The Bousfield Diaries
Title Details

282 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

23 b/w illus.

Series: Publications Bedfordshire Hist Rec Soc

Series Vol. Number: 86

Imprint: Bedfordshire Historical Record Society

The Bousfield Diaries

A Middle-Class Family in Late Victorian Bedford

Edited by James Collett-White and Richard Smart

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  • Author
The diaries of Charlotte Bousfield, extending from 1878 to 1896, paint a vivid picture of the activities of the multi-talented Bousfield family of Bedford, led by its strong-minded matriarch.
The diaries of Charlotte Bousfield, extending from 1878 to 1896, paint a vivid picture of the activities of the multi-talented Bousfield family of Bedford, led by its strong-minded matriarch.
The Bousfields 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, important as a factor in Bedford's growth. Will, the ablest of their children, became a QC and Conservative MP, whose election campaigns are described in lively detail.
Charlotte was also active both in Bedford 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 describes the work of the home 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 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; and the frequency with which family members would spend time staying with friends and relatives.

James Collett-White is an archivist and has worked at the Isle of Wight Record Office (1970-1974), Bedfordshire Archives and Records Service (1975-2012) and has been Archivist to Sir Samuel Whitbread since 1997. He has contributed to several BHRS volumes and was, for a short time, the Society’s general editor. He has published articles to celebrate the hundredth anniversaries of Bedfordshire Archives and Records Service and BHRS and researches, lectures and writes on history in Bedfordshire. He is working with Bob Ricketts and David Newman on another volume for BHRS on the Turner family of Milton Ernest.

Dr Richard Smart, FSA, (1940-2018) taught history in Bedford from 1970 to 2001 at Bedford Teacher Training College, which became Bedford College of Higher Education in 1976, and then part of De Montfort University in 1993. In 1976 he became Head of the History Department. He published on the history of teacher training in Bedford and on St Paul’s Church, Bedford. He was Secretary of BHRS from 2000-2013.

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9780851550756

October 2009

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Hardcover

9780851550725

September 2007

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Ebook (EPDF)

9781800107731

September 2007

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Title Details

282 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

23 b/w illus.

Series: Publications Bedfordshire Hist Rec Soc

Series Vol. Number: 86

Imprint: Bedfordshire Historical Record Society