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Record number: WCP37

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Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
William Greenell [ARW's son] Wallace
14 December 1901

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Corfe View, Parkstone, Dorset to William Greenell [ARW's son] Wallace [none given] on 14 December 1901.

Record created:
01 June 2002 by Lucas, Paula J.
Verified by:
25/01/2012 - Catchpole, Caroline (All except summary checked);


Re. musical alarm clock for William, water supply to house, architect's plans; Christmas gifts.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

View item:


A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/1/37
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate
Record scrutiny:
25/01/2012 - Catchpole, Caroline;

Physical description

Transcription information




Parkstone, Dorset.

Dec.[ember] 14th. 1901

My dear Will

I am afraid your specialty of a Musical Alarum is hard to get. I wrote to Sir John Bennett to know if there was such a clocks made & prices &c. Reply - they did not know of any & could therefore quote no prices. But in a Catalogue of Watts & Co. a Bristol firm of Watch & Clock Manufacturers, I have found one such, apparently quite a new thing, which however has the [[2]] disadvantage of being in a large & not very well-designed case 22 in[ches] high. I wrote to ask them if they could supply this clock in a smaller & plainer case, but their only answer was to send me another Catalogue, so I expect it a novelty of foreign make which they have imported.1 I enclose the illustr[atio]n & description from the catalogue.

If you would like it I shall be glad to give it to you as a Birthday present. The "Gallery" at top of case might be taken off & would reduce the size by a few inches. Let me know [[3]] in a day or two.

We are also very anxious to know if you can come to us at Xmas & when & for how long. As we find it will cost a great deal to have the water laid on - as the mains are nearly ¼ mile off - I have decided to sink for water. I am told however that though there are many wells from 15 to 30 feet deep not far off yet one well in the village was sunk 60 feet without finding water.

I am therefore going to have a "dowser"; & in case the weather should be too bad [[4]] for one to go, I should very much like you & Violet to be here to interview him, & note his doings & his report. He will I believe also undertake the sinking [of] the well, only to be paid if he finds water.

All is right as to the Architect, who is a very old friend of Carters and is well known to Carters head builder - Mr. Curtis, who tells me he is very glad I have employed him to make the drawings as he is a very good architect.

In haste | Your affectionate Pa | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

[[5]] P.S. What Ma would like for a Xmas present, is a few of the new "Penzance Sweet Briars"-- If you write to W.C. Slocock, Goldsworth Old Nursery, Woking, Surrey-- he will supply them at from 6/- to 12/- a dozen. The six best are-- (1). Lady Penzance, (2). Lord Penzance, (3). Lucy Bertram, (4). Catherine Seyton (5). Jeannie Deans, (6). Lucy Ashton--

These six at the highest price would be a very nice present. Send him a P.[ostal] Order & the address, & he will send them to date. A.R.W. [signature]


1. The text "I enclose the illustr[atio]n & description from the catalogue."is written vertically up the left margin of page 2.

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