Category Diary

Easter 1894

  Easter Sunday was early in 1894 – 25th March.  Gordon attended church twice and reported that it was crowded.  The next day was a Bank Holiday and Gordon kept himself busy: ‘In the morning went to Mr Pearce to tell him to send a crate.  Went on the pier and saw the boats going […]

Gordon’s Writing

No prizes for guessing what Gordon wrote in his shorthand diary on 27 November 1894: Yes, this was ‘my birthday’.  Gordon was born in 1877 in North Adelaide, Australia.  For more about him, read About Gordon  Gordon wrote his full name several times in his shorthand diary.  Here’s an example on a page which has […]

Learning Shorthand in 1894

On Monday, 22 January 1894, Martin Osborne Cock, master printer and editor of the St Ives Times for many years, started to learn Pitman shorthand.  How do I know this?  Over the winter I’ve been transcribing the shorthand diary of his friend, Gordon Heywood. They attended Hayle Grammar School, where Gordon was a weekly boarder.  […]


Clambering over the wreck of the steam ship Rosedale must have been very exciting for the 16-year-old Gordon. It crops up in his second diary entry (16th December 1893) when he climbs all over her with his friend, John Hodge. His last mention of going to look at the wreck is on 5th March 1894.  […]

Solving the Mystery No 3 – Fatal Fire

‘Wednesday, 3rd January 1894 – . . . A house at Hellesveor was burnt down and a little child burnt to death.’ Gordon’s diary entries are matter-of-fact but I do wonder what was in his mind when he wrote: ‘Thursday, 11th January 1894 – In the morning went up to Charlotte’s with some clothing for […]

Solving the Mystery No 1

Gordon Heywood’s diary is mysterious in itself for anybody who cannot read Pitman shorthand.  For those of us who do, there are many outlines which are puzzling.  Take the diary extract at the top of the page, for example.  The transcription of this so far is: ‘In the morning not turned in any lessons.  We […]

About Gordon

    The words of the 16-year-old Gordon Heywood in his diary give us a snapshot of his life as a schoolboy in St Ives, Cornwall, England.  But he had been born in South Australia and the first eight years of his life were spent there.  In 1886 he had sailed to England with his […]

Who’s Who in Gordon’s Diary

FAMILY Mother:  Jane Louisa Harry.  She was born Jane Louisa Hill on 27 October 1847 in Keig, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.  She is sometimes referred to as Jeannie.  At the beginning of October 1851, she sailed on the barque ‘Charlotte Jane’ to Australia, with her parents and younger sister.  The Hill family arrived at Port Adelaide on […]

Gordon Heywood, His Diary and Me

Shorthand is a funny thing to anybody who cannot read it.  Mysterious squiggles – what could they possibly mean?  Pitman’s shorthand is made up of thick and thin lines, curves, circles, hooks, ticks, dots and dashes.  Outlines can be written above the writing line, on the line or through the line.  There are shorthand ways […]

Transcript of Gordon Heywood’s Diary

NOTE:  A question mark indicates where it’s not yet been possible to transcribe the shorthand outline.  Words in italics are those which I’m not 100% sure are correct.  See other posts for information about family, friends, artists and others mentioned in the diary. 1893 – How I occupied the Christmas Holidays 93 15 Dec – […]