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Meeting Report - Oct 2016

There were about 40 members of the Romsley and Hunnington History Society present at the meeting on Tuesday 25th October. The speaker was Diana Clutterbuck, who gave a talk on "The Young Diarist of Hartlebury."

Diaries are fascinating as they reveal the innermost thoughts and feelings of the writer. Perhaps the most famous diarist was Samuel Pepys, and the subject of the talk was a 10 years old girl, Emily Pepys, a distant relative.

Emily was born in 1833 and her father was the Bishop of Worcester. The family came to live in Hartlebury Castle, the Bishop's Palace. Emily and her three brothers and sisters were privileged, upper class children. Her family socialised with the local aristocracy and balls, parties and dancing played a large part in her life. The whole family had a love of music and her father supported the Worcester Music Festival.

Emily was educated at home by her mother. She kept her diary, in beautiful handwriting, for 6 months between 1844 and 1845. She wrote about every day games with her brothers and sister and the dread thought of the new French Mistress her mother thought might be good for her!

She also gives us an insight into the lives of how the other half of the people lived. She writes of a visit she took with her mother to a Mrs Clarke, who lived in a poky cottage with her six children, at a rent of £5.00 a year. They had taken some baby clothes for the latest baby and she seems to have enjoyed giving to the poor as she says she would like to be a clergyman's wife, when she grew up.

In fact she did marry a clergyman, the Hon. Rev. William. H. Lyttelton, in 1854. He was the Rector of Hagley, and they lived there until her death in 1877, but sadly they didn't have any children. The Diary is now back in Hartlebury Museum, giving us a glimpse of Victorian life of both rich and poor, through the eyes of a child.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday 22nd November at 7.30pm, in the Church Hall, when Max Hunt will give a talk on, "Herbert Austin and the Story of Longbridge." There will be no meeting in December or January and then on Tuesday 28th February 2017, Derek Clarke will give a talk on, "Repair Work at the Old Naval College in Greenwich." Everyone is welcome.

Pat Evans

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