Treasure 21: Maude Verney’s sketch of Pleasley

This treasure, from collection D6326, is to be found in a sketch book kept by Maude Verney around one hundred years ago.  It was chosen by Becky, one of the archivists.

Treasure 24 Maude Verney (a)

The artist was the wife of Frederick Verney (1846-1913), Member of Parliament for Buckingham.  The Verneys were benefactors of the area, and related to the family of Florence Nightingale. Becky says:

I chose this item because of the different perspective it gives to mining and collieries.  The typical mental image of mining is bleak and grey, but this image, drawn from real life, emphasises that the colliery could be beautiful in its surroundings.

3 thoughts on “Treasure 21: Maude Verney’s sketch of Pleasley

  1. Many thanks. This is the letter my grandmother (Lady Verney – Maude’s Australian daughter in law) wrote to the Parson at Claydon following Maude’s death. It might add to the knowledge you have of Maude.

    Botolph House, Botolph Claydon, Buckinghamshire 28th August 1937
    Dear Mr. Hazeldene (Nita writes to the Parson at Claydon)
    In case you may wish to say a few words about my wonderful little mother-in-law tomorrow, or to pay a tribute to her memory in the papers, I feel it may be of help to you to have the testimony of one who was privileged to know her for 28 years; in the days before her accident; and through some of the deepest tragedies of her life.
    Purity of mind, courage and service to others were the key notes of her character. When I first knew her she was no sweet and gentle saint accepting with humility the blows fate sent her, but a woman of strong personality, with active likes and dislikes impatient with vanities and foibles of the world, and often intolerant of people with opposite opinions. With talents almost amounting to genius waiting to be developed, she devoted her life to her husband’s interests. Unlike so many women of today, it was his career which came first, not hers.
    She left a luxurious home set amongst some of the loveliest scenery of north Wales to follow him into the slums of Middlesbrough, so infinitely worse 65 years ago than today. Here he worked as a curate, and here she developed the least spectacular of her many gifts, service to others. When Mr. Verney adopted law as a profession, she left the little Middlesbrough home she had grown to love so much, and became a barrister’s wife in London, coming into contact with some of the outstanding brains of the day.
    Her husband, next appointed Counsellor to the Siamese Legation, filled her house with young Siamese, all new to western contacts and ideas. The influence of one whom they all came to regard as their English mother was incalculable. Prince Charoon told me that the two finest influences in his life were the sermons of Bishop Weldon and the example of Mrs Verney. (Ed: see letters below)
    It was after her husband’s death that she came to live permanently in Botolph Claydon, exchanging the companionship and inspiring conversations with great personalities for the simpler minds but no less genuine friendships of her humbler Claydon neighbours. Here, until she had an accident 14 years ago, she expended her brilliant energies on service to others, and no one knows better than the older inhabitants of Claydon how she lived for them, and loved them. At last she had the time so long denied her to develop her multiplicity of gifts. Music, its composition, harmony and counterpoint, exquisite water colours, needlework, study of the Bible in 5 languages, filled such time as she could spare from her self-imposed duties in the parish.
    As, if the fates grudged one woman so many talents, a simple accident in her garden deprived her of her right arm; and after 3 operations which she bore unflinchingly she set to work at 76 to recreate her life, learning anew to write in longhand and shorthand, to play the piano, knit and embroider with her left hand. Her influence through gallant but laboriously written letters reached to the utmost parts of the earth. She accepted the losses of a precious sister, the only contemporary left of her early life, and a beloved daughter Gwendolen with the same Christian fortitude she had accepted so many trials. Yours sincerely, Janette Verney

  2. Maude Verney is my great grandmother and i wondered if i could use this picture for a book of family letters I am presently typing out.

    • Please do! I am glad to know that family members continue to be interested. The image has been out of copyright since 2007. We ordinarily ask people to make a more formal written request on a form, but there is no need in this case. Best wishes, Mark.

      (For anyone else reading this comment who may wish to use images from Derbyshire Record Office collections, please do get in touch, and also have a look at

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