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Acton, Eliza (1799–1859), writer on cookery and poet, was born at Battle, Sussex, on 17 April 1799, the eldest of the five children of John Acton and his wife, Elizabeth, née Mercer. The Actons were a Suffolk family, and returned there soon after ...

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Astry [married name Orlebar], Diana (bap. 1671, d. 1716), diarist and compiler of recipe books, was baptized on 2 January 1671 at St Mary's, Henbury, Gloucestershire, the third daughter and fifth child of Sir Samuel Astry (1632–1704) of Henbury, Gloucestershire, a clerk of the ...

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Ayrton [née Walshe; other married name Balchin], Elisabeth Evelyn (1910–1991), novelist and writer on cookery, was born on 2 February 1910 at Littlefield Farm, Worplesdon, Surrey, the eldest child of Douglas Thomas George Walshe (1880–1952) and his first wife, Phyllis Sydney, née...

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Isabella Mary Beeton (1836–1865) by Maull & Polyblank, c. 1860–65 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Beeton [née Mayson], Isabella Mary (1836–1865), writer on household management and journalist, was born on 14 March 1836 at Milk Street, off Cheapside in the City of London, the eldest in the family of three daughters and a son of Benjamin Mayson (1801–1840)...

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Driver, Christopher Prout (1932–1997), journalist and writer on food, was born in India on 1 December 1932, the son of Arthur Herbert Driver, a Presbyterian medical missionary, and his wife, Elsie Kathleen Shepherd. When the family returned to England, Dr Driver ran Book in Hand...

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Ambrose Heath (1891–1969) by Howard Coster, 1939 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Heath, Ambrose (1891–1969), writer on cookery and journalist, was born Francis Geoffrey Miller (the second forename was later changed to Gerald) on 7 February 1891 at 16 Broadhurst Gardens, Hampstead, London, the son of Francis Miller (1866–1935), electrical engineer, and his wife, ...

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Innes, Jocasta Claire Traill (1934–2013), journalist, cookery writer, and interior design writer, was born on 21 May 1934 in Nanking (Nanjing), China, the eldest of four children of Paul Joseph Anthony Innes (1906–1977), a Shell Oil executive, and his wife, Alice Eileen, née...

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Jackson, Michael (1942–2007), journalist and writer on beer and whisky, was born on 27 March 1942 at Stockeld Park maternity home, Spofforth, Wetherby, Yorkshire, the son of Isaac (Jack) Jackson, First Aid Party member and commercial traveller, and Margaret Duff, née Millington, the wife of ...

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Ortiz, Elisabeth Lambert [née Elisabeth Lambert] (1915–2003), writer on cookery and poet, was born on 17 June 1915 in Harrow on the Hill, Middlesex, the second of three daughters of a marine salvage engineer who moved his family to Jamaica when she was eight years old. She was at school for some time there, and in an introduction to ...

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Peel [née Bayliff], Constance Dorothy Evelyn (1868–1934), journalist and writer on household management, was born on 27 April 1868 at Ganarew, Herefordshire, the seventh of nine children (four of whom died in infancy) of Richard Lane Bayliff, captain in the 100th regiment...

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Postgate, Raymond William (1896–1971), journalist and writer on food and wine, was born in Cambridge on 6 November 1896, the eldest of four sons and second of the six children of John Percival Postgate (1853–1926), classical scholar and fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge...

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Rylance, Ralph (1782–1834), miscellaneous writer and editor, was born on 30 March 1782 at Bolton-le-Moors, Lancashire, the son of Thomas Rylance, a joiner, and his wife, Alice Beswick or Boswick (d. 1831). He attended Bolton grammar school, leaving in 1797 and entering into a brief apprenticeship with a weaver; by that date ...

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Tannahill, (Margery) Reay (1929–2007), food historian and historical novelist, was born on 9 December 1929 at 20 Queen Square, Glasgow, the daughter of James Cowan Tannahill, engineer's draughtsman and estimator, and his wife, Olive Margery, née Reay. She was educated at Shawlands Academy...

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Winner, (Robert) Michael (1935–2013), film-maker and food critic, was born on 30 October 1935 at 40 Belsize Grove, Hampstead, London, the only child of George Joseph Winner (1907–1972), businessman, and his wife, Helen, née Zlota (1906–1984), who was born in Praszka, Poland. His paternal grandfather was a Russian Jew who became a naturalized British citizen in 1910 and set up a successful clothing business. ...

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(Robert) Michael Winner (1935–2013) by unknown photographer, 1960s © Getty Images