A DIARY penned by a girl almost 140 years ago has been turned into a book which will raise funds to help women and girls in Essex.

The diary was written by Daisy Dobell, covering 12 years from 1888 to 1900.

It was discovered by her grandson, George Courtauld, in a rarely-used desk at his home in Colne Engaine.

He decided it was too good to remain hidden away in a drawer and thought it should be published.

Profits from the book, called Daisy’s Diary, will go towards the EWAG Charitable Fund which is managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation.

It supports charities and voluntary organisations promoting self-esteem and wellbeing for women and girls.

Mr Courtauld, whose family is well known for philanthropy across many generations, discovered Daisy’s diaries while sorting through items at home.

He said: “When rummaging through an old desk I found, at the back of the bottom drawer, three volumes of diaries headed Daisy Dobell from 1888 to 1900, from Whittington Court in Cheltenham.

“Daisy was my grandmother. I opened one of the volumes and was immediately enchanted, amused and astonished.

“I read through all 64,000 words in one sitting.

“The diary reveals Daisy’s personality as delightful, charming and naive, but also shrewd and funny, sometimes not intentionally.”

The diary is the record of a girl developing from a child to a woman.


Mr Courtauld added: “It traces the increasing momentum of her life from the slow, almost dreamlike days of early childhood through the burgeoning awareness of an adolescent to the burst of activity as she becomes a woman and finally a wife.

“Daisy was the daughter of a brewer who owned several public houses in Gloucestershire and started her diary when she was 12.

“Her family was considered rather bohemian and, although well brought up, Daisy can be surprisingly passionate, unlike the conventional image of the Victorian maiden.

“Her diary was too good to moulder unseen at the back of a drawer and I decided to publish her memoirs and introduce her to other people who may love and laugh with her over 139 years later.”


Mr Courtauld’s other published book, The Rambles of a Fat Bulldog, recalls his adventures over the past two decades, including his time as High Sheriff of Essex.

It is a sequel to his original Fat Bulldog Travel books, written when he was a Queen’s Messenger, which involved travelling all over the world delivering items on behalf of the Queen to various British embassies.

Daisy’s Diary and The Rambles of a Fat Bulldog are both available from Amazon under Mr Courtauld’s name, the EWAG website and some bookshops for £10 and £12 respectively.

EWAG has raised more than £100,000 and grants have been made to various charities including the Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse in Colchester, to provide counselling for women and girls affected by sexual violence.

Money has also been given to Open Road to support women on probation from prison, as well as Tendring Mental Health Support and Safer Places providing refuge to women and their children who have suffered domestic violence.

ECF manages several charitable funds set up by members of the Courtauld family including the Marion Ruth Courtauld Educational Fund, providing educational and cultural opportunities for young people and the William Julien Courtauld Medical Fund.

Visit www.essexwomensadvisorygroup.com/books.