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Author Archives: Diana Devlin

What Do I Think I’m Doing?

At the last meeting of the Writing Family History group, we thought it would be good to take stock of our projects, so that’s what I’m doing. Three years ago I was approaching near-retirement and clearing up my late parents’ house, my stepfather having died in the autumn of 2010, leaving some papers about my … Continue reading »

Categories: 19th Century, How we write | Tags: | Leave a comment

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
 Gang aft agley

At the beginning of 1914, my grandparents had important decisions to make.  My grandfather, Lewis Casson, 38 years old, had just resigned from an important job as producer (the more usual word for a theatre director) at the very first regional repertory company in England, Miss Horniman’s Company at the Gaiety Theatre, Manchester.  His modern … Continue reading »

Categories: Before 1st World War | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Mrs Chapone’s Advice

In this season of New Year resolutions, there is usually an explosion of self-help books, instructing us how to keep fit, healthy and happy.  It so happens that I have just started to peruse a self-help book from the 18th century, having reached the appropriate date in my ‘shitty first draft’ . One of the … Continue reading »

Categories: 18th Century, 19th Century, Books we've read | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Reinventing the past

On Saturday 16 November, there was an article in the Review section of The Guardian about J M Turner.  The author, Richard Johns, is co-curator of the exhibition Turner and the Sea at the National Maritime Museum, which runs from 22 November until 21 April, 2014.  He described how much greater value is now placed … Continue reading »

Categories: How we write | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

1566 And All That

On Sunday 3 November, I had one of those experiences where the past and present collide.  I attended a staged reading of a play: Supposes, A Comedy written in the Italian tongue by Ariosto, Englished by George Gascoigne of Grey’s Inn Esquire and there presented 1566.   That original presentation took place in Grays Inn … Continue reading »

Categories: Legacies | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

No info-dump – a useful warning

On Sunday 29 September I attended a ‘guardian masterclass’: How to write fiction based on family history. It took place in the impressive and spacious offices of the guardian and The Observer in Kings Place, London, looking right over Regent’s Canal.  Coffee, tea and a good lunch were provided.  Another masterclass on self-publishing was happening … Continue reading »

Categories: How we write | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Puzzling Synchronicity

For some months I have been planning to take a trip to Birmingham, to try and track down some dates and facts which have eluded me.  Most importantly, I have never found a baptism record for my main subject, Esther Casson, who married in 1800 under her mother’s maiden name, Walker, not her mother’s married … Continue reading »

Categories: 18th Century | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Remember to archive!

Yesterday  I had an interesting visit to the London Metropolitan Archives in Northampton Road, Islington.  Many local archives have been combined here, and so there is fascinating material covering the whole of the area within M25.  If your family has any London connections I recommend that you check their holdings. At the moment there is … Continue reading »

Categories: How we write | 1 Comment

The Right to Bear Arms

One of the next things on my To Do list is to visit the College of Arms, having had abolutely no joy in e-mailing them or attempting a telephone conversation.   I want to know the full significance of three sealed documents which have come down my family from the early 19th century. The first … Continue reading »

Categories: 19th Century, Legacies | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Summer Blues

I have not touched my project for many weeks now.  I can’t say I have ‘writer’s block’, as I have not even tried to write anything.  Nor can I say that I am working on ‘background’, as none of my recent reading is at all relevant, or so it seems.  And now, of course, we … Continue reading »

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