Swanage Museum and Heritage Centre

Marco says ‘This is the sort of place I love! See this sign - ‘Free entry - dogs welcome’’.

Swanage Heritage - Marco and J

I did have a browse. But J is the person who likes history, so in the end I went for a walk and cup of team with M. And J spent some time. I’ll leave her to tell the things she found.

J says: I was keen to explore the archives for further information about the Pier, and discovered some treasures. The file ‘Pier - Records of Shipments 1868 – 69’ of photocopied originals which is available to view at the Museum, showed a fascinating quirk which I found intriguing -  that of the accounts’ clerk’s health.

This first entry, on the left dated May 3rd 1869 recording stone transport shows a fine tremor but the entry a couple of months later is clearer – recording shipments to Swanage Pier dated July 11th, 1869.

Swanage Swanage

Mr David Haysom, Curator at Swanage Museum and Heritage Centre later told J that first accounts were probably written by Mr Francis Haysom (a distant relative of his) who was the pier master/toll collector at the time.

Swanage - Mr David Haysom

Francis Haysom (see photo) left the Pier Company’s service the following year, according to the same accounts register, and the role was taken over by retired coastguard James Mitchell..

The reason for Francis Haysom’s tremor are unlikely to be too much caffeine in that era – the most likely reason is Parkinson’s disease. This was first described by James Parkinson as ‘the shaking palsy’ in 1817, but it was the German academic reformer Wilhelm von Humboldt, himself a sufferer, who precisely noted the manifestations and described his symptoms in letters from 1828 until his death in 1835 which were a resting tremor, and problems in writing, called by him "a special clumsiness’’ .

Marco says: yes yes, all very well but where are we going for lunch? 

Information and credits

Photographs from Swanage Museum and Heritage Centre Archives taken by J are printed with permission of Swanage Museum.



Personal communication and photo of Mr Francis Haysom from Curator Mr David Haysom, Swanage Museum and Heritage Centre

An Essay on Wilhelm von Humboldt and the Shaking Palsy; First Comprehensive Description of Parkinson's Disease by a Patient(1995) Horowski et al. Historical Neurology, March 01, 1995; 45 (3). https://n.neurology.org/content/45/3/565.short




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