Tea By The Nursery Fire
By Noel Streatfeild
Emily Huckwell spent almost her entire life working for one family. Born in a tiny Sussex village in the 1870s, she went into domestic service in the Burton household before she was twelve, earning £5 a year. She began as a nursery maid, progressing to under nurse and then head nanny, looking after two generations of children. One of the children in her care was the father of Noel Streatfeild, the author of Ballet Shoes and one of the best-loved children's writers of the 20th century. Basing her story on fact and family legend, Noel Streatfeild here tells Emily's story, and with her characteristic warmth and intimacy creates a fascinating portrait of Victorian and Edwardian life above and below stairs.
A Tug On The Thread
By Diana Quick
Be sure you marry a pure-blooded Englishman.' The memory of this inexplicable command to nine-year-old Diana Quick by her terminally ill grandfather was to remain buried for years. It wasn't until she played Julia Flyte in the celebrated Granada TV dramatisation of Brideshead Revisited that it resurfaced, setting her on a quest to uncover the hidden enigma of her father's family in India. Gradually Diana unpeeled the layers of family secrets that revealed changed names, the stigma of being 'country born', her grandfather's obsessive ambition for his son. This knowledge helped her both to understand her own heritage and to interpret the roles she played on stage and screen. It also gave her pride in her family's history: the bravery of her great-grandmother who, as a child, narrowly escaped being murdered during the 1857 Indian Mutiny; her father's struggles as a penniless student in a foreign country.