Off to Christmas Island

Apparently, in 1922 a lady did not need to dress fashionably when visiting Christmas Island. A lovely little glimpse of a British lady about to embark on a great adventure with her husband. Together they will travel to Christmas Island on a scientific quest. I wonder, did she enjoy her stay on the island? You can read in more detail about the British Eclipse Expedition here.

To Photograph the Eclipse of the Sun
A Lonely Spot with a Golf Course

Mr Spenser Jones, the young chief assistant at Greenwich Observatory, has just left Liverpool for Christmas Island, where in September next he is to photograph the eclipse of the sun. Amongst the large quantity of luggage-estimated at 4 tons which he and his wife have taken with them is a big telescope.

When he had got on board the Holt liner Mentor, which is to take him as far as Singapore, Mr Spenser Jones found time for a few words. “We are,” he said, “having to make a six months’ preparation for a task which will only take about four minutes. However, I think it will prove worth while.”

Mrs Jones’ Luggage.

Mrs Spenser Jones’ own luggage consists only of a few small trunks containing the flimsiest of clothes, for the temperature of Christmas Island is not that of a British Christmas.

“One will not need to dress fashionably and to have special gowns for particular occasions,” she said. “I understand there are only two other women on the island, and such things as social functions will be unknown.

“One feels as though one were going on to play Robinson Crusoe – although we shall be much more civilised than that gentleman. There will be tennis and, of course, swimming: and I believe the few residents on the island have made a small golf course. I am looking forward to the trip immensely.

“Although I am not an expert astronomer, I think I shall be of use not only in connection with my husband’s work but in making the island home comfortable. I am sure a woman’s help will be needed in that direction.

No Shops.

“It will be pleasant to get away from cities and live a free life for a while. It will be strange, too, not to have any shops to tempt one to buy. It is sometimes said that women cannot live without shops, but my coming experience will enable me to prove that one woman at least can be happy without for a time.”

From Singapore Mr Spenser Jones will travel the 800 miles to Christmas Island in a small vessel belonging to the company which leases the island. He will arrive at his destination in March, and will be busy for six months preparing his instruments to take the photographs. There are 30 white people on the island, the population consisting mainly of Chinese coolies.

The photographic apparatus has a 13-inch diameter object glass and a telescope tube 12½ feet long.

“Off to Christmas Island.” Evening Telegraph, 30 Jan. 1922, p. 2. British Library Newspapers