The Drakes in London

Having returned to England following the end of the Crimean War, the Drakes settled down to enjoying the many attractions of the centre of empire. They visited the big attractions of the time – the Crystal Palace, Wyld’s Great Globe, and Kew Gardens.

They also met and entertained their many acquaintances and friends from Western Australia, Tasmania, Canada, and the Crimea. They attended concerts, shows, and exhibitions. They attended lectures, including two by Henry’s friend, William Howard Russell of the Times, about his experiences in the Crimea.

Henry took an interest in the preaching of Rev. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a popular, but controversial Baptist preacher of the time.

Their son, John, wrote to them telling them that he was getting married. His fiancé was Matilda Elizabeth Ormiston, whose grandmother, Elizabeth Fulloon, had been the first superintendent of the famous (in Australia at least) Parramatta Female Factory.

Their daughter, Charlotte Augusta Dring, also married during this period, to Charles Henry Marshall. There was much engagement between the Drakes and Marshalls, and the family even travelled to Devon to meet Charles’s relatives.

Not long after the Marshalls left for Australia, Henry was informed that he was to be posted to Gibraltar. While he waited, he managed to fit in attendance at the wedding of Queen Victoria’s daughter, Victoria, and the family enjoyed the annular eclipse of the sun. Henry, Louisa, and their youngest daughter, Laura, even attended a lecture to prepare themselves for it.

The military eventually came through and the family left for Gibraltar on 27 April 1858.


Megan has done an excellent job of researching all the events, places and people that Henry refers to. She has assembled a lot of information including contemporary pictures, photographs, and commentary of the events the Drakes attended. Together they provide insight into Victorian life, but with the added interest of a family connection. There is also a lot of information for those interested in the Marshalls of Glengallan.

This is a big article, but worth the read. It can be found HERE

Comments welcomed.

©Alun Stevens 2018

One comment

  • Hi Alun,
    I was very excited to read that the Drakes were friends of my family, Frederick Lewis, his wife Ellen and their son Henry Clutterbuck Lewis and his wife Edith.
    Megan and you have done a tremendous amount of research, it is a great website and provides a lot of information of how people lived in Victorian times. Unfortunately I have a copy of only one letter written by Ellen to her grandson, Leland Lewis Duncan, otherwise nothing other than court cases, to describe their life.

    Henry’s brother, James Payn Lewis emigrated to Australia in about 1860, I descend from him. I have collected quite a lot of information on the Lewis family over the years, and did not know of the Drake connection. A lot of the family were in the civil service, and there were several court cases, a nice property on the Thames, embezzlements, imprisonment, a divorce, and emigration to US.

    There are only 2 great-grandchildren on Henry’s line that I can find, and I’ve not been able to trace them to date. They are grandchildren of his daughter Edith, a cousin on her husband’s side (Johnstone) has been looking for the family and we have tried to trace them, with no luck to date.

    Look forward to hearing from you,

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