The Mysterious Missus Mooney
Join Missus Mooney & Michael Furey on a journey into Victorian and Edwardian history. Some would have us believe life in these eras was filled with wealth, highbrow parties, elegant dresses and elitist gentleman’s clubs – truth be told, there was a dark and tragic side that is rarely spoken of…that of the everyday person.
Welcome to me parlour, lovelies! I’m Missus Eugenia Mooney – but me friends call me “Missus M”.
Along with me lovely husband (a somewhat roguish Irishman, named Michael Furey) we bring Victorian and Edwardian history to life through our character portrayals, walking tours, lectures, courses and parlour theatre events. I consider meself an educated lady of some note – albeit, me life started in the darkest corners of East London! I love to read – n’ even though me east-end accent may be a mite harsh, I assure ye I’m a lady of substance & integrity! Always up fer some fun & a wee bit o’ trouble. Some have even taken upon themselves te say I be adventurous!
So there ye have it…straightforward and simple enough. Pour yerself a tea (or something a mite stronger), pull up a comfy seat, relax and enjoy a stroll through the past!
What Are “Halfpenny Dreadfuls”?
The “Penny Dreadful” is a term that originally developed in mid-Victorian England; stories of adventure, romance, crime…in short, often serialized form, printed and sold cheaply (for one penny). An easy distraction from the days toil – afforded by the common folk and read secretly by the wealthy. Sometimes referred to as “Penny Bloods” due to the often graphic content (for example, Sweeney Todd) these publications were the inspiration for “pulp fiction” novels the world over.
By the 1890s these had proliferated and the stories had become even more lurid and sensational. Mr. Alfred Harmsworth decided to combat these tawdry tales with stories of more “moral” adventures – good clean fun, as it were (allegedly based on true events) – for a mere ha’penny (literally a half-penny) in his publication titled “The Half-penny Marvel”. While started with the best of intentions, Mr. Harmsworth’s publications soon included the very same sensational and wild tales as his competitors! The famous poet A. A. Milne (known for his “Winnie The Pooh” books) was quoted as saying; “Harmsworth killed the penny dreadful by the simple process of producing the ha’penny dreadfuller.”
Missus Mooney is a Victorian/Edwardian character created to teach people the history of these eras. Her back story is intriguing and engaging. She is a fascinating woman who is outspoken, slightly ahead of her time and well liked by her adoring public.
I believe history is learned through presentation and preservation. We as historians, teachers and professionals have a responsibility to educate the public and each other on what best represents how this should be done and these presentations should only be given with educated conscious thought.
*Seika Groves who portrays Missus Mooney holds a degree in Cultural Anthropology & Battlefield Archaeology and is also an expert & historian of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Her expertise is valued by many media outlets and she is sought after as an educator, offering courses to schools, museums, staff interpreters and the general public.