BEDFORD ARCHITECTURAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL & LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY
BEDFORD LOCAL BOOK REVIEW
BOOK REVIEW by Bob Ricketts.
A Visit to Japan in 1906 By Dorothy Shuttleworth
Editor Marion Maule.
Published with the permission of The Shuttleworth Trust, 2014.
29 pages. ISBN 978-0-901319-11-1. Otainable from the Shuttleworth
Collection, Shuttleworth Aerodrome, Old Warden, SG18 9EP,
or e-mail www.shuttleworth.org price £4.50.
A delightful eclectic booklet, edited and prefaced by Marion Maule, providing excerpts from Dorothy Shuttleworth’s diary of her round the world trip in 1906. Dorothy’s wit and sharp observation shines through the transcript of the diary she kept of her visit to Japan at a key time in that country’s transition to a major military and commercial power, just after the Russo-Japanese war. A typical vignette: “This ship is comfortable but they should not mix us up with Chinamen, about a dozen are travelling 1st class – they all crowd into what is called “the Ladies Social Hall”, a tiny cabin. A Japanese girl came & giggled at us today, & was very inquisitive. She also played the piano with one finger of each hand, a melancholy dirge. We found out afterwards she wanted a place as amah [housemaid].”
The booklet is well-illustrated throuthout with black and white and coloured photographs of Dorothy’s journey and ephemera – a Japanese ship’s menu, their guide’s business card, an ornate invitation from the Minister of the Imperial Household Agency to the cherry blossom viewing party at Hamarikyu Gardens.
In addition to Marion’s preface, which sets the context for Dorothy’s trip, there is a short piece by Dr Ian Chrystie on Thomas Bates Blow FLS, a great collector and expert on Japanese art, whom she met; a guide to Japanese plants in the Swiss Garden at Old Warden; a brief account of the Japanese Chin breed of dog (a favourite companion) by Liz Rushton, Secretary of the Japanese Chin Club.