On September 15th 1890, Edwin and Maria Reynolds of Longsight, Manchester join Mr and Mrs Ellis Ryley in Chester to begin their two hundred and fifty mile tour of North Wales. The group began their journey at 59 Foregate Street, Chester, and continued through the park at Eaton Hall.
Monday 15th September 1890
Longsight to Crewe, Chester, Wrexham, Ruabon and Llangollen
At ten minutes to seven on the morning of September 15th 1890 we left Longsight Station in order to catch the seven o’clock Chester express at Stockport- the party consisted of myself, my better half and Dotty, the two former to accept of the kind invitation of Mr and Mrs Ryley of Chester to a have a driving tour with them through Wales and the latter to “keep house” for them during their absence. We arrived at Chester at 9.30 and were met at the station by George with one of Mr Ryley’s conveyances and in a very short time were deposited on the steps of No. 59 Foregate Street. We had not been there many minutes before we had an agreeable task set before us namely demolish first class breakfast, this was in every sense a “labour of love” to use the old saying ,“We wanted that badly”. I think Mr Ryley (whom I shall hereafter call Ellis) and also Mrs Ryley (whom I shall hereafter call Lydia) joined with us in doing justice to the spread set before us.
In due course all luggage was got together, the fine chestnut horse “Tommy” was harnessed in the wagonette and bought to the door. Soon after 10.30 I and Ellis were on the box and the two ladies inside. Dott, George and Becka were at the door wishing us a pleasant journey, the only thing that I regretted was leaving our two girls Dotty and Nelly behind us. Ellis gives the signal “Now Tommy” to the horse and away we went. We were not long before we crossed the Grosvenor Bridge and reached the splendid entrance Gateway to the Park of Eaton Hall belonging to the Duke of Westminster. This Gateway is about half a mile from Chester and is called the Grosvenor Gateway; a handsome building copied from St Augustine’s Gateway at Canterbury, this drive to the Hall is about 4 miles long.
The walks, grass and everything about the park are kept in such perfect order that the ride to the Hall was an enjoyable one. The park contains 860 acres and is entered by no less than 6 lodges or drives, it is comparatively flat and though well wooded there are not many aged trees here and there were rabbits, pheasants and other game, which would make the eye of a sportsman twinkle. In due time we arrived opposite the fine Iron Gates at Eaton Hall; this Hall is a large and domestic gothic mansion, most artistically designed and decorated in the highest style of art. The Grosvenor family who occupy this splendid Hall can trace back in direct male line to Robert le Gros Veneur (Grand nephew to Hugh Lupus first Norman Earl of Chester) who came over in the reign of the Conqueror. Gilbert le Gros Veneur fought with much distinction under Richard the first in the Great Crusade and other members of the family have played a distinguished part in the battles of the country. The Eaton Estate passed to the Grosvenors in the fifteenth century previous to which the family had been settled for two centuries at Hulme near Northwich.