From Ngaire’s journal, 29th January, 1955 (holidaying in Waitomo)
‘This evening we visited the Waitomo Caves which are very beautiful, the highlight being the wonderful glow-worm caves which we saw from a boat which was taken along by the guide. It was like fairyland.
The Waitomo Hotel is just luxurious and we only wish we could have stayed here a week. In a large cupboard in our room is a sitting bath. It is about 4 ft long and 2 ½ feet wide and shaped like a seat. It is very comfortable. A spray shower may be used in it as well.’
As far as I can tell, the Waitomo Hotel hasn’t changed very much since the Mottram family visited in 1955, though the rooms don’t feature baths in cupboards any more. There may be a reason for that. Apparently the hotel is the ‘fourth most haunted spot, and the most haunted hotel, in New Zealand’. Reported paranormal events include bathtubs dripping blood, the noise of a maid’s trolley in the hallway and the ghost of a Maori princess ‘stalking the corridors’.
All of which makes the sketch of my grandfather in a sitting bath seem rather ho-hum.