Mary Ann Brooks (20.8.1822 – 19.9.1848). Botanist and diarist; daughter of John Thomas Brooks of Flitwick Manor, Beds; educated at Perceval House, Blackheath, 1833 – 1839, and at home; Herbarium (mainly Beds and Herts) at BIRM; diaries at Bedford and Luton Archives and Records Service LL19/2.
Hers is the epitome of life as an unmarried daughter of a country squire in early Victorian England: she exhibited filial duty and devotion; practised conventional worship, personal piety and good works; read instructive and improving books; made an Herbarium, encouraged by a doting father; kept a Diary for “the effectual advancement of the temporal & spiritual interests of the writer”; attended parties; travelled, particularly to the houses of kinsmen; and, sadly, suffered a painful and protracted illness and died an edifying death fortified by the consolation of the Established Church.
Her father was John Thomas Brooks (1794 – 1858) of Flitwick Manor, Beds. Horticulturalist, diarist and landowner with many horticultural and botanical friends and acquaintances; diaries at Bedford and Luton Archives and Records Service LL17/280-283 and Richard Morgan (ed) The Diary of a Bedfordshire Squire BHRS 66, 1987.
Brooks landscaped the grounds of Flitwick Manor and added a Botanical Garden An early member of the Royal Horticultural Society, his horticultural and botanical friends and acquaintances included J C Loudon, John Lindley, W J Hooker, R H Webb and John Ansell and specimens collected by some of them appear in Mary Ann’s herbarium.
MAB’s sheets can be seen at Herbaria@home