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Chislehurst, Kent: Woman War Correspondent

The woman who went against the grain in a male dominated profession

One of the first journalists at the World War One front in Belgium was F. Tennyson Jesse.

In 1914, she was not only unique as a woman amongst predominately male war correspondents, but as an up and coming writer related to the poet Tennyson, she brought a new humanity and observation to her reports that fostered sympathy and understanding for the Belgium refugees.

Jesse had an unsettled childhood as her father, a vicar, went from one overseas posting to another but she always came back to the family home in Chislehurst in Kent.

Members of the Chislehurst History society took Sara Parker to the site of the lovely rambling house called Holly Bowers – a refuge for Jesse in time of war. Alongside interviews recorded for the BBC’s Great War series, writer Amanda-Jane Doran told Sara Parker how Jesse captured the reality of war – right down to the unexpected nature of battle sounds.

Location: Chislehurst, Kent BR7 6LT
Image: F Tennyson Jesse, courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery

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