2009 News



December 2009
  • Apologies to all visitors - your webmaster was unexpectedly admitted to hospital on the 30th November and has only just returned home in time for Christmas! He will catch up with mail and messages as soon as possible. A Happy Christmas and prosperous New Year to everyone - Peter, Webmaster.

November 2009
  • New larger photo's of Winifred & John's home at Admiral's House, Hampstead have been added together with some photo's of the surrounding area.

  • A theatre programme from the first night of a 1908 play called  'Pinkie and the Fairies' in which Winifred Fortescue acted at His Majesty's Theatre, London has been added to the site in pdf format. Visit the pages about her acting career to view.

  • 'Escape to Provence', continues to receive good reviews. A link to the latest, from The Riviera Woman, can be found by clicking here.

  • Futher information about Elisabeth Starr together with the tribute, 'Envoi', written by Winifred after her death.

  • Maureen Emerson, author of 'Escape to Provence', is now a member of The Society of Authors. Membership of the society firmly establishes her credibility as an author. Congratulations to Maureen.  'Escape to Provence', now in the second edition, is an absolute must for anyone interested in Lady Fortescue, Elisabeth Starr and France in general between the wars. Visit Maureen's page for full details and to order a copy.

Maureen Emerson - author of 'Escape to Provence'

Maureen Emerson

The France Show 2010
Earls Court, London
Maureen will be on the France Bookshop stand with her book!
1pm to 5pm on the 8th, 9th and 10th January 2010.

October 2009

  • Larger pictures of Ramatuelle coastguard/douanes station near St. Tropez have been added together with two new images, one believed to show Elisabeth Starr when the cottages were intact around 1934. Larger pictures of Elisabeth have also been added to the site.

  • A new page added with information about Winifred's connection with Spilsill Court in Kent. It includes possibly the last picture of Sir John Fortescue before his death in 1933. Click here.

  • A recent October trip to Suffolk provided an opportunity to re-visit Winifred's home village of Great Bealings. As a result the page about the village and her father's church has now been updated. There are a number of new photo's, including one of the memorial to Mervyn, one of Winifred's brothers, and many of the originals have been replaced with better versions. Click here to have look.

  • The News & Magazine articles page has had some attention. There are 9 articles written by Winifred in the 1920's on a range of subjects mainly under the heading 'Modes and Manners'. They provide a wonderful snapshot of life in that period. The actual articles have been re-scanned using Optical Character Recognition, (OCR). The good news is they are very clear and easy to read now, the file sizes are also much smaller so they open quickly. The down side is OCR sometimes makes mistakes! The glaring ones have been removed but please excuse any odd words or punctuation - you will be able to work out what it means!

  • Chailey Heritage School, Sussex had a strong link with Winifred Fortescue who was a great friend of its founder. The school caters for children with physical disabilities. A new page has been added with some information which also contains a link to a pamphlet that Winifred wrote about a moving visit to the school on Palm Sunday 1944. Fortunately a copy survived and is well worth reading. Click here to visit.

September 2009
  • Maureen Emerson's 'Escape to Provence', now in its second printing, continues to receive good reviews. Read the latest from Destination France - Autumn 2009 edition. There is a link on the 'Escape' page. Maureen is speaking this weekend, (26th September), in French, at the Salle  Roumanille, Cabris Mairie in the Alpes Maritime.

  • Visitors will recall that Winifred Fortescue's original book, Perfume from Provence, was re-published by Summersdale in May this year, nearly 75 years after it first appeared. That achievement gives an idea of how popular she was and still is! Shortly after the new edition was released a review by Val Hennessey appeared in the national press, (the Daily Mail actually), which was somewhat scathing in its content. Maureen Emerson, author of 'Escape to Provence', wrote a particularly good response which can be viewed in the Visitor's Book.

Mathew Kneale, Whtibread prize winning author, paints a much more accurate picture of Winifred Fortescue in his article in the Financial Times of Saturday 29th August 2009 entitled The idyll memoir. Click here to read the article.

  • A letter written to a national newspaper in 1951 after Winifred Fortescue had died has recently come to light. It is unsigned but it speaks for itself and reflects the way many people viewed and still do view Winifred Fortescue. It provides the perfect foil to the review. It is reproduced for you to read below.


A correspondent writes:

To her host of admirers both in this country and in France, Lady Fortescue's death will have come as a personal loss and not least to those about whom she wrote, for all found in her a warm heart and generous mind. This charming writer's books are well known, but possibly Perfume from Provence takes pride of place with many thousands of Lady Fortescue's readers.

Beauty for Ashes perhaps reveals best her gay and gallant spirit, accompanied always by a vivid imagination which transcended everything which came her way. However simple the narrative it reflects the writer in a marked degree by its spontaneity, enthusiasm, gaiety, and sympathy.

An acute awareness of the needs of others, especially those of her beloved Provence, invariably followed up by constructive action, characterized Lady Fortescue's whole life and we can but echo her halting, though heartfelt, expression of gratitude to Margharita for loving service, "Comment vous remercier ? "


August 2009

  • A quiet month when we should all have been enjoying a lot of sunshine. Not so much in the U.K. but in the south of France the temperatures have been up in the high 30's most days with lots of humidity. A couple of new pictures of the little bar in Opio have been added to the Opio page. More photo's of locations not featured before will be appearing before too long.

July 2009
  • Maureen Emerson, the author of 'Escape to Provence', attracted the maximum permitted audience of 60 people to her illustrated talk at Haywards Heath Library in Sussex on Friday July 17th, a particularly stormy night. A photo of the evening appears on the 'Escape to Provence' page. The book is now available direct from Amazon U.K.

June 2009



Maureen Emerson, the author of 'Escape to Provence',  is giving an illustrated talk at Haywards Heath Library in Sussex on July 17th. If you are in the south of England this is a great opportunity to hear Maureen in person. Full details on the 'Escape to Provence' page.

Escape to Provence by Maureen Emerson, published July 2008
  • Another early aerial photo of Opio Village has been obtained and added to the site. This one is in colour! It shows the olive mill, Elisabeth Starr's home, the Castello, and a tiny corner of Sunset House  Click here.

  • Maureen Emerson, the author of 'Escape to Provence', has written a fascinating detailed history of the Sunny Bank Anglo American Hospital, (now demolished), at Cannes. To read the article visit the Cannes page.

May 2009

  • Perfume from Provence - as promised, brand new, just published copies are now available in bookshops, Amazon. If you do not have a copy or just want a brand new shiny one to keep why not treat yourself now! The website has been given a quote on the back cover notes! Thank you very much to Summersdale for the publicity. Remember that Sunset House follows in Spring 2010.

  • Apologies if you have had trouble viewing the site recently. The hosting company has been migrating it to their new hosting platform and it has not gone very smoothly! Bits were missing for a few days and it was impossible to update for nearly a week.

  • Pictures of the full cover of the new 2009 Perfume from Provence edition added along with new pictures of Sunset House and Trampled Lilies Talking Book tape versions.

  • Maureen Emerson, author of 'Escape to Provence',  is giving a talk at Haywards Heath in Sussex on July 17th. If you are in the south of England this is an opportunity to hear Maureen in person. Full details on the 'Escape to Provence' page.

  • Larger better quality PDF versions of John & Winifred's birth, marriage and death certificates added.

April 2009

  • The Chemin de Fer Provence will once again be operating the steam hauled service on Sundays between May 17th and October 11th 2009. Full details and link to timetable on CDFP page.

  • An interesting 1941 USA magazine entitled, The Saturday Review of Literature, has recently been secured. It contains a review of There's Rosemary There's Rue shortly after it was published in the USA. Click here to see the review.

  • Contributor Mr. P. Martin has sent a scan of his collection of books - click here to see the covers. The pictures are of very high quality but have had to be 'watered down' to make the page open. Do you have any interesting jackets that might be missing?

  • 'Escape to Provence'. New copies now available from author Maureen Emerson following the re-print of her book. The price is now 10.99 plus 2 p&p. To order direct from the author/publisher, click here.

March 2009

Fort France Garden Guide

  • The 2009 opening dates and times for the garden at Villa Fort France, Winifred Fortescue's original home, are now available. If you are in the area its well worth a visit to see the lovely garden. The Fort France garden brochure has been added to the added to site. Click here for full details.

  • A new review of Maureen Emerson's Book, 'Escape to Provence', has been published in the West Sussex County Times. Click here to see all the reviews of this excellent book.

February 2009

  • The company that hosts the website are in the process of moving to a new and better hosting platform! As a result certain features may not work as normal, for the time being. In particular, the forms used for the visitors book and book order pages are slightly problematic! If you experience any difficulty just send an email by using the Contact Us link. There may be the odd page hiccup from time to time but normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. Please continue to enjoy visiting the site and leaving your messages. - Peter, Webmaster.

  • UPDATE - New form for the Visitors Book is now installed and works well. It also has a nice anti-spam feature to prove humans are submitting the form and not robots. Do give it a try. Most web users will have seen it before. A similar form for the book ordering page will follow.

  • 'Escape to Provence', by Maureen Emerson. A re-print is currently being arranged and new copies, priced at 10.99, should be available later this Spring.  Maureen will be promoting her book in France in April 2009. Click here for details. A review by the LMS Magazine of Sophia Antipolis has been added to the site.

January 2009

  • I am absolutely delighted to confirm that nearly 75 years after it first appeared, Winifred Fortescue's original book, Perfume from Provence, is being re-printed and will be available from May 5th 2009. Published by Summersdale Publishing Ltd, as part of the Summersdale Revival Series, this will be the first re-print since the Black Swan edition of 2000. With 320 pages, and priced at just 7.99, it is sure to become a best seller once again. This edition carries a completely new cover design which is very fitting. To add to this exciting news, Summersdale have also confirmed they will be launching a new edition of the the sequel, Sunset House, in Spring 2010. What a marvellous start to 2009!

Perfume from Provence by Summersdale Publishing - May 2009


Visit the Summersdale web site to see their fabulous range of products.

Sunmmersdale Media Group

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