chapter  13
Reading Between the Lines. Letters to Eleanor Keeling Edwards, 1890-1900
ByKrista Cowman
Pages 12

Augusta Eleanor Keeling Edwards, popularly known as Eleanor Keeling, was born in Liverpool on 10 September 1870, the daughter of Theophilus Evans Keeling, a bookkeeper and shipping clerk, and his wife Hannah Allen. Although Geoffrey Fidler, who attempted a brief reconstruction of Eleanor’s life in an article concerning the activities of her husband and the Liverpool Fabian Society in 1979, has described her background as ‘middle or lower-middle class’ it appears that this was a situation at which the family had arrived by the end of the nineteenth century rather than reflecting that of her birth. 1 Eleanor’s address at birth was Underhill Street in the working-class district of Everton, and her birth certificate indicates that her mother, who registered the event, was illiterate. Eleanor’s own education was more than likely achieved as a result of the Education Act of 1870, the year of her birth, rather than through comfortable family circumstances.