He had no children, and Eliza Elder was brought up in his country houses, Sparrow Hall, Streatham, and Thornbury Park, near Stamford Hill. On 5 June 1855 she married George Brightwen (1820–1883), a businessman. They settled in Stanmore, Middlesex, where Eliza Brightwen lived for the remainder of her life.
From childhood on Elder had a deep interest in natural history, a pursuit that she was well able to exercise during her childhood, roaming the grounds of her uncle's estates and reading from among the thousands of books in his library. As she said of herself, 'the early lessons of Natural History kept me constantly wondering and asking “the reason why”'
Eliza Brightwen believed in educating the public about animal preservation. She opposed falconry, she wrote pamphlets and essays deploring the use of feathers for the trimming of human clothing, she rescued animals, and she lectured in local schools about bird trapping and the destruction of nestlings.
Many of the photographs used to illustrate Eliza Brightwen's books were taken by her coachman James Leversuch, James and his family lived over the coach house/stables
(Barbara T Gates)