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The Journal of a Victorian Lady:

Louisa Thomas of Hollingbourne

Louisa Thomas

edited by Helen Allinson

“I have resolved to write all that befalls me with the greatest exactness”

So reads the first diary entry of Louisa Thomas when she was aged 16

Louisa Thomas was an energetic, cultured woman who faithfully wrote a journal for most of her long life. Here, published for the first time, in her own words is a vivid record of her life lived to the full. Her family was an unusual one, her father was one of the wealthy Goldsmids, her mother of Huguenot descent. We see her as a girl in Paris, a spinster in Brighton. We follow Louisa on her six month honeymoon grand tour of Europe. We see her at home establishing her household in Hollingbourne, attending election hustings in nearby Maidstone. Louisa enjoyed whirling away the hours until dawn at Kentish Balls and describing the glamorous dresses of her wealthy fellow dancers.

Prominent people of the day with whom Louisa exchanged visits included Alfred Lord Tennyson and Charles Kean. We meet her close and diverse family; she and her husband Richard had six children whose status ensured appointments in the service of the British Empire. We experience the excitement of regular visits to aunts and uncles in their grand London homes in Regents Park and to Brighton to see new exhibitions and brilliant events.

A life that encompassed the horse-drawn carriage era to the motor car and train, the "upstairs/downstairs" era of footmen, cooks, housemaids, skivvies, gardeners and farm labourers. Louisa was both the benevolent mistress and one who could send a pregnant maid to the dreaded workhouse. At the same time her husband Richard was a wealthy farmer.

This book is an engrossing account of English life at the zenith of the Victorian age.

A great read. 416 pages, paperback. ISBN 978 0 904373 14 1

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