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The Tale of Victorian Romance

Published: 10/04/2021 By Allan Fuller

Putney resident publishes book based on great-grandparents’ letters

Long-time Putney resident, Hugh Thompson, has just published a book, "When Nelly met Arthur, A Victorian Romance, 1885”.

It is based on the correspondence of his great grandparents, Nelly a governess and Arthur a music publishing executive, between meeting on Boxing Day 1884 and marrying the next September.

“It's a real eye opener on manners. They start off not using Christian names but pretty soon love is declared and it’s choosing the curtains. Arthur is a bit of a stickler and doesn’t like eating or even opening letters in the street. Nelly is a great worrier and an out and out romantic. How they approach their romance is a far cry from what modern lovers send each other. Absolutely delightful.

“Not least because there existed a treasure trove of family pictures and because they went onto found the international music publishing business Bosworth &Co which was only sold in 1990, one hundred years after it was founded. I got some contemporary newspapers and it was all put together brilliantly by down the road Putney Design.”

The book came about when early last year Hugh’s wife Vivien decided on a clear out and one last look into an old box uncovered 41 priceless letters. The book brings the story up to date which involves one great uncle getting an OBE and be awarded the Military Cross in WW1, a great aunt working as a nurse and marrying an eminent Canadian plastic surgeon and Hugh’s grandmother an renowned cellist meeting her Indian Army husband.

Hugh adds, “Very much a story of a Victorian/Edwardian family made good. Although some of the marriages didn’t end too well, the family has prospered, my sister Barbara Thompson, the world famous saxophonist was helped early in her career by Bosworth and Co.”

The book is being privately published and copies can be obtained by emailing