Lennel House staff, Coldstream, Scotland

This undated postcard was addressed by a man named René to a friend, also named René, who was probably working at the Café Monico in London.  The sender is very likely one of the men in the group above.

The postcard was printed by the firm of G. W. Gibson in Coldstream, a town in the Scottish Borders.  The message on the back is in French, and I struggled to make out some of the words, including the first one, which turned out to be Lennel.  (You’ll see a high-resolution scan further down.)

Lennel staff 2

Pour moi toujours all right

I turned to a family friend, Stephanie Montgomery, and her daughter Katie for help with reading and understanding the message.

Here’s what we came up with for the left side:

Lennel le 6 Octobre
Mon vieux Spot
Comment vas-tu bien je pense
ainsi que ta femme et les enfants
Pour moi toujours all right
J’ai boulonner dur tous ces
temps derniers mais d’aujourd
hui mes patrons sont partis
pour l’Autriche je pars à
Londres samedi pour une
huitaine et j’espère bien te rou
ler au billard entraine toi
mon lapins-ki. Je t’envoie
la binette d’une partie
de la clique tu vois si je suis
un peu là. À partir de samedi
ne m’envoie plus les journaux

A rough translation:

Lennel 6 October
My old Spot
How are you well I think
also your wife and children
I’m still all right
I’ve been working very hard
recently but today
my patrons are leaving
for Austria I leave for
London Saturday for
eight days and I hope to play
you at billiards practice up
my lapins-ki. I’m sending you
the face of a part of
the group you can see if I look
important. From Saturday
don’t send me any more newspapers

At upper right he concludes:

À bientôt de te revoir
Mes amitiés à ta femme
cordiale poignée de main
pour toi

See you again soon.
My love to your wife
a hearty handshake
for you

The address:

René Lebacq
Restaurant Monico

(Piccaddily should be spelled Piccadilly.)


You can examine the photo or the back in high resolution below.  After you click on an image, select “View full size” in the lower right corner of your screen:


The dogs look very relaxed.  They were obviously important members of the staff.

Lennel staff 6d


The Lennel House and Garden were owned by Maj. Walter Waring and his wife, Lady Clémentine Waring (née Hay).  Beatrix Potter is known to have spent holidays at the estate.  Today the house is used as a Care Home, which I assume is what we’d call a retirement home or nursing home in the USA.  You can see two nice photos of the house, taken from the English side of the River Tweed, on this blog post by Cara Lockhart Smith, who lives in Coldstream.

During the First World War, Lennel House became an Auxiliary Hospital for wounded officers, one of whom was the poet Siegfried Sassoon.  The Australian War Memorial has a photo showing Lady Clémentine on the front steps of the house with a group of British and Australian officers.


Last update: December 27, 2018.


Further reading:

Caroline Alexander, “The Shock of War,” Smithsonian Magazine, September 2010.  (Lennel House is described in the article.)


18 thoughts on “Lennel House staff, Coldstream, Scotland

Add yours

  1. How snowy white the attire of the female staff is! And don’t you think the dog on the left is a Pekinese? The staff members all seem fairly happy and at ease, though perhaps not as much as the dogs, so it’s nice to imagine that Lennel House was a pleasant place to work. But what a lot of work you have done decoding and translating the message on the back! Perhaps the name of the restaurant should be “Restaurant Monaco”? I love “Pour moi toujours all right.” It’s my new favorite expression!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Love your comments, Carol! Guess what, I searched for “Restaurant Monico” last night and found it immediately! I really don’t know how I missed it before. I thought I looked for it when I bought the postcard in February (from a dealer in Philadelphia). I’ll update the post today with the new information. And yes, “Pour moi toujours all right” sounds like a mantra to live by.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for alerting me to this delightful photograph, of Lennel House when I think it must have been in its glory days. Such an interesting post. It’s a beautiful house, but not so much suited to a “retirement home”, with its big rooms and staircases. I know it from the inside as an relation of mine was there for some years.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Cara! I’ve added your name to the post, instead of referring to you as “a woman who lives in Coldstream.” I’ve also added a link at the end of the post to an article that you might find interesting. It’s about the connection between Lennel and the history of our understanding of shell shock, or PTSD.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Could that phrase towards the end of the postcard be: ‘Je t’envoie la lunette d’une partie de la clique’…. meaning perhaps ‘I send you a shot of part of the gang (who work here)……

    And then goes on ti invite his friend to see whether he is not a little ‘loc.’ whatever ‘loc’ means?

    In any case, marvellous visual cues your postcards provide into past lives. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Je lis : “Je t’envoie la binette d’une partie de la clique” soit “I’m sending you the face of a part of the group.”
    “Binette” for “face” and “clique” for “group” are terms of slang.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. For the last part of the phrase, i read: “tu vois si je suis un peu là”?.
    It seems me it is a pun in french between “être là” (to be here) et “être un peu là” (to hold an important place, being strong and brave; have a remarkable or heavy presence.)

    Liked by 2 people

  6. My Grandfather Stephen Hall worked there in the years up to 1914, From Garstang in lancashire this explains why when called up to the 1914 war it was the K.O.S. Borders that he joined.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s interesting, Andy. He must have joined with some friends from that area. I don’t know if you looked at the Smithsonian article I linked to at the end of the post, but the wartime records from Lennel are highly valued by historians, because so many records from other facilities were lost. Thank you for commenting! Regards from Vermont, Brad Purinton

      Liked by 1 person

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