She’s A Lady

“Mrs Cridland I hope will be down here shortly so that I shall occasionally be fortunate enough to see a lady, otherwise I am afraid I shall lapse into inevitable barbarism. I am frittering away existence here, and have no better object of affection attached to me than a faithful dog…”

Charles O. Torlesse – 7th August 1849 – early Canterbury Surveyor.

One must admit, there is something very mysterious about the Victorian woman. Their lives were lived in such privacy and very much silently existed in a man’s world. And those clothes!!!!

There is a real innocence about them. ‘Charlotte Jane’ passenger, Edward Ward, writes in his journal how odd it was to witness the bonnets and parasols that were surrounding a bare-fisted fight on a street in Lyttelton. The tone of his observation suggested it was not a situation for well-bred ladies to be witnessing.

Speaking of the ‘Charlotte Jane’, it was frowned upon for women to be seen on the deck or poop after a certain time at night. A warning from the Captain was announced to put a end of this disturbing unladylike behaviour.

Mrs Cridland that Charles refers to, was the wife of John Henry Cridland – a fellow surveyor from The New Zealand Company.

Charles O. Torlesse did find love, marrying Alicia Townsend on the 27th December 1851. They were married in Lyttelton. The Townsend’s had arrived on the ‘Cressy’ so in fact, Alicia was wed a year to the day of her family’s arrival in Canterbury.

*image courtesy of The Alexander Turnbull Library*

Unidentified women, with bicycles in a garden, probably Christchurch district. Maclay, Adam Henry Pearson, 1873-1955 :Negatives. Ref: 1/1-023715-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

— in Christchurch.

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