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Across the pond with Rex Wailes: Home again

The last entry in our series of blogs about Rex Wailes’ 1929 trip to the USA and Canada.

Poster Image

1929 press cutting from Rex’s files, showing Canadian landscape

Unfortunately the last part of Rex’s diary is missing, so his account of his time in Canada is lost. Correspondence from the collection fills in some of the gaps:

I had a most enjoyable 4 weeks in Canada, of which the best was the week that I had in the Rockies, Unfortunately I couldn’t use my quarter plate camera, as I was riding all the time, and it was too cumbersome to carry about. The Kodak with its finder, is not as satisfactory, but even so, I got a fair number of successful snapshots

Letter to Percy Bentley, Vancouver, 22 July 1929

I had a most interesting time in French Canada, but unfortunately only three days there altogether. They have a number of derelict Tower Mills, all built on the French principle after the style of Nordasques Mill, but only one is a at work and I did not hear of it until the day before I sailed so was not able to see it. There is one derelict tower built in brick fairly tall and with a considerable batter, but that seems to be unique. The earliest known now was built in 1668 on the Island of Orleans, close to Quebec and I have full particulars of its history.

Letter to H O Clarke, Norwich, 16 July 1929

I had a very pleasant voyage across with a heavy swell which luckily did not affect me at all. I was very comfortable, but the Dining Room accommodation and the food were both very poor. I was put on the recommended list of passengers after much importunity at the White Star head quarters at Montreal and as a result was shown all over the ship except the bridge which of course, is only visited by invitation of the Captain.

Letter to Mrs Archibald, 9 October 1929

Another letter from this time is interesting in light of the direction Rex’s life was to take. While he was away the Daily Mail had run the following article, leading to several letters to the press about the fate of old windmills:

Artilce in Daily Mail, 17 June 1929

On his return Rex wrote the following letter to the secretary of the SPAB

The next chapter in the life of Rex Wailes was just beginning.


Here are Google’s suggestions for how to follow in Rex’s footsteps:

Boston to Nantucket

Nantucket to New York

New York to Philadelphia

Philadelphia to Seattle

Seattle to Quebec City