Scope and Content

Nearly all the Lushington papers, portraits and other pictures eventually passed to Susan Lushington and were kept at Kingsley where she lived until her death. In 1942 Susan Lushington wrote to her cousin Frank Norris 'We have all been told to empty our drawers of old letters for the Government Salvage, but I find it very difficult to give up delicious letters of the past which I have always kept in reserve for my old age! There are all Grand papa's old road maps & note books & little old things kept by Aunt Fanny & all our children [sic] letters to father from Pyports & my letters to him from India etc. Must they all go & make lining for shells? It's a grim thought that no one after me would want them.'

Fortunately Susan did not follow Government advice and most of the archive was retained. From time to time she made items available to authors and others researching the period and people they covered. One author in particular was William Gaunt who stayed with Susan when researching his pioneering work 'The Pre-Raphaelite Tragedy' in 1942. Following Susan's death in 1953 the archive passed to her nephew and executor Mr Norris. Very little was done with the archive although some paintings appear to have been sold or given to galleries. When Mr Norris died the collection passed to his widow who kept most of it at her home in Richmond. In November 2005 the archive was given by Richard Norris to David Taylor who, in turn, presented it to the Surrey History Centre.

The archive consists mainly of thousands of letters between the various family members including Stephen, Vernon and his three daughters. There is also a large collection of Susan Lushington's correspondence, diaries and other material relating to her life and musical interests at Kingsley.

Although a few autographed letters from well-known literary and artistic people which once in the archive appear to have been given away or sold including letters to and from various members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, what remains forms an extremely important archive in its own right and will be of interest to historians interested in 19th century art, music, politics and social life.

There are over one thousand letters between Vernon and Jane Lushington. When Vernon travelled the circuit as a County Court Judge he wrote to his wife frequently often describing the town and villages in Surrey and Hampshire in which he was staying or through which he had passed. The letters to and from all members of the family contain a great deal of information about life at Pyports and in the village of Cobham. Susan's diaries from the 1890s contain an enormous amount of detailed information and colourful accounts of her activities and visitors both to Pyports and their London home. These included Thomas Hardy who in his own journal wrote of how he had dined with the Lushingtons and had seen the portrait of Stephen Lushington 'the man who had known the Byron secret.' The later correspondence of Susan Lushington is also of great interest for its musical connections as well as correspondence from members of the armed forces in the Boer War and World War I and II. The World War I correspondence contains graphic accounts of life in the trenches as well as material relating to the transport of horses to the front.

Significant items within the archive include letters from Sir Hubert Parry, composer; letters from George Howard, 9th Earl of Carlisle, artist; letter from Thomas Hardy, writer; letters from Ralph Vaughan Williams, composer; letters from William Robinson, pioneer gardener; letters from Arthur Hughes, Pre-Raphaelite artist, and members of his family, and a letter from William Holman Hunt, Pre-Raphaelite artist, and letters from members of his family.

For more details of the individual series comprising the archive, see below.

Administrative / Biographical History

In his life of Sir Leslie Stephen, Noel Annan has written of the emergence in Victorian Society of an intellectual aristocracy which has profoundly influenced English politics, education and literature during the 19th century. The Lushington family were at the heart of that group. A glance at the index of the biographies of many of the great names of the nineteenth century will usually reveal at least one or two references to members of the Lushington family. The Lushington family archive covers three generations of the family.

Dr Stephen Lushington (1782-1873)
Stephen Lushington was an eminent lawyer who made his reputation as counsel to Queen Caroline, wife of George IV, in the matter of her divorce, and to Lady Byron in her divorce. Throughout his life, Stephen was an ardent reformer and staunch churchman, campaigning for the abolition of capital punishment and supporting his friend William Wilberforce by speaking in favour of the Slave Trade Abolition Bill. He was also involved with members of the Clapham Sect. Stephen Lushington spent the last years of his life at Ockham Park, Surrey which belonged to the Byron's daughter, Ada Lovelace. A neighbour wrote 'At Ockham Park the famous Dr Lushington collected around him the cleverest folk of the day' and visitors at Ockham included John Ruskin, William Holman Hunt, William Michael Rossetti, Thomas Woolner, Elizabeth Gaskell, Edward Lear, Benjamin Jowett and the Christian Socialist F D Maurice.

At Ockham Lushington's daughters took over the running of the Ockham Industrial Schools which had been created under Lady Byron's influence. It was there that the two celebrated former slaves William and Ellen Craft were both educated and employed after their escape from the USA.

In 1821 Stephen Lushington married Sarah Grace Carr (died 1837) whose father Thomas Carr, a Scottish lawyer, had known Sir Walter Scott and Robert Southey and whose circle of friends included the writers Joanna Baillie, Maria Edgeworth, and Anna Letitia Barbauld together with Harriet Martineau, Henry Crabb Robinson, Sir Humphrey Davy, Lady Byron and William Wordsworth. Sarah Carr's sisters were Laura, Lady Cranworth whose husband, a Whig politician was twice Lord Chancellor and a neighbour a friend of Charles Darwin; and Isabella, Lady Eardley whose husband was Sir Culing Eardley a religious campaigner and a prime mover in the founding of the Evangelical Alliance.

Stephen Lushington was a judge of the High Court of Admiralty from 1838 and Dean of Arches from 1858 to 1867. He died at Ockham Park in 1873.

Vernon Lushington (1832-1912)
Vernon Lushington was the fourth of Stephen's sons. He was a twin and his brother Godfrey achieved a distinguished career in the Civil Service as Permanent Under-Secretary at the Home Office. Vernon was a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge where he became a member of the Cambridge Apostles; his contemporaries included F D Maurice, John Sterling, Arthur Hallam and Alfred Tennyson. Through the society he was introduced to John Stuart Mill and Thomas Carlyle for whom he worked for a period as an unpaid secretary, receiving Carlyle's unstinted praise. At Cambridge Vernon came under the influence of Auguste Comte and Positivism. Through Positivism Vernon met Frederic Harrison who introduced him into a new circle of friends which included George Eliot, Herbert Spencer, Anthony Trollope, Longfellow and Wagner. Another close friend was Richard Monkton Milnes at whose parties in London Vernon met Palmerston, Dickens, Browning and Landseer. Vernon's twin brother Godfrey introduced him to William Morris who persuaded him to contribute an article on Carlyle in the first issue of 'The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine'. Morris later became a life-long friend of Lushington's. Through the Cambridge booksellers, Daniel and Alexander Macmillan, Vernon was drawn into Christian Socialism and went on to serve on the Council of the Working Men's College alongside Lowes Dickinson, John Ruskin, D G Rossetti and the sculptor Alexander Munro. It was also through the Working Men's' College that Vernon Lushington met Arthur J. Munby, the extraordinary barrister cum poet who had a questionable obsession with working class women. It was through the Working Men's College that Lushington came to introduce Edward Burne-Jones to Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Burne-Jones later wrote to Lushington, 'My first introduction to Gabriel was your doing - and big results it brought into my life'. With his friend, the sculptor, Thomas Woolner, Vernon Lushington visited Alfred, Lord Tennyson on the Isle of Wight and became a close friend of the family.

From the late 1850s Vernon and his brother Godfrey became increasingly involved with Beesly, Harrison, Crompton, J N Bridges and Congreve in helping the Labour Movement. Sidney and Beatrice Webb wrote of 'the talented young barristers and literary men, who, from this time forward became the trusted legal experts and political advisors of the leaders of the Trade Union Movement'. Vernon and Godfrey took up the cause of Lancashire Cotton Operatives who were starving as a result of the sudden stoppage of American cotton during the Civil War. Vernon corresponded about this cause with the novelist Elizabeth Gaskell to whom he was known as 'Cousin V'.
Vernon Lushington was also a close friend of the social reformer Charles Booth and their two families were often together.

Vernon became a distinguished lawyer, a QC from 1868, Deputy Judge Advocate General, 1860-1869, Secretary to the Admiralty, 1869-1877, and a County Court judge in Surrey from 1877. Vernon married Jane Mowatt, daughter of Francis Mowatt, who was Liberal MP for Penryn and afterwards for Cambridge (and a friend of Richard Cobden and John Bright), on 20 February 1865 at Holy Trinity, Brompton. Jane was born on 24 September 1834 in Australia, died in London on 23 January 1884 and was buried in Pyrford churchyard on 26 January 1884. Vernon died on 24 January 1912. Vernon Lushington's twin brother Godfrey and his sister Alice also feature in the archive.

Sir Godfrey Lushington, GCMG, KCB (1832-1907)
He was a civil servant and promoter of prison reform. He was Permanent Under-Secretary of State of the Home Office of the United Kingdom from 1886 to 1895. During his Home Office tenure the Whitechapel Murders gripped the public attention and imagination. He also took an active interest in the Dreyfus Affair and wrote one of the longest letters ever published by 'The Times' on the matter. Godfrey Lushington's wife Beatrice, whom he married in 1865, was daughter of Samuel Smith of Combe Hurst, Surrey, and granddaughter of William Smith MP and a cousin of Florence Nightingale and Barbara Bodichon.

Alice Lushington (1829-1903)
She was a pioneer educationalist. She became Lady Principal of the First College for Training Women Teachers for High Education opened in 1878, now called the Maria Grey Training College. She was also Lady Principal of the College for Female Pupil Teachers of the Voluntary School in Liverpool which were opened in 1881. Together with her sister Frances (b. 1827), she later opened the Ockham Schools in Kingsley, Hampshire.

Vernon and Jane Lushington lived for a while at Wheelers Farm, Pyrford, before moving to Pyports, Cobham, whilst maintaining 36 Kensington Square as their London residence. Families with close links to Vernon and Jane Lushington include Montgomery of Blessingbourne, Ireland; Massingberds of Gunby Hall, Lincolnshire; Bell of Rounton Grange and Mount Grace Priory; Howard of Naworth; Stanley of Alderley; Rathbone of Liverpool; Farrer of Abinger; Buxton of Surrey; Vaughan Williams of Leith Hill Place and High Ashes, Surrey; Darwin of Down House and Cambridge; and Litchfield.

Vernon and Jane Lushington had three daughters who together represent the third generation in the archive.

Katherine 'Kitty' Lushington (1867-1922)
In 1890 Kitty Lushington married Leopold Maxse the journalist and political writer whose family then lived at Dunley Hill near Effingham, Surrey. She became a well-known London hostess. The Maxse family were friends of George Meredith who lived nearby at Box Hill. Kitty's friendship with Virginia Woolf resulted in her being used as the model for 'Mrs Dalloway'. Kitty and Leo were engaged at Talland House in Cornwall which was the summer residence of the Stephen family. Woolf later used events at the summer house parties at Talland as the basis of her novel 'To The Lighthouse'. In 1900 Kitty corresponded with Christabel Pankhurst on the matter of women's suffrage which she and Leo supported.

Margaret Lushington (1869-1906)
Margaret married Stephen Massingberd of Gunby Hall, Lincolnshire. At their marriage in Cobham in 1895 Stephen's cousin the young Ralph Vaughan Williams played the organ. The Massingberds were related to the Wedgwoods and the Darwins and Stephen's mother Emily Caroline Massingberd was a well-known campaigner for women's rights. Margaret and Stephen organised music festivals in Lincolnshire and it was probably during one of his visits to Gunby that Ralph Vaughan Williams conceived the ideas for his composition 'In the Fen Country'.

Susan Lushington (1870-1953)
Susan, the youngest daughter, never married. After her father's death she moved to Kingsley just over the Surrey border in Hampshire. There she established herself as a rather eccentric, somewhat formidable, but much loved personality. She lived an extremely active and varied life, taking part in musical pursuits of all types and was awarded the MBE in 1943. Among her circle of friends in her early years was the explorer and diplomat Gertrude Bell. Many of her musical friends including Ralph Vaughan Williams participated in these musical events. The archive contains letters from many people involved in the development and performance of music in the early 20th century. During the World War I and World War II Susan Lushington corresponded with a large number of servicemen who were based at the army camp at Bordon near her Kingsley home. They were invited into her home to share her musical interests, and later wrote back to her from the front line.

All three daughters were talented musicians and were tutored in their musical studies by Sir Hubert Parry, a family friend. Hubert called Kitty 'my darling Kittiwake'. The artist Arthur Hughes, another family friend, painted a portrait of Jane Lushington and the three girls at their Cobham home, entitled 'The Home Quartet'. For their more formal educational studies the girls were tutored for a while by the novelist George Gissing. After their mother's early death, the three girls were taken under the wing of Mrs Julia Stephen, wife of Sir Leslie and she became a second mother. The Stephen and Lushington families had been close neighbours at Kensington Square in London.

Access Information

There are no access restrictions.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by Mr R Norris of London through Dr David Taylor of Cobham in October 2005 and January 2014. The majority of Vernon Lushington's Positivist papers were presented by Professor Martha S Vogeler, Emeritus Professor of English, California State University, Fullerton, in March 2011.

Other Finding Aids

An item level description of the archive is available on the Surrey History Centre online catalogue

Related Material

Two collections of nineteenth century photographs of members of the Lushington family and Ockham Park (SHC ref. 8865)
Poem by Stephen Lushington, (SHC ref. 9378)
Watercolour views of Ockham Park and vicinity (SHC ref. 7021)

Dr Stephen Lushington married Sarah Grace Carr and The Yale Center for British Art holds a collection of travel sketches, scrapbooks and genealogical material relating to the Carr family. (Carr family collection of travel sketches, scrapbooks, and genealogical material, 1699-1981. MSS 8).

Arthur Hughes
A large collection of letters from the Pre-Raphaelite painter Arthur Hughes to Susan Lushington was acquired by Leonard Hughes of Vancouver. These are now held by the Library of the University of British Columbia (RBSC-ARC-1709).

Vernon Lushington
Letters from Vernon Lushington can be found in the following archives:
Scottish National Library. MS.3990. Letters to Helen and Joanna Richardson.
Royal Horticultural Society, Lindley Libraries. GB 903 WRO/18/191-198. Letters to William Robinson.
John Rylands Library. GB 133 English MS 1210-1216. Letters to William Holman Hunt.
American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia. Vernon Lushington Papers (BL97). Letters to Harry Govier Seeley.
Castle Howard Archives. Reference J23/67. Letters to George and Rosalind Howard relating to the engagement of Kitty Lushington to Charles Howard (1887).
Musée Auguste Comte, Paris. Various letters to the French Positivist Group from Vernon, Godfrey and Beatrice Lushington.
London School of Economics Library. Papers of Frederic Harrison and other material relating to the London Positivist Committee.

Letters to Vernon Lushington can be found in the following archives:
From Thomas Carlyle can be viewed in The Carlyle Letters Online [CLO].
From Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, G.F. Watts and Edward Burne Jones are in the Princeton University Library, USA.

Vernon Lushington married Jane Mowatt and the East Sussex Record Office holds a large collection of Mowatt family papers covering the period 1762-2001.

Kitty Lushington married Leopold Maxse and the West Sussex Record Office holds the Maxse family archive which contains a large number of letters to Kitty from other family members.


Selective bibliography:

Banks, Joanne Trutmann (ed), Virginia Woolf. Selected Letters.
Bell, Quentin, Virginia Woolf. A Biography. The Hogarth Press, 1972.
Berra, T M, Darwin & His Children. His Other Legacy. OUP, 2013.
Curtis, Anthony, Margaret Lushington and the Stephens. The Charleston Magazine, no 17, Spring/Summer 1998.
Curtis, Anthony (ed.) Before Bloomsbury. The 1890s Diaries of Three Kensington Ladies. Margaret Lushington, Stella Duckworth and Mildred Massingberd. The Eighteen Nineties Society, 2002.
Dakers, Caroline, A Genius For Money. Business, Art and The Morrisons. Yale University Press, 2011.
De Val, Dorothy, In Search of Song: The Life and Times of Lucy Broadwood. Ashgate, 2011.
Lushington, Sir John, From Gavelkinders to Gentlemen, A History of the Lushington Family in East Kent from 1200-1700. Private, 2011.
Mirwald, Helen Penn and Vogeler, Martha S., A Life Devoted to Music: Susan Lushington in Kingsley. Hampshire Studies 1999, Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society, vol 54, pp 232-242.
Moore, Charlotte, Hancox. A House and a Family. Viking, 2010.
Newall, Christopher, Pre-Raphaelites. Beauty and Rebellion, Liverpool University Press and National Museums Liverpool, 2016
Salmon, Nicholas and Baker, Derek, The William Morris Chronology. Thoemmes Press, 1966.
Spalding, Frances, Vanessa Bell. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1983.
Surtees, Virginia, The Artist and The Autocrat. George and Rosalind Howard. Earl and Countess of Carlisle. Michael Russell, 1988.
Taylor, David C, Vernon Lushington: Practising Positivism. PhD thesis. Roehampton University, 2010.
Taylor, David C, The People of Cobham, The Pyports Connection. Barracuda Books, 1985.
Taylor, David C, The Remarkable Lushington Family: Reformers, Pre-Raphaelites, Positivists, and the Bloomsbury Group. Rowman and Littlefield, 2020
Taylor, David C, 'Under The Cedar' The Lushingtons of Pyports: A Victorian Family in Cobham - and elsewhere in Surrey. Grosvenor House Publishing, 2015
Waddams, S M, Law, Politics and the Church of England. The Career of Stephen Lushington 1782-1873. Cambridge University Press, 1992.