Although I’ve always had an interest in social history, it wasn’t until I decided to explore my own neighbourhood that I discovered a remarkable story on my own doorstep – that of Lady Henry Somerset, a woman ahead of her time.
I felt an immediate affinity with this remarkable woman – not because I shared her wealth and social status, but because she was passionate about making life better for people. She advocated temperance but worked, in a very hands-on manner, with women and children whose lives had been blighted by alcohol. I too had worked in social housing, with disadvantaged groups, including those who suffered from drug and alcohol abuse. Lady Henry was also a prolific writer – something I’d always wanted to achieve. Early retirement has given me that opportunity.
Research is wonderful because in unearthing one story you find so many more. You also meet some fascinating and incredibly helpful people.
I soon realised that Lady Henry Somerset was not the only forgotten temperance reformer of her day. This led me to my new book Scandal, Salvation and Suffrage – The Amazing Women of the temperance Movement out early 2015 from Matador, an imprint of Troubadour Publishing. I’ve featured several women who made the headlines in their day but whose efforts have been largely forgotten in the 21st century.
The new book is now available on the Buy The Books page.