In search of Mrs Craik

Letter from Jane Inman

Mrs Dinah Maria Craik was my Great Great Grandmother but until recently I knew very little about her. Almost the full extent of my knowledge was that she had penned John Halifax, Gentleman and has a memorial in Tewkesbury Abbey. Knowing my love of Cornwall and my connection with Mrs Craik, my daughter bought me a copy of An Unsentimental journey through Cornwall re-published by the Jamieson Library in 1988. Investigating the Library I stumbled across the collection of Mrs Craik’s works held there and determined to discover more.

In May we holidayed further west than usual and my family and I spent a very special afternoon, dipping into the remarkable collection secured by Melissa Hardie and the Hypatia Trust. We shared what we had learned about Mrs Craik’s extraordinary life, viewed the books, letters and articles and talked of ways to raise the profile of her much over-looked work.

Dinah Maria Mulock, otherwise known as Mrs Craik, best known as author of John Halifax, Gentleman (1856) also published a fascinating, no nonsense travelogue called An Unsentimental Journey Through Cornwall in 1884. This book was reprinted by the Hypatia Trust as it deserves to be better known. Her mid-19th century insights as a traveller in Cornwall is full of gritty observation and intelligent wit.