Partner Louisa Aldrich-Blake

Queer Places:
17 Nottingham Pl, Marylebone, London W1U 5LG, UK

Surgeon Louisa Aldrich-Blake, nicknamed ‘Madame la Générale’ during the time she spent at Royaumont, lived with her friend Rosamond Wigram (1872–1958). From 1887 to 1896 with a short break, Aldrich-Blake lived at College Hall, Byng Place. In 1896 she rented the Georgian house, No. 17, Nottingham Place, and there she remained during the rest of her life. For many years she lived alone, but in 1915 her friend Rosamond Wigram joined her, and thereafter they kept house together, but on an unusual plan. Each went her own way, and neither lady ever asked the other where she had been or what she had been doing. The partnership meant much to Dame Louisa. It provided her with a loved and congenial companion, and brought fresh interest into her life. As she said when writing to Miss Mitford, “Rosamond's presence in the house is an abiding joy.”

In 1923 Aldrich-Blake went with her sister- in-law, Mrs. Aldrich-Blake, and her three boys, and Wigram to the Dolomites. Wigram says: “No one enjoyed the time more than Louisa. Her knowledge of mountains gained by her time in Switzerland came to the fore when she planned the many expeditions, mostly on foot, which occupied whole days out. She never lost her bearings and seemed to know exactly what we should see at every turn. It gave her enormous pleasure to point out the finest pieces of scenery to her nephews, almost as though she had visited the places before, though they were new to all of us. The two days spent in Verona on the way home were different. She knew little of Italian towns, but equally enjoyed being shown the sights as she had enjoyed showing the mountains to us.”

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