Item ThumbnailIrregular Correspondence is a collection of 192 family letters, mainly written by the three eldest Laurie brothers from the Crimea, India, Hong Kong and Nova Scotia, in the ten year period from 1855-1865.

The earliest surviving letter was written by the youngest of the three brothers, Julius, about to embark from Liverpool, initially destined for Malta.  He was a 15 year old Ensign and very excited at the prospect of action in the Crimea where he also hoped to join his two elder brothers John, 19, a Lieutenant in 4th Regiment of Foot and Peter, 17, a civilian on board a merchant vessel.

The letters were written at a time of remarkable technological progress.  Sail was rapidly giving way to steam power; explosive shells were replacing solid shot.  Photography, electric telegraph, railways and khaki uniforms had all recently been introduced and were becoming more widely available.

The British Empire was approaching its zenith.  Britain had initiated the industrial revolution and led the world in establishing sound financial and commercial structures.  She now had the most powerful naval and merchant fleets and army, at a period in history when large regions of the world were relatively undeveloped and British imperialism was not regarded, at least at home, as anything but positive.

Click on 9 Index (on the left) to review some of the names that appear