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.
©Alun Stevens 2018