Museum reprints woman’s diary of 19th Century life in Sidmouth

Tamsine’s Diary– the life and times of a Devon Gentlewoman 1808-1863 is now available from Sidmouth

Tamsine’s Diary– the life and times of a Devon Gentlewoman 1808-1863 is now available from Sidmouth Museum - Credit: Archant

A diary giving a woman’s perspective on 19th century life in the Sid Valley has been reprinted by popular demand.

A drawing of Sidmouth's Esplanade in 1826 from Tamsine’s Diary– the life and times of a Devon Gentle

A drawing of Sidmouth's Esplanade in 1826 from Tamsine’s Diary– the life and times of a Devon Gentlewoman 1808-1863 - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Museum only released a limited number of copies of Tamsine’s Diary – the life and times of a Devon Gentlewoman, 1808-1863, researched by its librarians, Rab and Christine Barnard.

Thomazine Pearse Leigh’s parents owned Slade Farm, now the Donkey Sanctuary, and her marriage to Lieutenant John Carslake, who had served on HMS Victory under Nelson, brought together several important local families.

Museum curator Nigel Hyman said: “It is an important and lavishly-illustrated book, but also relatively expensive to produce.

“It is always difficult to predict demand and so only a limited number of copies were printed.


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“These sold out quickly and we are still getting enquiries about it and so have decided to do a limited edition reprint.”

Tamsine kept a diary from the age of 11, to which Rab and Christine added notes and images, some of which have never been seen outside the Carslake family.

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Most books about the history of the Sid Valley have been written by men, so Tamsine’s Diary provides an interesting perspective on 19th Century life in the town.

The book can be ordered at the museum or at www.sidvale association.org.uk before July 31.

The cost is £15, plus £5 for those unable to collect it from the museum. It should be available by the middle of August.

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