Royal Archaeological Institute Annual General Meeting. Capt Folkard gave me a day off to attend. Lovely day. Office, opened letters, to Rose’s [Café] for breakfast and then caught the 10.37. Country looked well, but still very green in our District. There is still a good deal of ploughable grass. At Witham I noticed a roofless house on the west side of the town, right against the line. No sign of damage at Crittall’s.
All that part looked very well cultivated, no doubt because Lord Rayleigh and Messrs Strutt & Parker farm a lot of land round there.
At Chelmsford, no sign of damage at Marconi Works, but some houses down in a road behind the new library. The town looked very busy. Part of the Golf Course is under cultivation.
There seems to be a lot of derelict land around Margaretting.
The houses at Margaretting, Ingatestone, Shenfield, etc often show patches of new tiles in their roofs, no doubt repairs to shrapnel damage. House down near Brentwood Station, which I noticed last August, but nothing at the station itself but I know it has been hit.
Work still goes on building the Central London extension. Hundreds of men at work on the line.
By the Bank crossing I saw an accident between two horse-drawn vehicles, which managed to get their wheels firmly locked. Much plunging and rearing and crashing of hooves on the wood paving.
Rang up Maura B. from Holborn, and arranged to meet her later. Had lunch at the Plane Tree Café, where I often used to go. Quite good, cost 1/6.
[After the RAI meeting at Burlington House] went down St James’s Street and saw that the old shops at the bottom and the Palace itself were safe. As I walked towards the London Museum [at Lancaster House] I met [R.E. Mortimer] Wheeler himself, in a colonel’s uniform, far older and greyer than when I saw him last. He stopped and greeted me in the cheerful way he always did. I saw the damage at Lancaster House – a great crack in the outside wall up to what used to be Thalassa’s office. How long ago it seems since I used to go there to see her or Ward Perkins.
Thalassa Cruso was an archaeologist and had been Assistant Keeper of Costume at the London Museum at Lancaster House in the 1930s. John Bryan Ward-Perkins was also an archaeologist and served as assistant to R.E. Mortimer Wheeler at the London Museum from 1936-1939. Wheeler was Keeper of the London Museum from 1926-1944.
Went into Hyde Park, the usual tremendous jam of traffic at Hyde Park Corner. A good many craters in the Park, but Park Lane looked alright, the great masses of Grosvenor House and the Dorchester unscathed. Nor much damage visible at Paddington. Bought some food at a pastry shop – buns, cakes, bread etc. Seemed very plentiful. Met Maura in Praed St. at the hospital entrance. Her little garret is quite safe, as are all the mews at the back. A bomb fell in Norfolk Square, damaging the church there and the porches of houses, but nothing else has been very near. Maura was just the same as ever.
Left the mews at 8, hurried to Liverpool Street to catch the 8.45. Back at Colchester at 10.15, very tired. A lovely day.