One of my family names is Walford, and like many people including my fictitious characters in my Radwinter books, I am always trying to find out more about their lives. My great-grandfather, Louis was born with the surname Moses, but he and his brothers changed their name to Walford… one can imagine why in 19th century Britain and Europe. His family were merchants and they went to Tasmania in the 1840’s to run ships and engage in international import and export trade. Louis was born in Tasmania; his parents returned to London in the 1860’s but he didn’t return until about 1880… I don’t know exactly when.
So, I’m forever typing his name into search engines, and sometimes using his initials, L.F. Walford. I keep coming up with a completely different person, L.B.Walford; although L.B., like Louis, was born in 1845, and although she like him changed her name, (but from Colquhoun to Walford, not Moses to Walford) she was not a man but a woman, Lucy Berthia, she was born in Portobello near Edinburgh, not Hobart in Tasmania. Like him she moved to London, but she went there in 1907. Like Louis she had a family, two sons and five daughters; he had four sons and one daughter. Unlike Louis she got married, she married Alfred Saunders Walford in 1869, unlike Louis who did not marry the mother of his children although unconventionally for the time they lived together with their family. Lucy died aged seventy in 1915 at home in Pimlico, poor Louis died prematurely at fifty, in 1895.
Mrs Walford – not my great-grandma Mrs Walford, Mrs Lucy Walford was a novelist who wrote nearly fifty full-length novels, one of which pleased Queen Victoria who received her at court. I’m not sure how good these novels actually were, but they were quite popular and she was described as a ‘society novelist’. Mrs Walford seems to have dropped from sight, a writer of her time, maybe, remembered apparently for her ‘lively and gossipy accounts of late-Victorian society from the perspective of one who has survived into a different age.’
My featured image is of the other Mrs Walford, my great-grandma.