Friday, 15 July 2011

Review:- David Verey (Ed) – “The Diary of a Victorian Squire”

Year Published: - 1983
Where the book was from:- My own copy
ISBN: - 0 86299 055 6
Pages: - 242pp
Genre: - Non-fiction – Victorian Diary
Location:- Gloucestershire, Leeds et al
How I came across it: - Part of my diary collection
Rating: - ***** *****

One sentence summary:- Even had Victoriana and diaries not been of particular interest these extracts from the diaries of Dearman Birchall and the letters of his wife, Emily, would have rated very highly as an excellent diary with most days being succinct but interesting.

General comments:- Dearman Birchall was a Quaker cloth merchant from Leeds who bought a country house in Gloucestershire and became integrated into the local squierarchy. He pursued the fashionable life, spent the season in London and wintered abroad. The diaries go from 1865 to 1898 and we get glimpses of the servant problem, the pleasures of tricycling, Emily’s letters from their six-month honeymoon abroad, and the whole panoply of upper middle class Victorian life.

It is unusual to have the advantage of the diary of one partner and the letters of the other to give a broad perspective to the events of an era. David Verey, Dearman’s grandson, is to be congratulated on the choice of extracts and on making his introduction and comments brief but informative.

I have a whole collection of quotes from Dearman’s diaries. Far too many to put in here, suffice it to say it is eminently quotable.

- David Verey is the grandson of the Birchalls.

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