The Twickenham Museum
For children

Laetitia Matilda Hawkins
Nineteenth century local gossip
1759 - 1835

Twickenham House, Heath Lane, as painted by Rosa Lewis in 1887. Courtesy of Richmond-upon Thames Local Studies Library

Local gossipLaetitia Matilda Hawkins lived with a friend and her brother at number 1 Sion Row, Twickenham. She wrote three books about Twickenham and the people who lived there.

Her books are sometimes described as gossip. Some of the people she wrote about are Horace Walpole, David Garrick and Kitty Clive.

Twickenham House, facing the garden, as painted by Rosa Lewis in 1887. Courtesy of Richmond-upon Thames Local Studies Library

In one of her books Laetitia describes how her parents were attacked on the road from Twickenham to London. A stage coach man drove into the carriage they were travelling in. When their own driver complained the stage-coach man hit him with his whip. The man then drove off but he was later caught boasting about what he had done.

The manís friends and family wrote to Laetitiaís father saying that he would miss Christmas if he was in prison. The man himself even sent two partridges to try to persuade them to let him off but nothing worked. He had to spend six months in prison.

the title page of Matilda Hawkins' Memoirs, volume I, dedicated to Dr Fergusson of Windsor

There is a memorial to Laetitia Hawkins and her brother Henry in St Mary's Church.

back to top