The Writings of Violet Wickham
Violet Wickham’s diaries are the only documents
to provide intimate details of her life and adventures with Henry from the time
of their marriage in 1871 to their parting in 1899 and they have led a very
To call them ‘diaries’ is, perhaps, incorrect. No doubt Mrs Wickham kept notes, or even a true diary, of her travels but the document accessed by Lane is more appropriately described as a ‘memoire’ or log and is entitled “A Lady’s Experience in Many Lands”. We do not know when it was written but it is certainly retrospective rather than in ‘real time’ and for some inexplicable reason remained unpublished. When Lady Wickham (as she then was) died in 1928 she left the 8,000 word log to her niece, Emily Lee, the daughter of Henry’s brother, John. It next surfaced in the archives of the Goodyear Tyre and Rubber Company where a transcript was made and the collection was then donated, along with numerous other documents from the company to a British museum where they remained uncatalogued in detail and were only found due to Joe’s persistence and the vague memory of a retired archivist.
Not only does the log offer interesting insights into Henry’s character, it also shows Violet to be a remarkable and resourceful lady with great character and not without a sharp wit. It deserves printing in full!
*Published February 28th 2008 – “The Thief at the End of The World”