Edith Lorrimer, who lives in Stoneleigh, Kent, begins her diary in January 1871, a month before her sixteenth birthday. Unlike many other people in England, Edith is lucky. Even though her father died when she was a young child, Edith and her mother still live a comfortable life. They have a good home, and are able to afford to have two servants. Edith's mother is on the Board of Guardians at Stoneleigh's workhouse, and because she hopes Edith will someday take her place, she begins bringing Edith with her to the workhouse to learn how it is run. What Edith discovers horrifies her. She never knew how bad conditions are at the workhouse, and how terrible life is for the people there. She begins to take a special interest in Rosie, an orphan girl her own age who has lived in the workhouse since she was a very young child, and decides to try and educate her so that she can someday leave and find employment.
This report prepared by Rebecca Herman