A small book which fits in the palm of your hand came into my life some 15 years ago. The fly leaf was signed Leslie Crooke Sept 1882 his 21st Birthday Year.
On these pages are autographs of Family, relatives, university graduates, work colleagues, clergy, military, musicians,authors, poets, master mariners, artists, merchants, tea planters, adventurers, settlers, pioneers born in Ireland, England, Scotland, France, South America, Malta, Hong Kong, India, Australia to New Zealand (my home).
Names of Lionel Tennyson and wife Eleanor (son of Lord Tennyson), Harry Storey Ceylon, Captain Edwyn Frederick Temple Crimean war and Artist.,John Dudgeon (Peking) China, Sir Hebert S Oakley, R Watkin Mills,Daniel O'Connell Raye M.D, Lucy and Mable Dawson (artists), Bishop Mervyn Archdall Cork Ireland, Horatius Bonar Scottish Hymn writer.
A snippet of autographs
The owner was Thomas Leslie Crooke 1861-1943. Born in Sheffield England March 04 to Irish parentage.
The Reverend Milward Crooke 1828 Moor Park Birr County Offal. Chaplain to the Armed forces during the Crimean War, married Emily Hackett 1838 Moor Park Birr County Offaly.
In 1882 Thomas matriculated Edinburgh University as a Surgeon. He was employed at the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh working with Angelique Lucille Pringle (The Pearl) and best friend to Florence Nightingale along with Matron Frances Elizabeth Spencer.
Dr to Lord Tennyson on the Isle of Wight.
P&O Shipping Line then transferred to the NZ Shipping Line as ships surgeon. He sailed many journeys before applying for a position at the Christchurch Hospital NZ. In 1899 he sailed back to NZ and as fate would have it the senior medical officer had resigned and Thomas was given the position with a pay rise from 100 pounds annually to 400 pounds.
Previously in 1898 on board the "SS Ruahine" from Wellington NZ to England he met Miss Janet Emily Smith 1859 and in 1899 Christchurch NZ was married.
His brothers all died in various wars Milward Robert Gonn Crooke junior, George Douglas Crooke and Charles W Cantwell Crooke.
His sister Olive Louisa Crooke, a pioneer pharmacist studied under Sophia Jex- Blake. Serving in WW1, also arrived in Christchurch NZ. remained some 30 years.
After the passing of her brother Thomas and his wife Emily previously.
Olive returned to England in June 1944.
While attending a service at The Queen's Guards Chapel in London, Hitler bombed the chapel with the new V1 Rockets. Olive lost her life.
His home once also his private practice still stands on 88A Dyers Pass Rd Cashmere CHCH NZ..
George Douglas Crooke, Military was secretly engaged to one of Irelands greatest female Poets Susan L Mitchell (Langstaff) 1866 who lived with the Yeats family in Sligo. John Butler Yeats painted portraits of Susan.
His rank was not considered worthy enough so the marriage never took place. Susan never married after George was killed in action.
A great modern day Irish writer Hilary Pyle wrote of this and mentions the Crooke Family in her book "The Red Headed Rebel" the life of Susan L Mitchell and other Mitchell names left their autographs in the Drs Book.
A family of Browne's appears whose son William Charles Denis Browne and Irish composer died during WW1 and was with Rupert Brooke when he died on transit to WW1.
There are some 800-900 autographs:
The oldest being Margaret Hobbs 1794 of Riverstown Tipperary and 1796 Robert Seymour Drought Ridgemount Kings County (Offaly) who married Jane Hackett.
At one stage Thomas left NZ for a short time and returned to Trinity and studied medicine.
Dr Thomas Leslie Crooke retired to private practice in 1910. A musician he played the organs and pianos as a Free Mason and lifetime member of the CHCH Liedertafel singing group.
Google.Search Dr Thomas Leslie Crooke 1861-1943 Linwood Cemetery CHCH NZ
I hope you find this of interest as I get little support in NZ to produce a book on his life.
Over the many years I have been fortunate to collect books pertaining to the many of the autographs.
This man's life through the Birthday Book deserves to be more than a headstone in a cemetery.
The book found me during a time of change when two major spine surgeries altered my life. It was rescued from a certain fate of destruction. Later years and life threatening Cancer surgery the birthday Book has stayed beside me
Brining much inspiration. Was once sold at a market for $2 NZ then discarded.
Dr Thomas Leslie Crooke was the family doctor to My great grands parents Samuel Dickey from Country Derry and Hannah Bruce from Kinnitty County Offaly who arrived in NZ 1874. also daughter Bessie Dickey (my grandmother) and my mother Irene Duffy when a little girl.
One of the cottages they owned known as the "Stewart Street Cottage" is placed and preserved in the Historical Ferrymead Park Christchurch. This is the oldest known cottage.
From Shane Duffy