United Kingdom to The Netherlands | 19-20 July 1928

London Mansion House 1928DATE July 19th 1928
PLACE London Eng
Today is our free day & ‘K’ and I went shopping together. First we went to the Abbey & enjoyed it for the 3rd time. Then to Buckingham Palace where we saw the changing of the guards and it was very colorful. We went over on Cheap Side where I bought 2 prints & then we came back to the hotel for lunch. After lunch we went to Dunhills [1] & all around then after an early dinner we caught the train to the boat. On the ‘St George’ we crossed the channel to the Hook of Holland.

Hook of Holland 1928DATE July 20th
PLACE Holland
We landed in Holland at 7.15 and went in buses to Le Hague and first saw the peace palace it is very beautiful and is furnished by the gifts of different nations of the world. We then went to the palace in the wood and saw the residence of Queen Wilimena. One room the Rubens Room was exceptionally beautiful. We had lunch at the ‘Terminus Hotel’ and then went thru the City of Amsterdam and took a sightseeing bus all around. Saw the National Gallery where Rembrants Night Watch hangs with his Syndics and Anatomy. This is the most beautiful exhibition of art we have seen yet. We then proceeded to the Grand Hotel [2] which is on the north sea & had dinner there & spent the night. It is a beautiful spot & very fashionable.

The Nightwatch by Rembrandt was one of Vincent's favourite works of art.

De Nachtwacht (1641) by Rembrandt was one of Vincent’s favourite works of art.

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

1928 Dunhill Lighter Ad[1] In 1927, Alfred Dunhill launched the Unique lighter, the first to be operated using just one hand. And, in 1928, Dunhill began distributing the Namiki pen company’s maki-e lacquered pens. At the time of Vincent’s visit, Dunhill was located at 30 Duke Street, St James’s SW1. The store was bombed in 1941 and renovated in the 1950s.

Grand Hotel Huis Ter Duin[2] Vincent’s tour group most probably stayed at the Grand Hotel Huis Ter Duin, today a 5-star luxury hotel, on the Noordwijk beach, located 40km from the city of Amsterday, which has also been much favoured by the Dutch royal family. The hotel also houses the one star Michelin restaurant, Latour.

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.



Vincent Price on London, the British Museum and the Elgin Marbles

I Like What I Know (1959)In 1959, Vincent Price recounted his life-long passion for the art world in I Like What I Know. Here now are some extracts from Price’s visual autobiography, in which a 48-year-old Price reflects back on his stay in London in July 1928…

‘London, the life of England. It is impressive that this little land contains the world’s greatest city, and it is equally impressive that its citizens have brought so much beauty into the welter of their poverty of space.’

‘I took London on like the biggest hick ever to hit a big city. Much as I wanted to see everything on our schedule, I decided one day, with permission, to forego another Christopher Wren church and head straight for my ultimate London goal on my own.’

‘There is really only one mysterious museum in the world: the British Museum. Nothing can touch it for clutter, for atmosphere, for gravity of purpose, that purpose being to collect civilization complete, under one roof. The past pops up around you as though it had sought refuge from the present. Secretively, crouching in every corner, treasures await discovery.

‘If the British didn’t succeed in colonizing the world, they succeeded in preserving it here. And if it is true that they are the most civilized people on the face of the earth, their source of inspiration – the sun from which they take their shine and polish – orbits here. It is the home of discovery, the Rosetta Stone, that key to conversation; the doors, lintels, pylons, caryatids, architraves, tympana, all the supports of our ultimate necessity – the roof over our heads. Here they all are.’

Vincent at the British Museum

Now and Then: Vincent Price at the British Museum

‘If the ravages of British conquests, such as Benin, sometimes shock us, the spoils as gathered here can only delight us, for what sensitive souls who feel the Elgin Marbles would be better off in Athens should remember those centuries of neglect of the Parthenon, when it was a powderhouse and all the samplers of the past picked its anatomy apart so that heads, hands, and bodies are irretrievably separated.’

‘With Mademoiselle snapping at our heels to “to get on with it”, my hurried opinion of that other masterpiece in the British Museum, the Portland Vase, was that it looked like a reproduction by Wedgewood. And its importance escaped me to the point almost of condoning the maniac who, years before had hurled a brick at it.’

‘When you are doing seven capitals in seven weeks, you don’t see very much of everything, and being with a group, you do as they do. So the British Museum was the only museum considered a ‘must’ in our three days. The National Gallery, which I lived in later on (on another trip), I’d have to wait to see then. We had to eat, sleep, see the zoo, the Square, and Piccadilly. So all we could assume, jumping from one bus to another and walking endless miles of London streets, was that London was certainly the biggest city, that the British were intolerantly tolerant of American tourists, and that I, for one, wanted to come back.’

London, England | 15-16 July 1928

DATE July 15th
PLACE London, England
I arose to go to church and I got an underground to St James Park & then from there I walked to Westminster. The service was beautiful & I took in a great part of the many statues there within. This afternoon Mrs Josey + 2 went through the Museum (British Museum Fine Arts Bldg). It was very beautiful. Then we got on an Omnibus + went all over the town on it. Tonight we went to The New Gallery Kinema House [1] and saw John Barrymore & Camilla Horn in Tempest [see a clip below].

London Buses 1928

Nelson's Column 1928 Postcard

DATE July 16th
PLACE London, England
Today we took a sight seeing bus around the city and visited Westminster hall and the Parliament Bldgs & Westminster abbey In the afternoon The Tower was the main item & St Paul’s Cathedral which is half closed. The crown jewels were most marvelous and they are so perfectly guarded. The largest diamond in the world (Colliman I) is held in the septer & the next two in the Kings crown.

Like today, Britain was having a heatwave on 16 July 1928. Click on the link to watch a British Pathé film which was shot on the same day that Vincent’s tour visted London. Phew!

Vincent Price Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

Vincent Price Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

London Bus 1928London’s popular S-Type buses were introduced in 1920, but did not have covered tops until 1926. These bone-shakers ran on solid wheels until 1928 when pneumatic tyres were introduced. They were withdrawn between about 1930 and 1932, and replaced with LT and ST types. One S-Type (S742) survives as part of the Transport of London Collection.

Underground 1928One of the big silent films to come out in the UK during 1928 was director Anthony Asquith’s romantic thriller Underground, about two young Londoners who meet and fall in love on the city’s iconic tube. You can read more about this exciting and action-packed silent which was been re-released in the UK to coincide with the tube’s 150th anniversary. Click here to read more.

New Gallery Cinema
[1] The New Gallery Cinema is a Grade II listed building located at 121-125 Regent Street W1B 4TB. It first opened as a movie house in 1913. In 1925, Britain’s first film society, the London Film School, was founded at the cinema. Its original members included George Bernard Shaw and HG Wells and its objective was to screen banned works alongside mainstream films. The cinema closed its doors in 1953. Today, it is the site of the Burberry store. You can read more about its history on the Cinema Treasures blog (here).

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.

Plymouth to London | 13-14 July 1928

DATE July 13th
Today is Friday and there is the usual nothing to do except play deck tennis and bet on the horseraces. I have made acquaintences with alot of awfully nice people. Staid up until 4pm watching for the sun and it was gorgous. Met a swell girl who I like alot and I had a good time with her. I am going to have a date in London too.

RMS CaroniaDATE July 14th
PLACE Plymouth & London
This is the real start of my trip abroad. We stopped at Plymouth at about 11:30 and a tender came out and took us off. We went through customs and then on a train where I met a very pretty girl, Peggy Voorhees. We arrived at London at 6:30 and went to the Royal Stuart Hotel on 162 Cromwell Road S Kensington [1]. It is a very nice hotel and their meals are a relief from boat meals. Went to a show  Picadille Sq & Charing Cross & generally wandered around. Tired & How.

piccadilly_circus_1928DID YOU KNOW?
• London’s Piccadilly Theatre was only three months old when Vincent set foot in the Capital for the first time, where Jerome Kern‘s musical Blue Eyes was running (for 276 performances), starring Evelyn Lane.
• London’s Piccadilly tube station station was being reconstructed in 1928 and would be officially opened on 10 December..

Vincent Price Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

Vincent Price Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

[1] The Cromwell Hospital now occupied the site of the Royal Stuart Hotel. But did you know that Alfred and Alma Hitchcock lived in the top two floors of 153 Cromwell Road from 1926 to 1939, and it was here where their daughter Patricia was born on July 7, 1928? A blue plaque was installed in August 1999.

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.