The Golden Chersonese and the Way Thither

By Isabella L. Bird
(John Beaufoy Publishing, Paperback, 9781906780388, 294pp.)

Publication Date: December 2011

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The Golden Chersonese is an evocative account, first published in 1883, of the author's final visit to the East. The book is a collection of 23 letters, written to her sister Henny in Scotland, in which she gives detailed descriptions of her travels and adventures in Malaya, Singapore, Indo-China and Hong Kong. The book includes fascinating accounts of many aspects of the region, including the people, culture, landscapes, and wildlif.

About the Author
Isabella Lucy Bird married name Bishop (1831 - 1904) was a nineteenth-century English explorer, writer, photographer and naturalist. She was the first woman to be elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Bird was born on 15 October 1831 at Boroughbridge Hall, Yorkshire, the home of her maternal grandmother. Her parents were the Reverend Edward Bird and his second wife Dora Lawson. Isabella moved several times during her childhood. Boroughbridge was her father's first curacy after taking orders in 1830, and it was here he met Dora. In 1832, Reverend Bird was appointed curate in Maidenhead where Isabella's brother, Edward was born and died in his first year. As a result of her father's ill health the family moved again in 1834 to Tattenhall in Cheshire, - a living presented to him by his cousin Dr John Bird Sumner, Bishop of Chester where in the same year Isabella's sister, Henrietta, was born. Isabella was outspoken from an early age. When six years old, she asked the local MP for South Cheshire: " Sir Malpas de Grey Tatton Egerton, did you tell my father my sister was so pretty because you wanted his vote ? " Edward Bird's controversial views against Sunday labour caused his congregation to dwindle and in 1842 he requested a transfer to St Thomas's in Birmingham. Here again objections were raised which culminated in the minister being pelted "with stones, mud, and insults." In 1848, the family moved again and after spending some time in Eastbourne took up residence in Wyton in Huntingdonshire (now Cambridgeshire.)
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