The authentic eye-witness account of a young English governess in St Petersburg (Petrograd) during the Russian revolution of 1917 – with over 30 photographs – edited by Muriel delaHaye.
Miss Daisy’s secret day-to-day diary reveals the trials and dilemmas of her life and that of her two sisters, May and Ida, also employed as English governesses. Daisy, known as the tomboy of the family, loved dancing and excelled at the very energetic Russian dance. In 1917 she is employed by the daughter and grandchildren of the Naval Minister, Ivan Constantin Grigorovitch, living at the Naval College on Vasilevski Island which is attacked and ransacked by the Bolsheviks. She is imprisoned with the children in the cellars until she makes known she holds a British passport. She is then isolated in a strange house alone with the children who have chickenpox, at the mercy of marauding Red Army soldiers who are searching for weapons.
May, known as ‘the bookworm’, is employed by the Swedish-Russian engineering representative for Scandinavia, living in Terijoki, Finland, where even here the Red Guards plunder what they can. Ida, a true romantic who loves to flirt and has many admirers, is in the most dangerous situation, employed by the stepson of Grand duke Paul (the Tsar’s uncle) and his wife Aylia (sister of the infamous Anna Verubova, close friend of the Tsarina and Rasputin). When Aylia escapes to Copenhagen, Ida is left alone in their apartment with the children until she agrees to make the dangerous journey to reunite them with their mother. She is interviewed by Lenin before given permission to leave.
As the terrors of the October 1917 revolution approach with food shortages, strikes and protest marches, each sister is faced with a dilemma: they don’t have enough money to get back to England. The discovery of a last letter from the Tsarina to her friend Anna which mentions ‘Miss Ida’ prompted the publication of this diary. Since 2017 is the centenary of the Russian revolution, a great many memories of this event will be forthcoming and of interest to young and old alike.