“A Trip to Switzerland by J P Smiles who travelled, and here recounts her adventures also those of her Companions. Dedicated to my Father.”
The quotes are from the diary/travel journal of Miss J P Smiles who travelled from London to Switzerland by boat and train in the summer of 1891. I only have her initials and not her first name although I am guessing it may be Janet as when looking into what family tree I can find there seems to be quite a few relatives called Janet.
She travels to Switzerland for the month of August with her parents and her brother Sam and there also seems to have been familiar friends and relatives that they meet along the way.
She describes in great detail their adventures, the amazing sights they see and her writing vividly brings to life the trip and the social niceties of the late Victorian era for the present day reader.
I have no conclusive evidence but I am fairly sure that she is the granddaughter of Samuel Smiles (23 December 1812 – 16 April 1904) who was a Scottish author and government reformer, sister of Samuel Smiles, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry in the University of London, who was born in Belfast on 17 July 1877, and the first cousin of Sir Walter Smiles of Donaghadee who was MP for North Down and died in the sinking of the Princess Victoria in 1953.
I hope you enjoy the quotes that I have chosen from the recount of Miss J P Smiles travels to Switzerland in 1891. Hopefully they show something of the social classes and class divides of the period, the differences between the sexes, the traditions and customs of Switzerland, the coming of the train to remote regions and other modes of transport at the end of the 19th Century.
Researcher: Fiona Barton
PRONI Reference for Diaries: D3437/D/3/1
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