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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 ACC/1385
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1885-1956
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.45 linear metres.
Name of creator(s): Turner | Cecil Scott | 1871-1956 | solicitor


Administrative/Biographical history:

In the mid-nineteenth century the Scott Turner family lived at The Lodge. Horn Lane, Acton. Henry Scott Turner Esquire is listed as a private resident in Kelly's Middlesex Directories of 1855 and 1867. Cecil Turner remembered the house where he lived as a small child. "Went to Acton... Walked round Horn Lane and saw the gardener at the gates so got him to take me all round the garden and over the house- my earliest home- all looking sweet and comparatively unchanged-the house quite empty and the rooms where we played as children silent and solitary" (ACC/1385/009, 1 March). The Lodge was demolished in the first decade of the twentieth century, but the family maintained its links with the district, as the graves in neighbouring Perivale churchyard bear witness.

Soon after the death of her husband in 1871, Mrs. Turner and her three sons went to live in Uxbridge. Looking back in 1943 Cecil remembered his sixth birthday at Uxbridge in 1876 (ACC 1385/050) and on 22 June 1901 he visited "Southfield-my old home" (ACC/1385/008). Kelly's Middlesex Directory for 1882 lists a Mrs. Turner at 41, St. Andrew's, Uxbridge. The family's movements can be traced through the diaries, the first four being written by M.F.Turner, Cecil's mother. The Turners left Uxbridge on 24 June 1886 and, for the next two years Mrs. Turner lodged at a variety of addresses in London and paid extended visits to friends and relatives in other parts of the country. From 23 May, 1888, she took up residence at the Elms, Ealing, but by 1898 she and Cecil had moved to 99 Elm Park gardens, Chelsea. In 1919, they were joined by Cecil's brother Alec who had spent over two years as a prisoner of war in Germany. After the death of their mother in October 1931 the two unmarried brothers moved into the Vanderbilt hotel, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, where Cecil lived alone after Alec's death in December 1938. Happily, he wrote in 1955, "after 22 years of hotel life I am living in my home 9 Alexander Square, S.W.3" (ACC 1385/062). It was here that he wrote the last entries in his diary as he prepared to enter hospital for an operation in April 1956.


Scope and content/abstract:

This collection consists of the diaries of two members of the Scott Turner family, the widow of Major Henry Scott Turner and her youngest son Cecil. Mrs. Turner's diaries cover the years 1885 to 1888 and record social engagements, domestic incidents and local events. Her daily routine is highlighted by visits, walks and outings to church, parties, and occasionally the theatre. She mentions friends and neighbours by name. The activities of her sons are prominent, but she appears to reserve her deepest affection for Cecil, her youngest. She rarely records her innermost feelings in the diaries, and allows her sons to write up entries. In the first diary she writes "End of 1885 which has had its troubles-tho' they may not be recorded here" (ACC/1385/001a). Events of national interest are only noted in passing, for example the Queen's jubilee celebrations in 1887 and the death of the German Emperor on 9 March 1888. The diaries provide a glimpse into the day to day existence, at times dull and humdrum, of a middle class woman of the late Victorian era.

After an education at Rugby and Oxford, Cecil Turner became a solicitor in London where his uncle Harcourt was a partner in the firm of M and H Turner, 22 Sackville Street, Piccadilly (ref. Law list, 1889). A letter dated 1911 found in one of the diaries is addressed to M C S Turner Esquire, 199, Piccadilly (ACC/1385/039, 31 December). For the most part Cecil only mentions his work briefly, with an occasional reference to a law suit or other business. His diaries are a record of his daily activities for 59 years, from the age of 27 to that of 85. They contain accounts of social engagements, particularly outings to the theatre and art galleries, visits to and from friends and relations, the state of the weather, his health, and domestic incidents. He made many visits, both at home and abroad, including voyages to South Africa where his soldier brother Henry was killed in 1899. He had many friends among the gentry and spent holidays shooting, walking and bicycling and attended country house parties. In his later years he became a convert to the Roman Catholic faith and his diaries reflect the great comfort he gained from this. As the years pass he is increasingly reminded of mortality and, with the death of his sister-in-law Dora in 1946, he is the last member of his immediate family left alive. Although the diaries comment on outside events, such as the progress of the two world wars, they are essentially the personal record of a professional gentleman, reflecting the minutiae of middle-class life in a rapidly changing world.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

ACC/1385-1-1: Diaries of M F Scott Turner (Mrs Henry Scott Turner);
ACC/1385-1-2: Diaries of Cecil Scott Turner.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Gifted to the Archive in June 1977.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Records prepared May to September 2011.

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