The search for Yorkshire diarist & adventurer ‘Jemima’ begins

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The search for the ultimate ‘Maria’ and ‘Dorothy’ may be over – now the search for Yorkshire Diarist and adventurer ‘Jemima’ begins

When tourism pioneer, Mr Thomas Cook organised his first conducted tour of Switzerland in 1863 (150 years ago), 31-year old Jemima Morrell from Yorkshire was one of several Victorian ladies who leapt at the chance of exploring the Alps, describing her experiences in a fascinating diary.  Following Andrew Lloyd Webber’s search for the ultimate Maria, Dorothy and Nancy, Switzerland Tourism, in conjunction with Yorkshire-based Inntravel, has launched a search for the modern-day Jemima. 150 years after Jemima’s departure, Inntravel and Switzerland Tourism are looking for an enthusiastic and energetic woman, with a spirit of adventure and with Yorkshire ties, to apply for the role of Jemima as one of a party undertaking a commemorative journey in June.

How to apply
The lucky winner will be treated to a seven day adventure in Jemima’s footsteps with Switzerland Tourism. In order to qualify, applicants should write to with an email entitled ‘I am a modern day Jemima’. Inntravel and Switzerland Tourism are looking for a woman (over 18 years old) who is free to travel to Switzerland between 22 – 29 June 2013. She must have ties with Yorkshire and enjoy hill walking and writing, as the successful ‘Jemima’ will be required to produce several blog and diary entries on her adventure for Switzerland Tourism and Inntravel.  When applying, entrants are asked to attach an image of themselves taken on an earlier adventure, anywhere in the world, and to say in less than 100 words why they should be Jemima. Applications must be made by 20 April and the name of the successful candidate will be announced by 30 April. For more, see

Jemima’s own experiences were recorded in her fascinating 1863 leather-bound personal diary, which was found in 1947 within a blitzed London warehouse.  Having been abandoned in an old trunk, the diary gave illuminating insights into both the nature of this forerunner to the ‘package holiday’ and to continental travel generally during the Victorian era. Though living in Selby and never having left Britain before, Jemima was keen to witness the grandeur of the Alps. She and her brother, William, invited a number of like-minded friends to join them.  They dubbed themselves the Junior United Alpine Club – a slightly tongue-in-cheek reference to the Alpine Club of Great Britain, which had only recently been formed in 1857.

It is thanks to this beautifully written diary which, 100 years later (1963), was published as a book, entitled Miss Jemima’s Swiss Journal,that Inntravel is able to recreate her itinerary as a thrilling new holiday – Jemima Morrell’s Victorian Adventure. Their own adventure, available for Inntravel customers to take on a self-guided basis, between June and October 2013, passes through the same villages and takes in the same magnificent views that so inspired Jemima 150 years ago.  However, thanks to modern day clothing and the seamless Swiss transport system, Inntravel’s holiday is far less arduous than Miss Jemima’s gruelling itinerary.

What became of Jemima?
Jemima went on to have other adventures, but nothing quite compared with the splendour of Switzerland. Although she had no grandchildren herself, it is through her brother and travelling companion, William that the family line continues to this day.  Several of his descendants became highly influential businessmen in the city of York, where their legacy is evident through the work of York Conservation Trust.

For more information on Jemima Morrell and her Victorian Adventure, the search for the modern-day Jemima or Inntravel holidays in Switzerland, contact Inntravel (, 01653 617000). For more information about Switzerland contact Switzerland Tourism (



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