Social Victorians/Haslemere


Haslemere, Surrey, SussexEdit

"The new railway line to Portsmouth, opened in 1859, had carved its way through the as-yet unsullied highlands of south-west Surrey. The station at Haslemere, which could be reached after a journey of no more than an hour and a half from London, gave access to these heights, and a means of escape from the murk and stench of the capital, without loss of its facilities" (Trotter 1).

By 1900, Haslemere was increasingly less fashionable for intelligentsia and writers because of its development for the middle class and tourists.

On 30 April 1881, Queen Victoria went through Haslemere on her way from Windsor to Hughenden, retracing Disraeli's journey the last time she had seen him, 8-10 December 1880, to visit his vault after his funeral; she was accompanied by "Princess Beatrice, the Dowager Marchioness of Ely (Lady in Waiting), and Lord Charles Fitzroy acting as Equerry" (Memorials of Lord Beaconsfield 209).


Grayshott was a village near Haslemere.


Grayswood is on the lower hills, nearer Haslemere, than the wilder peaks where Tennyson, say, built (Trotter 16). Arthur Pinero lived there for a while, as did Mrs. Humphrey Ward, and Margaret Oliphant, among others.


Thomas Wright saw Hindhead in 1897 and described it thus: "never have I witnessed scenery one half so lovely or a tithe so striking as that of the blowing woodlands and ample commons of aery, amethystine, and oderiferous Hind Head" (Trotter 8, qting Wright, Hindhead, or the English Switzerland, and its Literary and Historical Associations).

G.B. Shaw's Misalliance: "The writing is on the wall! Rome fell! Babylon fell! Hindhead's turn will come!" (Trotter 8).

John Tyndall built on Hindhead, and Margaret Oliphant visited there four times between 1888 and 1895 (Trotter 17).


The Arnold Dolmetsch collection, as well as some 1897 William Rothenstein drawings, are in Jesses, Haslemere.


Brookbank was Anne Gilchrist's cottage "in the outlying hamlet of Shottermill" (Trotter 12)


Arnold DolmetschEdit

The Arnold Dolmetsch collection, as well as some 1897 William Rothenstein drawings, are in Jesses, Haslemere.

Arthur Conan DoyleEdit

Arthur Conan Doyle lived in Hindhead, Haslemere, in 1902 (Baring-Gould II 113).

Anne GilchristEdit

Anne Gilchrist moved to Brookbank, a cottage near Haslemere, in 1862. She is connected to Dante Dabriel and Christina Rossetti, Tennyson, G.H. Lewes and Marian Evans (George Eliot) (Trotter 12-13). She finished "her late husband's Life of William Blake (1863), in which task she was assisted by Dante Dabriel and Christina Rossetti, who stayed and wrote at Brookbank" (Trotter 12). In 1869, "G.H. Lewes and Marian Evans (George Eliot) rented Brookbank from Anne for the summer months" (Trotter 13). Evans was writing Middlemarch.

Alfred, Lord TennysonEdit

Alfred, Lord Tennyson built Aldworth, "800 feet up on Blackdown in 1868-69" (Trotter 6). It "was a pioneering effort, only possible for a relatively wealthy person. But it showed what could be done, for despite the remote situation, it was equipped with all the conveniences then required by the increasingly sophisticated middle class (it even had a bath, something that Tennyson's other house, Farringford, lacked)" (Trotter 6, qting Charles Tennyson's Aldworth: Summer Home of Alfred Lord Tennyson).

Tennyson, having heard of Haslemere and Anne Gilchrist through a mutual friend, visited in August 1866; Gilchrist helped the Tennysons find the site for Aldworth (Trotter 13). Two years after Tennyson finished and moved into Aldworth in 1869, "G.H. Lewes and Marian Evans (George Eliot) rented Brookbank from Anne for the summer months" (Trotter 13).

Flora ThompsonEdit

Flora Thompson worked in the post office in Grayshott.

John TyndallEdit

In 1883 John Tyndall and his wife, who were friends of the Tennysons, "camped in a primitive hut which they had put up on the grounds of their future home near the summit of Hindhead," near Haslemere (Trotter 15-16). Tyndall was a mountain-climber and frequent lecturer.

Works CitedEdit

  • Memorials of Lord Beaconsfield: Reprinted from “The Standard,” with a Portrait. London: Macmillan, 1881. Google Books, retrieved 12 February 2010.
  • Trotter