The Diary of Elizabeth Lee

BookThe Diary of Elizabeth Lee

The Diary of Elizabeth Lee

Growing up on Merseyside in the Late Nineteenth Century


February 15th, 2019

Access Token




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.

Author Information

Colin Pooley is Professor of Social and Historical Geography at the University of Lancaster. Siân Pooley is a research student at St John’s College, Cambridge. Richard Lawton was Emeritus Professor of Geography in the University of Liverpool.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of Figures and Tables11
List of Plates13
The Diary of Elizabeth Lee: An Introductory Essay15
Origins of the diary15
Women in late-nineteenth-century England17
Merseyside in the late nineteenth century21
Diaries as sources for historical analysis25
Elizabeth Lee’s diary: an assessment of the source27
The Lee family: an overview29
Aspects of Elizabeth Lee’s life32
Editorial Conventions Used in the Transcript of the Diary77
The Diary of Elizabeth Lee, 1884–189279
Glossary of People Mentioned in the Diary483
Further Reading495