Personal diaries provide rare glimpses into those aspects of the past that are usually hidden from view. Elizabeth Lee grew up on Merseyside in the late nineteenth century. She began her diary at the age of 16 in 1884 and it provides an unbroken record of her life up to the age of 25 in 1892.
Elizabeth’s father was a draper and outfitter with shops in Birkenhead, and throughout the period of the diary Elizabeth lived at home with her family in Prenton. However, she travelled widely on both sides of the Mersey and her diary provides an unusually revealing picture of middle-class life that begins to challenge conventional views of the position of young women in Victorian society.
The book includes a detailed introduction to and analysis of the diary, together with a glossary relating to key people in the diary and maps of the localities in which Elizabeth lived her everyday life. There have been a number of diaries published relating to ‘ordinary’ people, but most accounts were written retrospectively as life histories by people who eventually gained some degree of fame or prominence in society. This very rare first-hand account provides a unique insight into adolescent life in Victorian Britain.
Colin Pooley is Professor of Social and Historical Geography at the University of Lancaster.
Richard Lawton was Emeritus Professor of Geography in the University of Liverpool.
Siân Pooley is a research student at St John’s College, Cambridge.
List of Figures and Tables
List of Plates
The Diary of Elizabeth Lee: An Introductory Essay
Origins of the diary
Women in late-nineteenth-century England
Merseyside in the late nineteenth century
Diaries as sources for historical analysis
Elizabeth Lee’s diary: an assessment of the source
The Lee family: an overview
Aspects of Elizabeth Lee’s life
Editorial Conventions Used in the Transcript of the Diary
The Diary of Elizabeth Lee, 1884–1892
Glossary of People Mentioned in the Diary
239 x 163 mm
June 11, 2010