The Wakefield grandchildren in 1804

In the year A Family Tour was published the Wakefield grand children were:

Catherine – 11 years

Edward Gibbon – 8 years

Daniel – 6 years

Arthur – 5 years

William Hayward – 3 years

John Howard – 2 years

Were the children of the fictional Middleton family based on the older Wakefield grandchildren that were in Priscilla’s care?

Published in: on December 29, 2009 at 11:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Tourists

The fictional Middleton family consists of:

Mrs Middleton – a widow lady

Arthur – 14 years

Edwin – 13 years

Catherine – 11 years

Louisa – 9 years

Mr Franklin – the boys’ tutor and a ‘particular friend’ of Mrs Middleton

The inclusion of Mr Franklin as a character is important in the story as it enables the boys and Mr Middleton to have side trips away from the female characters and write letters about their experiences.

Published in: on December 13, 2009 at 7:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mrs Middleton’s holiday

In the first sentence of A Family Tour the reader learns that Mrs Middleton is a widow, that she lives in the village of Richmond and is the mother of several children with the eldest being a girl called Catherine. The previous summer they had spent time in Brighton, for the sake of one of the children’s health, but Mrs Middleton was not in favour of a return there because watering-places ‘formed habits of idleness and trifling’.  Instead she proposes a tour of the British Empire advising the children to ‘imprint it on you memories, that we do not travel for the amusement of the moment, but for the sake of collecting useful knowledge’.

Published in: on December 13, 2009 at 2:32 am  Leave a Comment  

A Family Tour

In the preface to the book A Family Tour through the British Empire Priscilla writes ‘The favourable reception of the Juvenile Travellers has given encouragement to the present undertaking, with a design to convey a general idea to the minds of children, of the variety of surface, produce, manufactures, and principal places of the British Empire ; connected with its geography, and the addition of historical and biographical anecdotes ; a species of knowledge both useful and ornamental, but so diffused in numerous publications, that a sketch, having the air of a real tour, and containing the prominent features of the subject, was thought likely to prove a valuable addition to the juvenile library.’

Following is a link to an electronic copy of the 1816 edition from the New York Public Library of A Family Tour

Published in: on December 13, 2009 at 2:00 am  Leave a Comment  


Following the Harcourt family in Mental Improvement and the Seymour family in Juvenile Travellers Priscilla would introduce the Middleton family in her next book A Family Tour through the British Empire: Containing Some Account of its Natural and Artificial Curiosities, History and Antiquities; Interspersed with Biographical Anecdotes. Particularly Adapted to the Amusement and Instruction of Youth first published in 1804. Characters from the Middleton family would go on to feature in five of the travel books. Unlike the previous two families, whose inclusion remains fixed to that publication, the Middleton family take on a life of their own and as time passes between the books the circumstances of the family changes.

Published in: on December 6, 2009 at 9:56 pm  Leave a Comment