Oxted & District History Society - Talk
 Home - Talks - Outings - Links - Chairman’s Letter - Contact Newsletter
Oxted & District History Society

David Waller, author of ‘The Magnificent Mrs Tennant, gave an illustrated lecture to the Oxted & District History Society with the same title.  The book was written after the discovery of an archive of 500 letters in an attic in Chiddingfold.  Many of these were from 19th Century leading personalities.

Gertrude Tennant lived from 1819 until 1918 and enjoyed an extraordinarily interesting life.  Her grandfather and father were admirals and the family joined the English community in Paris in 1825.  From an early age, Gertrude attended balls at Louis Phillipe’s palace and at the British Embassy.  Although she had little schooling, she met leading figures in the Paris salons in the 1830s.  She met Gustave Flaubert in 1842 and they became close friends.

The family returned to England when Gertrude was in her mid-20s.  The family solicitor, Charles Tennant, was in his 50s but they fell in love and married.  Gertrude had 6 children, two of whom died.  In the 1860s they inherited the family fortune and moved from Russell Square to Richmond Terrace, off Whitehall.  After her husband’s death, Gertrude continued to entertain writers, artists and other leading personalities with her daughters, Dolly, who married the explorer, Stanley, and Evie, a photographer.  This continued into her old age.

At the next meeting of the Oxted & District History Society at 8 pm on Tuesday, 29 November, at the United Reformed Church, Bluehouse Lane, Judy Hill will give a lecture on ‘Life Below Stairs’.           

The Magnificent Mrs. Tennant a talk by David Waller.