Once I understood the misery of the Irish famine, it was reasonable to assume that starvation had driven her across the Irish Sea. So it was time to turn my attention to life in Liverpool for those who escaped the stinking potato fields in Ireland and crossed the Irish Sea to look for work, and food, and shelter - just enough to fulfil their basic needs.
Maybe I shouldn't be surprised that the residents of Liverpool didn't welcome them with open arms. There was a conviction that they came to take jobs, to demand homes and so deprive local people, and they brought diseases associated with poverty - plague and cholera. (Sound familiar? Let's not allow needy people anywhere near our own doorsteps ...)
I struggled, trying to fill in the details of life of the Irish refugees in Liverpool. I suspect that, in retrospect, the city is ashamed of the squalor in which they were forced to live. However - to the credit of the powers that be (and prompted by a growing union movement pressing for change) -they did eventually realise that the solution lay in improved public health and better housing; Liverpool introduced some of the earliest public health provision in the country.
However, there is nothing left of the streets where the Irish were ghettoed; not even a blue plaque on a wall. I found only passing mentions in museums and one small reconstruction (without what must have been terrible smells).
But then I had some luck. I went to visit the city for a few days, staying in a B&B away from the centre. I got to chatting to the landlord (as I do) and discovered that he was researching his family history and knew all about nineteenth century Liverpool. He drove me round those streets that still survive, and gave me two laminated maps of the city, with the old road systems and docks - so very different from the layout of Liverpool today. (Bill, I owe you!) And from that I could find enough photographs online to give me the details I needed.
So, I knew that Barbara Weldon spent time in Liverpool, and she went from there to Australia. Why Australia? And was there a warmer welcome the other side of the world than she'd found here?