I have just read an intriguing new book which is set partly in Poole and partly in Scotland (with a couple of voyages to Australia added in). The Albatross by Dorothy Field tells the story of several interrelated families in the late 19th century through times of hardship and prosperity. Ethelred and Charlotte Teague have a grocer’s shop on Poole High Street having worked hard to establish a thriving business. Then there is the Curtis family who move to a large house in Parkstone and their friend, the successful ship’s master, James Lovejoy and his son, Harry.
At the other end of the social scale is Lisa, the servant girl who grows up under the harsh regime of the Poole union workhouse and Phemie Maude, working as a ‘howdie wife’ or midwife in the tenements of Alloa in Scotland. Neither the rich or the poor are immune to ups and downs and difficulties in their lives.
The book gives an imaginative picture of life at the period, based on family history and incidents recorded in contemporary newspapers – a very interesting read. it is on sale in the Poole Museum shop.