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Prize Book - The Lady of Provence

The Lady of Provence

  • Object:

    Prize Book

  • Place of origin:

    London (published)

  • Date:

    1896 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    T. Nelson and Sons (publishers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Paper and card, printed and cloth-bound

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Maureen Thomas

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This book was presented as a prize to May Emily Chandler at Christmas 1898. May lived in Southall, on the western fringes of London, and attended the local Board School. She later went into service in the city, working as a maid at Paddington Hospital.

Books were awarded, along with medals and certificates, to students who achieved 100 per cent attendance over the school year. This was a popular motivational tool in the first decades after 1871, when school was first made compulsory. This book was written by Charlotte Maria Tucker, the author of several strongly moral tales for young women, under the nom de plume of A.L.O.E., or A Lady of England.

This prize was valued highly enough to stay in the Chandler family for over a century. After May's death it passed to her eldest brother Henry, then to his daughter Joyce, who also inscribed her name in the front pages. It then passed to the donor, who was May's great niece.

Physical description

Blue cloth-bound book. The cover is decorated with a black floral outline pattern, with gold highlights in the border and on title and author name. The spine is faded, and features the same floral pattern. The edges of the pages are gilded. There are two black and white illustrations on the first pages, and four hundred pages of text. A printed bookplate from Norwood School Board pasted in the front cover is completed in handwritten ink.

Place of Origin

London (published)


1896 (published)


T. Nelson and Sons (publishers)

Materials and Techniques

Paper and card, printed and cloth-bound

Marks and inscriptions

The Lady of Provence


Height: 18.6 cm, Width: 14 cm, Depth: 2.8 cm

Object history note

May Emily Chandler was born in May 1887, the daughter of William and Jemima Chandler. Census returns list William as a carter, which would have involved transporting agricultural goods in a horse-drawn wagon. The couple had a total of eight children, five of whom lived to adulthood. The family lived in Southall, on the western outskirts of London, and May and her siblings attended the local elementary school. She was 11 when she received this prize book, and the family were living in Hamilton Road, Southall.

The Southall Board School was established in 1878, in two buildings previously occupied by the Church of England (National School). By 1897 it had an average attendance of 217 children.

As an adult, May moved to central London and worked as a domestic maid at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington. Within the family, it was believed she married a member of the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force during the First World War, but no evidence has been found. On 23rd October 1915, May was knocked down by a motor car in Folkestone, Kent. She was transferred to the National Hospital, Queen's Square, London where she remained until her death in June 1916.

After May's death, her book was kept by her brother Henry, alongside his own (see B...), and after his death it passed to his daughter, Joyce. After Joyce it passed to the donor, who was her cousin's daugher, as she was known to have an interest in family history.

A.L.O.E. stands for A Lady of England, and was the pseudonym of Charlotte Maria Tucker, a writer of moral tales for young women.

Descriptive line

Blue hardbacked book, The Lady of Provence, with prize plate on flyleaf, A.L.O.E., 1898


Cloth; Paper


Printing; Binding


Children & Childhood; Education & Learning; Books

Production Type

Limited edition


Museum of Childhood

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