John only twice drew in his diary. This is the first of the two drawings, which shows the last time he saw his father. It must be a room in the house, somewhere around Buxton, where his father was staying. It shows John's father, mother and sister Hannah seated at the table with John next to his father. John's sister Mona was standing close to the table.


Today we buried poor father. A most sorrowful day for all of us. He was always so hopeful. We shall never see another like him. He always thought he would get better.

FRIDAY 29th JUNE 1888



Home, office etc.

TUESDAY 26th JUNE 1888

Office - Making list of my earnings from Auction Business, see summary book.

Out on Brewery Business in Freehay etc.

MONDAY 25th JUNE 1888

This morning, Alfred (the husband of John's sister Hannah) had a letter from Hannah to say that Father died on Sunday morning at 11am. Conscious to the last.

How fortunate that I went over last week end or I should never have seen him alive. My dear kind father, never more shall I hear his kind voice, never more shall I be able to ask his friendly advice, gone for ever. Why did I not kiss him when I left Buxton a week ago today instead of shaking hands with him. I have lost my greatest friend on earth.

God grant that I may live as good a life as father. Many will miss him. He has many friends but no enemies. Upright and honourable always. We shall meet in heaven.

When I left him last at a few minutes to 5pm on Monday evening last, he was seated at the tea table with Hannah and Mother whilst Mona (John's sister) was standing. I shook hands with Father and said Good afternoon, not Good bye; poor old chap. I little thought I was looking upon his old familiar form for the very last time on earth.

Father had made up his mind that they would come home on Saturday the 23rd but poor fellow he was too weak. I said on the Monday I left, "Well father, I shall be at Cheadle about 8 tonight". He said "I wish I was going with thee".

Pity that father did not come home again when he found that the Buxton Doctor pronounced him too weak to take baths. At Cheadle he would have had the Club doctor free and a nice garden to walk in as well as a warmer climate.

How mercenary the doctors at Buxton are. 10 shillings and 6 pence a visit charged. 2 shillings and 6 pence would be ample. I hang them and their physic - they can do no good.

I wanted father to have gone into an hydrobath establishment such as Smedley's at Matlock Bridge. Mother could have gone with him and stayed.

It would only have cost them about the same as taking appartments at Buxton and doctoring - namely 5 pounds a week - or 2 pounds 10 shillings for each of them.

Poor old father after a life of long hard work from youth to old age to be so afflicted at last and then to die without having had any leisure to end his days in peace.

Doctors and drugs you have had another victim. I feel ready to curse them and their false system of attempting to cure disease by clogging up the stomach with drugs.

Father had a naturally strong constitution ...(missing text).. had the strength to pull through. As it is his poor old frame was completely worn out what between battling with his pain and battling against the pernicious effects of the drugs.

It was a case of life and death and father did want to live to come home again. He would have done so too had he selected the water cure.

God grant that the people may soon see thro this false system of medicine and demand rational treatment.

Oh said the Doctor at Buxton, you are too weak to take the baths - it would kill you - but he never said - you can have water treatment without taking baths. I say if dad was too weak to take baths, he was certainly too weak to take drugs.

Father said only let me get to Buxton and I will soon slip into the baths.

1) The water cure had become quite popular in the late 19th Century.
2) John's father William Alcock was born in 1814 in Lane End (now called Longton). He was the son of William (a carter and later a brewer) and Ann Alcock. During his life, he was listed as a carpenter and later as an auctioneer. He married Hannah Yardley in 1841 in Stoke and they had the following children:
Sarah Ann Alcock (b.1842-Horton,Staffs) sp: John Yates (b.1838-?;m.1863)
Ursula Alcock (b.1844-Cheadle,Staffs) sp: William Yates (b.1843-?;m.1867) So William and Hannah must have moved to Cheadle around 1843.
William Alcock (b.1846-Cheadle,Staffs,England;d.1924) sp: Susan Shufflebottom (b.1851-Cheadle,Staffs;d.1917)
Hannah Alcock (b.1849-Cheadle,Staffs) sp: Alfred Hordern (b.1848-Cheadle,Staffs;m.1875)
Ralph Alcock (b.1850-Cheadle,Staffs;d.1933) sp: Fanny Chapman (b.1854-Wimpole,Cambridgeshire;d.1920)
John Alcock (b.1853-Cheadle,Staffs;d.1927-Stoke) sp: Alberta Annie Eccles (b.1862-Gloucester;m.1880;d.1939-Staffs)
Mary Alcock (Poppy) (b.1856-Cheadle,Staffs;d.1879-Cheadle,Staffs)
Elizabeth Alcock (b.1859-Cheadle,Staffs) sp: Walter Herbert Almond (b.1853-Middlesex England;m.1881)
Amelia Mona Walton Alcock (b.1864-Cheadle,Staffs) sp: Algernon Tuniclife (b.1865-Rugeley, Staffs England;m.1893)
His death is listed at freebmd: Derbyshire, June 1888, ALCOCK William, 73, Chapel Le F.

SUNDAY 24th JUNE 1888

Home. An anxious day. Father ......

The rest is missing but then in a different handwriting, it says:

Father not expected to live any longer. No news beyond. Father died at 11 o'clock this morning.

A strangely disjointed addition. I guess that this handwriting was from John's sister Hannah although she was in Buxton on this day. Other possible people who might have written these extra entries are Alberta and Hannah's husband Alfred Hordern. In any case, it is curious as to why another person has written in John's diary.



Working in Garden.

FRIDAY 22nd JUNE 1888

Home, in Market etc.

Evening - Working in Garden.


Walked thro Tean to Leigh on Beer Business.

Leigh to Cresswell per rail, 3 pence, then I walked along the Cheadle Railway now being made. Starting from the Station at Cresswell and on to Draycott Cross. Home about 6pm, very tired.


Home. Packing Bert again. Warm pack.

Afternoon - Out on Beer Business.

TUESDAY 19th JUNE 1888

Home. Waiting on Bert all day, packing and bandaging her. Warm pack etc.

MONDAY 18th JUNE 1888

Buxton. Went in the Gardens, 4 pence, but nothing very interesting, not a quarter as good as Alton Towers Gardens.

5pm left Buxton by train with Arthur Rushton and Johnson, Froghall at 7 and home. Found Bert very ill in Bed and just sending for the doctor.

SUNDAY 17th JUNE 1888

The first part of the entry is missing but later on, in a handwriting that is not John's, it says:

and Mr Land, past Lover's Leap and on hills.

It seems that John stayed in Buxton overnight. Bert was not with him but his sister Hannah was. Therefore, it seems most likely that this handwriting belongs to Hannah.

1) Lover's Leap Buxton


To Buxton with Hannah per 9.38 train from Froghall. Found father worse and looking very ill. His tongue has gone black and loaded with fur.

Afternoon - went out for a ride, all of us in wagonette.

Evening - I and Hannah and Mr Land went to see Poole's Cavern.

FRIDAY 15th JUNE 1888

Home. Mr Scarratt from the Hermitage, Ipstones, called regarding the sale of Dean's Farm and also Mr Chapman and his son from Bottom House. Chapman's offered me 800 pounds or 40 pounds for 20 accounts but Dean wants 1000 pounds.


To Hanley to see the abridgements of Patent Office Specifications at the public free Library - regarding Boot protectors.

Could find nothing of later date than 1866 so I did no good altho I visited both Hanley and Burslem.

The ventilation of the Hanley free Reading Room is abominable - Foul reeking atmosphere. One of the most stinking and dusty places I have ever visited.

I think now that it would be best to let this matter of Boot protectors drop, as I have not the money to speculate and then so many other similar inventions have been brought out. Besides, it would cost me about 4 Guineas to have the necessary search made in the Government offices.

It will take all my money to introduce the safety pin.

If I have a little cash to spare, it would pay me better to write to Edison and get a phonograph from him and exhibit.

1) The library in Pall Mall, Hanley, was opened in 1887. It moved to its current location in 1970.
2) The phonograph was the name for the early record players, which were patented by Thomas Edison in 1878.


Home office etc.

TUESDAY 12th JUNE 1888

Home, office and out after beer moneys.

Inventing and making drawing of Noiselss Boot Protectors and forwarding to Colby(?) Inventions Office, London.

MONDAY 11th JUNE 1888

With Mr Summer from Bells, Burton, at Payne's, Alton Castle Inn and taking a valuation of Payne's fixtures. With Mr Summer and to several public Houses.

SUNDAY 10th JUNE 1888

Went walk with Bert and Clara to a wood .....


With Mr Summer from Bells, Burton, at Payne's, Alton Castle Inn, arranging about Bells account due by Payne.

With Mr Summer and to several public Houses.