Laurance Holman’s diaries and his horse Mariana
I have just heard that my proposal for a paper on the diaries of Laurance Holman has been accepted for the Unofficial Histories conference being held in Manchester in June.
Originally from Stockton on Tees, via Blackpool, Laurance, an advertising businessman, artist and one time vice – president of the London Sketch Club, lived and worked in London for many years before his death in 1950. His flat and business was in Bedford Square, at the back of the British Museum.His unpublished diaries, particularly for the war period, are fascinating. They include daily entries specifying meals, prices, leisure activities,overdraft and business contracts. However, my main interest has been in the accounts of his daily rides with his horse Mariana through Hyde and Regent’s Park or through the streets of central London to view bomb damage. As he notes on Thursday 19 September 1940: ‘Last night was the worst “Blitz” so far: went 11 to 1 for a ride around the damage: saw John Lewis, D.H.Evans, Selfridges but not Peter Robinsons: last night my “M.G” was within 100 yds of a house demolished in Woburn Sq and “Mariana” was about the same distance from a crater made in Wimpole Street’.
His relationship with the horses he rides, Mariana and then Trump, changes over the years. My attitude too, towards Holman, has developed since my first reading of the diaries, as I will also explore in the conference paper.