The Bousfield Diaries: A Middle-class Family in Late Victorian Bedford, Volume 86

Front Cover
Publication of the Bedfordshire Historical Record Society pub. by the Boydell Press, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 233 pages
The diaries of Charlotte Bousfield, extending from 1878 to 1896, paint a vivid picture of the activities of a multi-talented Bedford family, led by a strong-minded matriarch. They were prominent in local life: Charlotte's husband Edward was an influential figure in developing agricultural machinery at the Britannia Iron Works, Bedford's successful exemplar of a modern iron foundry, and important as a factor in the town's growth, while Will, the ablest of the children, became a QC and Conservative MP, whose election campaigns are described in lively detail. Charlotte, meanwhile, was also active, both in the town and further afield: her concern for the underprivileged in the town, a practical expression of her fervent Methodist beliefs, emerges clearly in her lifelong work for the temperance cause, locally and nationally. She founded a home for 'inebriate women', which was ground-breaking for the time, and whose work she describes in fascinating detail. She was also a Poor Law Guardian, and a leading figure in the Bedford Workhouse scandal of the 1890s. Throughout, the diaries bring out some aspects of Victorian social life which are not always obvious: the dependence of the family on their servants; the ease of travelling using railways and horse-drawn transport; the frequency with which family members would spend time staying with friends and relatives. Edited here with notes and introduction, they bring the past vividly to life.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

March 1878 to January 1883
1
August 1887 to June
18
Postscript by John Hamilton
213
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information