Dear Diary

Welcome to the Dear Diary Timeline of Women's History. The timeline follows a monthly flow: each month has quotes from 17 diarists writing in different years. The quotes reveal women's concerns, activities and thoughts from 1798 to 1981.

Quotes were transcribed and selected by participants of the Dear Diary community engagement programme led by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), with the support of the Nerve Centre, in 2020.

Scroll down to navigate through each month and click on 'Read More' to read full quote and listen to audio recording of it.

At the bottom of the website, meet the diarists and hear the participants talk about their experience of creating this timeline.

January

3rd, 1943
Everyone knows Fascism is doomed...
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4th, 1973
Memory alone is not an adequate guide...
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6th, 1891
Making of my black silk dress…
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10th, 1916
Small street Arabs stopped to stare at us...
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11th, 1953
I do not believe in personal sacrifice...
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14th, 1973
Will these horrors never cease...
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15th, 1894
Love and Memory clothe all my soul...
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19th, 1930
Church considered too cold for me...
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22nd, 1894
She had half a dozen ideas and lived in them...
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23rd, 1906
English ignorance of Ireland is unbelievable...
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27th, 1911
I went to a parade in front of the Schloss...
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28th, 1951
I may be worse than poor mother...
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29th, 1940
I very nearly lost good hat...
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30th, 1981
Me & Mummy went shopping...
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February

1st, 1942
My Irish-Scots blood rushing to my head, I’m ready for fight...
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3rd, 1911
I had my first cookery lesson...
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7th, 1981
Nothing else really happened...
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No Date, 1916
I felt very indignant and depressed...
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7th, 1973
There was much intimidation and hooliganism as was to be expected...
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8th, 1940
I felt scarcely anything...
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12th, 1951
J is writing away and I don’t like to leave him and go to bed...
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13th, 1891
Did some gardening...
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15th, 1894
There by the dusty wayside lying low...
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19th, 1953
Why we are poor...
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25th, 1904
I was introduced to a good many new officers...
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26th, 1973
I felt wretched really quite ill...
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26th, 1914
I made due allowance for Irish exaggeration...
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28th, 1935
The motor broke down on the way...
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March

1st, 1981
Start of hunger strike...
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4th, 1912
Mamma, Dorothy and I went to see the Compton Comedy Co...
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5th, 1951
I have no more energy and I feel a bit guilty about them...
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No Date, 1967
Then ‘Home’ to a completely different way of life....
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5th, 1890
Norah came in her riding habit...
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8th, 1934
Controversial questions of birth control came up...
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8th, 1973
There was trouble last night in Belfast….
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19th, 1894
I meant to write in this diary but find nothing ever happens...
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17th, 1951
Please not the death of forgetfulness – not too soon...
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17th, 1973
Good day worked 2 hours on the book...
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19th, 1914
The Countess who had never made a bed in her life...
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24th, 1904
Aunties have made me a delightful offer...
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24th, 1942
Nations [should] become better acquainted with each other...
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24th, 1918
The day was so bright it made one feel happy to be alive...
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25th, 1940
Was dead tired in evening...
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27th, 1918
Oh what a sight we seemed to have lived through...
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27th, 1953
A lamb in the kitchen...
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April

4th, 1953
I had to say mentally – forgive me dear God...
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4th, 1981
Finally found a pair of shoes for my kilt...
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No Date, 1918
I had been gassed from the men’s clothes....
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5th, 1911
Coming down by the famous Hirschgasse...
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6th, 1914
Those wretched creatures...
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9th, 1894
Delightful Birds 2 Beautiful Macaw...
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11th, 1894
Very Hot indeed felt very torpid all day...
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12th, 1940
A horrible picture of bloodthirsty fighting...
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12th, 1934
Such a plan infringed upon the sanctity of marriage...
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16th, 1984
Jamaica Hills lovely in sunset from the sea...
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16th, 1941
Nations must lose fear if they are to trust one another...
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16th, 1941
Nazi planes kept coming back...
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17th, 1941
My mother took 8 evacuees last night...
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18th, 1918
Received mail from George...
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18th, 1941
An action like this does more for Irish Unity than any words of politicians...
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20th, 1941
We can see now why you’re so keen on your birth-control clinic...
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21st, 1904
Some of the men were awfully nice...
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23rd, 1941
It’s extraordinary how life goes on almost normally in other parts of the town...
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23rd, 1973
Alliance Party Conference in the Ulster Hall...
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27th, 1953
Winston Churchill gets the Garter...
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27th, 1890
Felt very thankful baby was so healthy...
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No date, 1984
The Cubans seem to be always making Revolutions...
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May

1st, 1891
A new nurse came who I did not care for at all...
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4th, 1951
I quite enjoy my stories on the wall in flat moving photographs...
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5th, 1953
I feel such an utter failure at everything...
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5th, 1935
All preparations for Jubilee ready...
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5th, 1904
It was a lovely night, warm and a splendid moon...
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5th, 1981
I feel sorry for the Sands family...
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6th, 1914
They were too poor to smoke...
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7th, 1894
Also of dreadful night as no lights are allowed...
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7th, 1940
The girls went out to night manoeuvres with the ambulance...
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8th, 1918
It was the most fearsome night ever...
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10th, 1911
Arrived home at last...
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15th, 1918
It gets very chilly lying out in sands...
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20th, 1953
Ruth, Norma and Emma went to see the garden...
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22nd, 1916
I once more started a VAD course, this time for France...
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22nd, 1943
Old newspapers have a strange effect on me...
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25th, 1981
Maybe in years to come when you're reading this there will be no troubles...
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27th, 1798
The people of this country are more inclined to insurrection than is apprehended...
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31st, 1798
Our distress, aggravated by uncertainty of the fate of the army...
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31st, 1798
I became resolved to avoid even the appearance of a change of religion...
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No Date, 1918
Their [American] ways were not ours...
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June

2nd, 1953
D. had a television party...
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2nd, 1918
Third day very tired got to bed at 9am...
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4th, 1914
As these Ulster folk so often are...
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No date, 1916
I fell asleep pondering over the consequences...
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No Date, 1918
I told her I hated responsibility…
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5th, 1951
The world and I are very middle-aged...
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No Date, 1954
I think a good flood or a wee volcano would do Ireland no harm...
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6th, 1904
No one who has not motored in these days can conceive the dust of the roads...
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6th, 1890
Dear little Eileen Sophia was baptised...
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9th, 1981
Mummy let me go to a punk disco tonight up in the Bosco…
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11th, 1942
How the other foreigners manage...
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13th, 1798
Some of our work people and servants took leave of as they are going to the rebel camp...
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14th, 1934
The day of our sale at Hall of Remembrance...
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16th, 1798
I felt indignation and a wish to be avenged…
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18th, 1911
Dorothy and I went for a motor-drive with the Colonel...
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20th, 1798
Our thoughts were on our murdered countrymen...
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20th, 1894
From the man who would take our photograph...
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29th, 1940
All roads being sand bagged...
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July

2nd, 1943
Every day some beautiful building disappears under a bomb...
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23rd, 1894
Will rake up the very snow...
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5th, 1918
Sleeping in a damp cellar wish we could move out...
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No Date, 1916
The mud from the trenches sticking to their clothes...
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7th, 1940
Was enormously relieved that apparently no evacuees are coming...
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9th, 1981
Lots of trouble in N. Ireland today but only a little in Newry...
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10th, 1943
At last the invasion has begun...
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11th, 1952
So many fires in such a small space...
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12th, 1890
Nurse & Fanny went to see the Orange Processions...
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16th, 1953
My 99th birthday…
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18th, 1934
The Baby a satisfactory one...
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20th, 1951
A diary does give a limited view of a person...
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21st, 1930
My darling son Freddy killed...
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23rd, 1904
Baths are evidently out of the question...
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26th, 1914
She came dressed beyond description...
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29th, 1981
Diana Spencer was gorgeous...
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August

2nd, 1981
There were binlids in Newry...
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4th, 1914
They are the remains of a force raised here in the 17th Century…
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4th, 1934
We watched the making of a cinema in the village...
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No date, 1894
Curious walk very straight firm and steady down...
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No Date, 1917
The words seemed like a knell to me...
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No date, 1943
Did Mussolini fall too soon?
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4th, 1891
I expect the mule driver was glad of the rest too...
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6th, 1904
Such ugly women I never in my life beheld...
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7th, 1940
Was miserable with deafness all morning...
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7th, 1953
I feel rather sad for pussy...
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8th, 1891
We went to tea at the Prices...
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9th, 1891
We went on to the ice cave...
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10th, 1951
It is a great responsibility living with someone who must write...
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13th, 1891
I also heard yodelling for the first time...
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16th, 1891
People of all sorts and conditions and at such an early hour too....
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19th, 1891
We had our dinner the best we could....
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25th, 1911
The first act in Arcadia was beautifully staged...
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31st, 1918
Carried 7,340 patients...
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September

5th, 1911
Climbed up to the top of Divis...
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7th, 1981
C. finally got me a pen pal...
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9th, 1942
When your husband comes home with a parcel...
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11th, 1915
Finding was keeping…
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12th, 1956
All our married lives I wished he would get a job elsewhere...
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15th, 1914
Nationalist Volunteers should come forward...
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15th, 1918
Almost afraid to walk in case you go up in air...
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17th, 1940
Was much disgusted at Helen...
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22nd, 1915
How funny it was that I was really in Egypt...
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25th, 1904
Very bad taste for a picnic...
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26th, 1934
Launch of the Queen Mary...
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27th, 1943
God inspire me to help them!
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27th, 1917
We had to get our gas helmets ready...
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29th, 1952
Molly crosses tonight and I shall miss her…
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29th, 1890
Children rather troublesome...
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October

1st, 1917
Am very tired as it is 6am...
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1st, 1915
To my unaccustomed eyes all the patients seemed dying...
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4th, 1911
All the bazaar people came tramping into the hall
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5th, 1914
Boy Scouts carrying staves much bigger than themselves...
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10th, 1890
Felt greatly overcome at the associations...
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13th, 1940
Princess Elizabeth broadcast 5.15, but unfortunately I forgot about it...
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14th, 1981
Bomb still out Belfast Road...
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17th, 1952
Dorothy was ruthless and drowned them all...
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19th, 1904
It must be horrible to leave the home you have always lived in...
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23rd, 1935
My wedding day 73 years ago...
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29th, 1910
It was my first glimpse of a foreign town...
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30th, 1943
I hope you never have to organise an escape from danger...
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No Date, ​1953
J and I had another row in the cottage...
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No Date, 1954
I am much happier and content and have got a grip of my old self...
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November

2nd, 1903
I am dying for some frivolity...
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4th, 1981
Today we actually seen the Pope, really close...
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5th, 1941
Water Bottle gives me more comfort than a husband...
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6th, 1943
God didn’t approve of much praying...
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10th, 1940
Mr Chamberlain died last night...
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11th, 1918
Expect to move out soon...
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12th, 1952
Eleanor Sinclair’s sale of toys...
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13th, 1890
God has been very merciful to me all this past year...
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15th, 1914
The UVF is presenting a voluntary hospital...
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16th, 1915
I have never seen a wound...
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26th, 1910
Looking like a stray Black Forest dwarf...
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29th, 1934
I was not well in the night and decided to stay in bed...
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December

3rd, 1903
Marion Jackson’s wedding...
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4th, 1942
I had my hair permed yesterday...
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9th, 1952
Brief is life but love is long...
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10th, 1910
Grace behaved very badly!
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11th, 1914
20 women and children of the poorest type...
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19th, 1941
War has spread like a fungus everywhere...
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19th, 1935
Select candidate for post in India...
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19th, 1981
Me & Ethna went to do our Christmas shopping...
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20th, 1915
Mamma had raised a fund at home for my patients...
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25th, 1911
It is wonderful how much this family has stuck together year after year...
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No Date, 1958
After 24 years marriage we had our Christmas alone...
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29th, 1910
We went for a glorious sleigh-drive...
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30th, 1940
Was tired + out of sorts all day...
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31st, 1890
My dear little chicks are all in good health...
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No Date, 1967
I was their ‘sister’ in both senses....
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31st, 1981
I know now that maybe I should have written more in this diary...
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Meet the Diarists

Johnny Bravo

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Edward Jones

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Lisa Stillwater

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Research Sources

Jan

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