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Molly Hughes
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A London Child of the 1870s

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  94 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Molly Hughes vividly remembers the small, everyday pleasures of a close family life in Victorian London: joyful Christmases, blissful vacations in Cornwall, escapades with her brothers, and schooldays under the formidable Miss Buss.
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Published January 1st 2004 by Isis (first published 1934)
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Trisha
This is the 4th book I’ve ordered from the Persephone Book Shop in London and like the other three it’s well worth the price. That’s because these books are always as beautiful to look at, with their soft grey covers and colorful endpapers chosen to match the date and mood of the book, as they are to read. Persephone Press prints works primarily by women whose books are hard to find elsewhere and this one is a good example. It’s a memoir written by the youngest child of a middle class, literary- ...more
Karyl
A lively and jolly romp with a fun-loving family of Victorian England. It's very Little Women-ish, with a bit of the Banks family of Mary Poppins mixed in, in that it portrays a close-knit family that loves to have a good time.

For example:
It was an uncertain afternoon, neither rain nor shine, when some one started the idea of a war between boys and girls. It went with a swing. We girls agreed to remain in our big long bedroom, with windows on two sides, and pretend to be besieged in Lucknow. T
...more
Roberta
Il primo di una serie di tre memoir, A London Child of the 1870's racconta per l'appunto l'infanzia vittoriana di Molly Hughes. La famiglia di Molly era una famiglia qualsiasi, non povera, non ricca, non famosa o amica di persone famose. L'intenzione dell'autrice è quella di sfatare il mito secondo il quale in epoca vittoriana i bambini non riuscivano a godersi l'infanzia. La vita qualsiasi di questa numerosa famiglia particolarmente amante della lettura (Molly era la figlia più giovane e aveva ...more
Joyce
I love this writer's voice. She tells her story simply but with real wit. She's the youngest and only girl in a rambunctious Victorian family that lives to read.

Eventually, later, she faces real adversity, but in this story she's recounting a happy childhood. On Sunday morning, on a long walk to St. Paul's for church service, the family plays 'wayside cribbage': "man carrying baby, 5 points; three in a hansom, 5; perambulator, 1; cat in window, 15; ladder, 1; man with a mourning hatband, 5; any
...more
Cynthia Haggard
Molly Hughes’ memoirs, about her childhood in London in the 1870s give a vivid account of what it was like to be a child at that time. The youngest of five children, Molly had four older brothers to contend with. While they grew up and went off to study at various prep schools up and down the country, Molly was obliged to sit at home with her mother, and glean her education from the books which her mother leant her. Thus she had a lot of time to drink in the experience of living in London, and p ...more
Susan
A delightfully vivid memoir of day to day family life and adventures in Victorian London, from toffee making with the "worst butter", long Sunday trips through a deserted city to St Paul's for services, the day long train trip for vacations in Cornwall, going riding on the top of a bus with her brothers, and holiday celebrations among many others.

"The evening festivities began with the ceremony of punch-making. This was always my father's special job, and he spread himself over it royally. Qual
...more
Ruth
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rr
I don't usually choose non-fiction for leisure reading, and I've not read many memoirs in general--but I'm glad I moved off my beaten paths when picking this book. Molly Hughes' childhood memoir is a pleasure in and of itself plus a treasure-trove of insights into "ordinary life" in Victorian London.

I read the edition published by Persephone Books (a great press!), and it has a preface by Adam Gopnik. Persephone publishes interesting titles and makes sure that its books are a physical pleasure
...more
Etta Mcquade
Molly Hughes writes of her young years growing up in Victorian London with four brothers older than herself and intelluctual, devoted, and reasonable parents. This gentle, humorous memoir tells of their games, the tricks the children played, their books, household goings-on, and just everyday living. Especially captivating was their annual trip to Cornwall by train to stay with their relatives at the family homestead, and their Aunt Tony, whose "peculiar charm consisted in her greater delight in ...more
Rosemary
A charming memoir. Molly was the youngest of five children and the only girl, growing up in north London with her parents, brothers and two servants. Her parents seem quite unusual, although it’s hard to be sure – much more ‘modern’ than one would think from reading about the families in Victorian novels. As a girl, there was a lot that Molly wasn’t allowed to do, but her brothers sneaked her out to take her on the top of a horse-drawn omnibus, sitting up with the driver, and they had a lot of f ...more
iarXiv
A book that will make you smile until the bitter end.
Voracious
Love this, and was not expecting to. I put it on my to-read list hoping it would give me some insight into the London my grandparents grew up in, but realised they were born around 1890 rather than 1870. (We're a tribe of slow breeders).

But I dutifully started this, expecting to be educated, and was delighted to be charmed instead. The library copy contained both other books in the trilogy, so I read those too, and enjoyed them very much.

A few startling gender issues aside, Molly's attitudes are
...more
Alexa
Wish I could have given it 3.5 stars, but I didn't quite think it merited 4. It's not a long book, but I liked what I read. I wanted to read more really.

I was most particularly moved by the abrupt way she describes the death of her father at the end of the book. Knowing that there was more to the story than she let on really made me sympathize with the girl who went through that 135 years ago.

Persephone books REALLY needs to republish the other 2 books in the series!
Nicole
A wonderful peek into an interesting family. Hughes has a delightful voice. I fell in love with her brothers and especially her Aunt Tony in Cornwall. Grateful for the other thoughtful reviews.

(I'm a huge fan of Persephone Books now, too. Getting this book in the mail made me giddy - it's so beautiful!)
Rachel
Enormously entertaining autobiography about middle class 1870s childhood. Charming and evocative.
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4024704
Mary Vivian Hughes, usually known as Molly Hughes and also published under M.V. Hughes, was a British educator and author.

The daughter of a London stockbroker, she was born Mary Thomas and passed most of her childhood in Canonbury, under the watchful eyes of four older brothers. Her father, a modestly successful stockbroker, became caught up in a financial scandal and committed suicide in 1879.

She
...more
More about Molly Hughes...
A London Girl of the 1880s A London Family, 1870-1900: A Trilogy A London Home in the 1890s A London Family Between The Wars Vivians

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“He liked to join in any game that was afoot, so long as it was simple, such as dominoes or draughts, but was so good natured that he always let his opponents win. Not that he said so, but we were always aware of it, and could see him making mistakes on purpose. To poor Arthur we owed our disgust with obtrusively unselfish people, and our understanding of mother's oft-repeated maxim: 'Please yourself, your friends will like you the better.” 1 likes
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