Islay Campbell was born in Shanghai, the middle of three daughters. Her father, Rhoderick, was a prosperous bill broker who made his fortune in China but was always proud of his Scottish heritage. He married Kathleen Pickwoad at the Shanghai Anglican Cathedral in December 1881.
Islay kept diaries of her travel and, being the owner of a Kodak camera, illustrated them with photographs. The diaries cover three journeys, the first is to Europe via North America in 1900, the second goes round the world during 1906-07 and then a visit to India in 1908. The first trip was with her parents and two sisters, Constance and Beatrix. Her father died in 1903 so the second journey was with her mother and two sisters although Constance married in India and did not return with the other three. The last trip was intended to coincide with the birth of her first nephew but they were just a few days late.
Her diaries are hand written in ink and the writing is, frankly, terrible. She didn’t often make daily entries but rather wrote up several days at a time leaving out what she didn’t think was worth recording. She was only writing for herself so she saw little need to punctuate and could, presumably, read her own writing. She seldom crosses a “t” or closes the top of an “a” and runs words together. This, combined with the fact that she was often writing late after a tiring day resulted in little more than a scrawl at times.
Some words are indecipherable and many proper names can only be guessed at. So there are several blanks (*******) in the transcripts but the general meaning is usually clear. A page, taken at random, is shown below. It is hoped that someone out there will be able to read it without hesitation and leave a comment saying how easy it is. Don’t be surprised if you are offered a job! As yet, only a fraction of these diaries has been transcribed.
Click on the page if you want to enlarge it…….that might help. My version of the words can be found in the extract called “Visit to Oban 1906”.
In 1911 she married Lieutenant Reginald Guy Hannam Henderson R.N. who is referred to As “Reggie” in her diaries. She moved to Alversoke in England and started a family.