Jessica starts her diary...
"Today is October 20th in the year of our lord 1925. In three weeks I will be seventeen which is frightfully old, - seventeen seems infinitely older than sixteen, but still I don't think I have felt any different while I have been sixteen than when I was fifteen. This morning I fainted for the first time in my life and I have never felt so silly before"
This was the first entry in a diary kept by Jessica Lofthouse. At the time she was living at 126 Montague St in Blackburn with her parents and stepsister Annie. She was a prefect in the sixth form at Blakey Moor Central School. Her career as a writer had already begun. At the age of eleven her stories had appeared in the children's column of the Blackburn Times. When she was thirteen her historical story of the rebellion of Wat Tyler ran in the Liverpool Weekly Post for several months and she received her first payment.
She describes herself in her diary:
"I am nearly 5ft 4 inches from the ground and weigh 7 stones 10lbs. My hair, my only beauty is a gold - red - brown, sometimes one and sometimes all at once - otherwise copper or auburn, my eyes are dark brown and far apart (memory), my forehead is broad (brains), my nose is straight (like daddy's), my mouth is large, top lip short and curved, chin sensitive etc etc"
Her birth certificate records that Jessica was born on the 8th of November 1906 at 12 Wilson St, Clitheroe. Jessica notes in her diary however that there is some uncertainty as to the date: she was born so close to midnight on the 8th that the real date might be the 9th. This is something she refers to more than once in diary entries on her birthday.
Her father John was a grocer. He had been born in Appletreewick in Yorkshire in 1868. His own father, also John had been born in Bolton-By-Bowland, where he had been the village policeman. Jessica's mother had been born Jemima Read in Clitheroe in 1869. Her father Richard had also been born in Clitheroe where he was a farrier John had previously been married to Jemima's sister Isabella who died in 1902. He had a daughter Annie by that marriage, Jessica's stepsister.
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