Tale of seafaring Valentines Mansion owner told in new book
- Credit: Archant
A historian and lecturer has sailed the seas of history in her new book, to unveil the truth about a captain who bought Valentines Mansion in 1754.
Georgina Green, of Hainault, has written a detailed biopic charting Sir Charles Raymond’s life both at sea and on land in Ilford.
While researching the book, called Sir Charles Raymond of Valentines and the East India Company, the author unearthed previously unseen evidence that challenges a misconception about Ilford’s residents.
Georgia said: “It was thought that Ilford was of little consequence and all the people of note lived in Woodford and Wanstead.
“Actually, very wealthy and very influential people lived in Ilford during that time.
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“Sir Charles formed a bank which later merged with others to be known today as the Royal Bank of Scotland.
“This research has shed a new light on the Georgian period.”
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Georgina got on the “local history train” to research her book and accessed information in the Essex record office and local archives.
Her quest soon took her forward to the British Library and she spent 12 years investigating its records – there is a whole wall dedicated to the East India Company alone.
Georgina said: “It’s fascinating that I can read journals written in a sea cabin that are nearly 300 years old – some even had splash stains on them, so they had clearly got wet.
“The collection is so vast and complex that there is a saying that you have to step over the skeletons of past researchers to access the journals in the archives.
“You could study there all your life and still not understand it all.”
This is the seventh historical book she has been involved with and she cites her first jobs at a library and at Cambridge University Press for putting her in good stead now.
Not only did they give her an education in researching, but they enabled her to design the whole layout for her book.
Georgina said: “The more research you do the easier it is to write.
“Although all my books have been written on different topics, I know what paths to follow and where to go for different bits of information – I actually have a book in the pipeline about methods of research.”
Georgina, who has lived in Hainault for the past 20 years, grew up in Chingford and attended Woodford County High School For Girls.
Her love of history was piqued by learning in such a historical building and grounds.
Georgina said: “The Woodford County High school is based in a Georgian house.
“I found it inspiring to be educated there and I was very aware of the upstairs and downstairs layout of the building.”
Although she was fascinated by history, especially in relation to people, Georgina didn’t write her first book until she became secretary at the Friends of Epping Forest in 1982.
It was the centenary of when Queen Victoria came to visit the area and Georgina got permission from Buckingham Palace to include the monarch’s own account of her visit.
Epping Forest Through the Ages sold more than 6,500 copies.
The author admits her latest book may more specialised than the others, but reveals that Sir Charles is a very interesting man: “He came from humble beginnings, risked his life and managed to survive and make money.
“With astute business sense and a bit of luck he invested his money in the local area and went into the ship trade.
“Many people from the time speak of him with great affection and he was respected in London as a genial father figure.”