Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Barwell, Louisa Mary

BARWELL, LOUISA MARY (1800–1885), musician and educational writer, was born in the parish of St. Peter Mancroft, Norwich, on 4 March 1800. She was the daughter of Richard Mackenzie Bacon [q. v.] by his wife Jane Louisa (Noverre), born 1768, died 1808. At the age of eighteen she was associated with her father in the editorship of the ‘Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review.’ She had great musical capacity with an exquisite voice, and played from score at sight. After her marriage with John Barwell, wine merchant at Norwich (born 1798, died 1876), she devoted much attention to the composition of educational works, developing a remarkable gift for the comprehension of child nature, physical and mental. She frequently contributed to the ‘Quarterly Journal of Education’ from about the year 1831, anticipating some of the modern views and plans of education. Her husband, who shared her interest in this subject, was largely instrumental in securing the success of a scheme by which a charity day-school for girls at Norwich was converted into an industrial training-school for girls. With Von Fellenberg, in whose school at Hofwyl all their sons were placed, the Barwells formed an intimate friendship. In the bygone literary society of Norwich, portrayed by Harriet Martineau, Mrs. Barwell held an honoured place. Her closest friend was Lady Noel Byron, whose correspondence with her was constant, and whose papers she arranged, in the later years of Lady Byron's life. She survived her friend nearly a quarter of a century, dying on 2 Feb. 1885, leaving four sons and a daughter. Her publications were: 1. ‘Little Lessons for Little Learners,’ 1883 (in monosyllables; fourteen subsequent editions). 2. ‘The Value of Time,’ 1834. 3. ‘The Value of Money,’ 1834. 4. ‘Little Lessons for Little Learners,’ 2nd series, 1835 (many subsequent editions). 5. ‘The Elder Brother,’ 1835. 6. ‘Edward the Crusader's Son,’ 2 vols., 1836. 7. ‘Remember, or Mamma's Birthday,’ 1837. 8. ‘Nursery Government,’ 1837. 9. ‘Sunday Lessons for Little Children,’ 1838. 10. ‘The Novel Adventures of Tom Thumb the Great, showing how he visited the Insect World and learned much Wisdom,’ 1838. 11. ‘Trials of Strength, Moral and Physical,’ 1839. 12. ‘The Nursery Maid,’ 1839. 13. ‘Letters from Hofwyl,’ 1842 (published at Lady Byron's suggestion). 14. ‘Gilbert Harland, or Good in Everything,’ 1850. 15. ‘Childhood's Hours,’ 1851 (ordered by the queen to be used in the royal nursery). 16. ‘Flora's Horticultural Fête,’ 1880 (poem for the benefit of the children's infirmary established at Norwich by her friend Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt).

[Norfolk News, 7 Feb. 1885; Times, 13 Feb. 1885; Norfolk Tour, 1829, pp. 1088 sq. (refers to Mrs. George Taylor); private information.]

A. G.