, Icknield Street West, Birmingham.—Has returned to Birmingham with his sister after an absence connected with some sad news. Is pleased that Lawrence has begun doing something. Discusses the progress of work on the Newark bridge and the arrangements at the works. Henderson is ill.

(Black-edged paper.)

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Transcript

11 Brighton Terrace | Icknield St. West | Birmingham
1st. Oct. 1851

My dear Lawrence,

I have your kind note of the 15th. Ult. before me & feel quite ashamed of my neglect, but I have had so much to do & think of these last few Weeks, I can scarcely realize the time which has elapsed.—I returned here on the Monday Night with my Sister by the Mail Train,—just a week after I had first heard the sad news.—My reason for coming back so soon was because I knew my presence was wanted at the Works,—& Mr. Henderson had behaved so kindly in the matter, I did not like to appear taking any advantage.—The change of Air seems to have done my Sister much good,—although she is necessarily very lonely. I however persuaded her yesterday to pay a visit to some Friends who reside at Handsworth, & were very anxious to see her.—I think a little society every-way beneficial,—as my eldest Sister Mrs. S— is very far from well, I fear my Sister’s visit here must be short, her return to Town is already besought.

I intend if possible to take her up myself as I wish to pass a day or two in Town.—

I am very glad to hear you have commenced doing something, although you speak so vaguely I have but little information on the subject,—it is too bad of you to keep one in such suspense.—Why not tell me where & what you are building.—I suppose it will all come in time.

So you see your friend H. G. is at last a liveryman. I have heard nothing of yourself or how you came off—or rather whether you ventured to stand the test.

The Newark Bridge is getting on most dreadfully slow,—& I do not think it will leave our Works for another 3 Months.—There is great difficulty in rolling some [of] {1} the Links for it,—it is still under my entire Charge & I have been at Newark several times setting out Foundations, & arranging the plans & contract for the staging.—

I get on very well with Mr. Henderson, & am not any way mixed with the draughtsmen,—who at this place are a very seedy lot, & for the most part badly paid, & bullied dreadfully they never see Henderson,—but have their orders, through an old Chap who keeps the drawings.—I on the contrary am privileged to enter his rooms when I have occasion, receive all my instructions direct, & am now generally employed, getting out rough sketches & designs under him,—& which the draughtsmen have afterwards to make drawings of.—

When I add to this, that my Salary has been raised as promised & all my back Money paid,—you will suppose I have nothing much to complain of at present,—indeed I am myself quite amazed at my good fortune, when I contrast the treatment I have received with many of those around.—

You will of course recollect old Mowatt of “savage” memory—if I recollect aright he left our Works because of his temper.—Well I should say his temper & his conceit has been the ruin of him do you know that Chap positively got “Henderson” his situation at these Works first,—& now is himself there at the rate of 25s– per Week,—working from 8 oclock in the Morning till 7 at Night, if this time is not made it is all deducted from the said money.

The Chap is as good a draughtsman as ever, but he drinks occasionally, & is fearfully obstinate & altogether has fallen irretrievably he is now also quite a Misanthrope & inveighs with stern energy against such “upstarts” as myself for instance, or in fact with anybody who is happy & contented or speaks a good word of Henderson or gets more tin than him.

For the bye speaking of Mr. H.—I am sorry to tell you his health is very precarious & at times he appears in great pain.—Yet such is his indomitable spirit he will not give up working, for instance,—the other night he was so ill whilst conversing with me he was obliged to send for his Carriage & go home, abt 4 oclock in the afternoon,—saying he would finish the matter with me the next Morning.—Judge my surprise in half an hour to receive a summons to go to his house upon arriving there,—he had just had a warm bath, & was lying on the sofa—& he kept me talking on several matters for 2 hours,—before he would go to bed.—

I fear to have bored you a great deal by the egotism I seem to have displayed in writing so much abt myself—really I do not mean it,—& it is but an apology for a better subject. Should you deem me able to afford you any information you might require I think you will do me the justice to beleive†,—it would confer the greatest pleasure on me to be able to assist in anything whatever.—

Hoping to hear from you soon,—& with my kind regards to your family,

Believe me as ever,

Yrs. Faithfully
Joseph Phillips

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{1} Omitted by mistake.

† Sic.

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