Introduction

"We left home on Sept 12, 1897 via C.P.R. to Vancouver and spent the 11 months travelling around the world." 


Milly Harris diary entry, August 21, 1898

Teddy’s suitcase (left) Dimensions: 23x13x7.5in. Compared to a larger trunk (right) Dimensions: 41x24x18in.

As is evidenced by the myriad of artifacts from across the globe that decorate the walls, halls, and cabinets of Eldon House, the Harris Family clearly loved to travel. In fact, in September of 1897, George and Lucy along with their daughter, Milly, left on their year-long World Tour; their son, Ronald, would later meet them in England and accompany them on some of their trip. Though the concept of the “World Tour” had been around in one form or another since the 18thcentury, the late 19th century was a time of great change both for travel and for transportation (Gross, 2014). By the time the Harris family went on their global voyage, changes in transportation allowed people to travel more easily; thus, the seed of mass tourism had taken root (Gross, 2014). As more people began travelling more frequently, not only did the methods of human travel change, but so too did the means of shipping. As methods of transportation became more efficient—and altogether new transportation methods, such as airplane and automobile travel, were invented—trunks gradually went out of style and were replaced with the suitcase (Gross, 2014). One such suitcase is pictured above. As seen from the label on the front, this suitcase once belonged to Major Edward Montgomery (Teddy) Harris (1880-1952). Teddy served in the British army before he retired in the 1930s. As he is noted as Major on this suitcase label, it is likely that this artifact dates to the post-WWI era. The difference between this suitcase and the older, heavier trunk pictured opposite it, is quite noticeable. 

 

Milly Harris (1869-1959) was not only an avid globe trotter, but she was also a diligent diary keeper and was even proficient in photography. Read on to learn more about Victorian travel as seen through the artifacts of Eldon house and through the diary entries of Milly Harris.