Found: 1920s diary of 'Bridget Jones'

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The Independent Online

An original Bridget Jones-style secret diary from the roaring 1920s has been discovered at a charity shop. The diary details the hectic life of 17-year-old Ilene Powell as she juggles boyfriends, parties, and crash diets in 1925.

An original Bridget Jones-style secret diary from the roaring 1920s has been discovered at a charity shop. The diary details the hectic life of 17-year-old Ilene Powell as she juggles boyfriends, parties, and crash diets in 1925.

One excerpt reads: "Saturday 7 February: Danced with all the lads as usual. Had a good time, 6 people asked to take me home. "There was a fight and Mrs Morgan fainted. Ticked off J.G. for making love to me on the roof garden."

And just like the 21st-century Bridget Jones, Ilene fights a constant battle with her weight - despite weighing just eight stone. In true Bridget-style, Ilene wrote: "Wednesday 14 January: I now have lemon juice in hot water with no sugar instead of tea, also a VERY small breakfast of dry toast.

"If this doesn't get my fat down I'll give up dieting."

The leather-bound pocket diary was spotted in a bag of books handed into the Oxfam charity shop in Cotham, Bristol, over the weekend.

On the inside cover it lists her all-important vital statistics, just like Bridget: "Glove size,(6), boot size (3) hat size (6 5/8) weight (8st) and height (5ft 3ins)." Ilene lived a middle-class life from the family home in Wells Road near Knowle.

She was a part-time dance teacher and spent the rest of her time shopping, having tea and planning her next night out.

Another entry reads: "Sunday 14 February: Bryn, Molly, Vera and Bill came to tea. Had a lively time fighting with the boys and dashing round the back of houses."

"Friday 20 March: Merry evening of music, dancing, wines, trying on frocks. Norman and I entertained the company with the tango." Although Ilene was popular with the boys, there seems to be only one main man in her life, Bill.

"Saturday 24 January: Played T.T. and danced all evening with Bill - quiet night."

"Friday 30 January: Met Bill in Clare St and we had tea in the Picture House with Mum."

Her dedication to her diary is shortlived. It only runs from Thursday 1 January 1925 to Sat 21 March 1925.

The diary has been donated to John Williams, the city's archivist at the Bristol Record Office. It will be displayed at the office throughout December.

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