The noble Scottish family who had it all – and lost it

The debut book by television producer Simon Welfare depicts the fascinating lives of John and Ishbel Gordon, the Marquess and Marchioness of Aberdeen.

The couple aimed to change the world with their passion for philanthropic endeavours and social reform.

However, they ended up losing their fortune after years of generosity.

As the couple were the great-grandparents of his wife, Welfare was able to draw inspiration from private letters, diaries, financial ledgers and memoirs resulting in a well-researched piece of work.

The inclusion of footnotes expanded on terms that may be unfamiliar to most and helps to add context.

This vibrant book gives the reader insight into society in the 1800s in an informative and engaging way.

Ishbel Gordon summarised her life by saying she had made many mistakes but hopes she had done more good than harm – a sentiment that surely resonates with us all.

You can hear Simon Welfare discuss this book in episode 13 of the Scottish Field podcast.

Fortune’s Many Houses: A Victorian Visionary, a Noble Scottish Family, and a Lost Inheritance, by Simon Welfare, published by Atria Books, £25.

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