Living in the U.K, surrounded by history inspires one to trace their own past. My past lead straight to John Ruskin!
When there is someone famous in your history, it does not take long to join the dots because the chances are many people have also done the research.
Much to my surprise, my husband one day, who is a genealogy hobbyist bursts open my door and exclaims ” Susan, you are directly related to The famous John Ruskin family”.
Nobody in my family ever mentioned John Ruskin or talked about him. Surely I would know about it?
A couple of years ago, my husband returned to Australia for a family visit and approached my Nanna’s sister – Aunty Pam. Nanna had sadly passed away by this time and my husband assured me, it was Nanna and her sister who were the direct line to our Ruskin family.
So, Aunty Pam throws a lovely Aussie BBQ and my husband asks her “Hey Aunty Pam, do you guys realise you are directly related to a famous British guy called John Ruskin”? Aunty Pam pauses, thinks and says “Oh yeah, we know .. but who is he”? A common problem with people from the new worlds of Australia, Canada, United States and New Zealand is our fading memories of our British history.
Aunty Pam listened with much interest to learn about her famous British ancestor.
Aunty Pam then gets up and disappears into her house, later returning holding this ancient book called “The Ruskin Birthday Book”. Within the book is full of generations of our Ruskin ancestors hand writing, writing their own birthdays into this book. This book has been passed down the generations.
There is a portrait of Ruskin on the front cover and Aunty Pam says “that’s the guy apparently”.
The Ruskin Birthday Book:
My husband took a number of photos of the occasion, beamed them all back to me in Edinburgh as evidence, forcing me to concede it must in fact be true.
The connection to The Ruskin family is rather strong. John Ruskin had no children and is the product of a union between two 1st cousins from the Richardson line. The Richardson’s of Croydon had a successful merchants business in London. John Ruskin’s 1st cousin or genetic sister, “Mary Bridget Richardson” married a Captain “Fox” and moved to Australia. They moved to Australia because Mary had contracted Tuberculosis. The Australian weather would cure it, right?
Sadly the weather could not cure it and Mary died but not before bearing offspring, one of them named “John Ruskin Fox”.
Mary Bridget Richardson is my Nanna’s Great, Great Grandmother, straight up the line.
Sometimes life can throw up coincidences. My link to the famous John Ruskin was certainly an unexpected find but then to discover Barony House B&B, the Hotels in Edinburgh, house we run as a Bed and Breakfast was built in 1887, smack bang during the Arts and Crafts architectural movement, a movement pioneered by my famous ancestor.
In honour of my ancestor’s past, I have designed and hand painted an Arts and Crafts frieze in our Club Room and in some of the Guest Rooms. I have also created a “John Ruskin Room” which also sports a frieze and is entirely inspired by his era.
The John Ruskin Room:
We did manage to visit The John Ruskin Museum in the Lakes district and visit the Museum in Coniston.
We also made it into John Ruskin’s Wikipedia page:
Find us under the heading: Ruskin in the 21st century.
When you stay with us in Barony House Hotels in Edinburgh, B&B in Edinburgh, we will be sure to show you:
The many original Arts and Crafts features in our home! Inspired by my famous ancestor who is on the wall, hanging as a lovely portrait in our hall.
Our favourite quote from John Ruskin:
Very true of our life in Barony House, Edinburgh B&B, Hotels in Edinburgh!