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Tea By The Nursery Fire: A Children s Nanny at the Turn of the Century

Noel Streatfeild

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Virago Modern Classics, Biography: general, Biography: literary, Language, Prose: non-fiction

A life in service, from nursery maid to head nanny, in Victorian and Edwardian England.

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.

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Noel Streatfeild

Noel Streatfeild (1895-1986) was born in Amberley, Sussex. Her father was Bishop of Lewes and her great-grandmother was the prison reformer, Elizabeth Fry. She was a mischievous child, often in trouble at home. While growing up, she and her sisters put on plays for parish causes and, after making munitions during World War I, she trained as an actress. Noel Streatfeild started by writing books for adults. Then in 1931 she published her first children's book. Her best-loved novel, BALLET SHOES, was published in 1936.When World War II broke out, she worked in canteens for the armed forces and for those injured by bombs. She wrote over 80 books in her lifetime and lived in London till her death.

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