One of the best known documents relating the story an early 19th century organised travel group is Miss Jemima's Swiss Journal. It is pure chance that this, now famous, account of Thomas Cook's first organised group to Switzerland has been so well recorded.
|Cover of the 1963 |
Back in 1947 the rubble of a bombed East London warehouse revealed an old tin box. Within the box were a selection of documents relating to the early history of the Thomas Cook business, including the carefully written account of the June 1863 departure of the first Cook group to Switzerland. At the time of its discovery the precise identity of the writer was not known. However the author, Miss Jemima, revealed her Yorkshire origins and it is now known that she was a Miss Jemima Morrell from Selby.
This was not the first tour organised by an English excursion organiser to Switzerland. Henry Gaze of Southampton had taken his party a year earlier, but it is the first group with a written account. It appears that Thomas Cook himself went with party, that numbered sixty-four when leaving London on Friday 26th June 1863.
On Wednesday 1st July Miss Jemima records the parting of her group from the 'good-natured Mr Cook' who returned home to look to other business matters. Miss Jemima's intrepid band of mountaineers, who ahd declared themselves, the Junior United Alpine Club, returned to England on Thursday 16th July 1863 via Dieppe and Newhaven, having spent several days in Paris on the return journey.
Miss Jemima's Swiss Journal was first published in 1963 by Putnam & Co., London