THE HEAD FAMILY
Victorian Studio Photos
'During 1864 my only sister, Mary Valenza, was suddenly attacked by a galloping consumption and died just before Christmas. She was a perfectly strong, healthy girl of seventeen, with beautiful chestnut brown hair and hazel eyes and fresh complexion - which gave promise of a very beautiful womanhood. Some slight eruption broke out on her and the ignorant doctor gave her medicine which drove the spots in and they went straight to her lungs, and she was dead in six months.
She was a great loss to me as we were tremendous pals, but the grief to my mother was so overwhelming that she never got over it. My father sold Pit Place in 1866, as my mother could not bear being in it after her daughter's death, and we moved to London.'
'The Mena House was initially a hunting lodge; it was a two-storey hut nicknamed the "Mud Hut". It was built in 1869 for the Egyptian Khedive Isma'il Pasha.
Due to political matters in 1883, Isma'il sold the lodge to couple Frederick and Jessie Head as a private residence. The couple came across the building while on their honeymoon and once it was purchased they expanded it. In 1885, it was then sold to an English couple, Ethel and Hugh F. Locke King. They immediately began construction on the hotel and opened it to the public in 1886 as The Mena House. The hotel is named after the founding father of the first Egyptian dynasty, Mena or King Menes.'