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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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Maker: Maull & Polyblank

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

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Anne Blencowe, Lady Blencowe (1656–1718) circle of Michael Dahl, 1670s private collection

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Blencowe [née Wallis], Anne, Lady Blencowe (1656–1718), compiler of recipes, was born on 4 June 1656, the elder daughter and second of three surviving children of John Wallis (1616–1703), Savilian professor of geometry at the University of Oxford, and his wife, Susanna Glyde (1622–1687)...

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Bradley, Martha (fl. 1740s–1755), writer on cookery, is known today only through her one monumental book, The British Housewife, which was published as a part-work from January to October 1756 and eventually came out in book form in 1758. The book is a complete manual for the housewife, the cook, the housekeeper, the gardener, and the farrier, with monthly sections of advice and recipes which cover every aspect of domestic management in the middle of the eighteenth century. The author herself was a professional cook who worked in ...

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Cook, Ann (fl. c. 1725–c. 1760), writer on cookery, was born probably in the late 1690s, perhaps in co. Durham. Little is known of her except what appears in the autobiographical 'Plan of house-keeping' included in the second and third editions of her cookery book; her narrative is an account of her feud with ...

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Costa [née Murphy], Margaret Mary (1917–1999), restaurateur and writer on cookery, was born on 30 August 1917 in Umtali, Southern Rhodesia, where her father, Michael John Murphy, was a senior official in the customs and excise department of the Southern Rhodesian government. His job entailed frequent moves while she was growing up, including a time in ...

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Elizabeth David (1913–1992) by unknown photographer, c. 1960 © reserved; estate of Elizabeth David

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David [née Gwynne], Elizabeth (1913–1992), writer on cookery, was born on 26 December 1913 at Wootton Manor, near Polegate, Sussex, the second of four daughters of Rupert Sackville Gwynne (1873–1924), politician, and his wife, the Hon. Stella, née Ridley (d. 1973)...

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Eales, Mary (d. 1717/18?), writer on cookery and confectioner, is known almost exclusively through the texts published under her name. No details of her birth or parentage are known and it is only on the title-page to Mrs. Mary Eales's Receipts, published in 1718, that the nature and achievements of her career are suggested. Here she is described as '...

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Fettiplace [née Poole; other married name Rogers], Elinor, Lady Fettiplace (b. c. 1570, d. in or after 1647), writer on household management, probably born at Pauntley, Gloucestershire, was the eldest daughter of Sir Henry Poole (d. 1616) of Sapperton in Gloucestershire...

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Theodora FitzGibbon (1916–1991) by John Harris © News International Newspapers Ltd

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FitzGibbon [née Rosling; other married name Morrison], Theodora (1916–1991), writer on cookery, was born on 21 October 1916, the only legitimate daughter of John Archibald Rosling (known as Adam) and his wife, Alice Winifred Hodgkins. A great many myths surrounded her life and background: she once told an interviewer that she was born at ...

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Francis [née Jervis], Eliza Warren (1810–1900), author of domestic manuals and journal editor, was born on 23 December 1810 in Wells, Somerset, where she was baptized on 19 June 1811, the first of six surviving children of John Jervis (b....

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Glasse [née Allgood], Hannah (bap. 1708, d. 1770), writer on cookery and costumier, born at Greville Street, Hatton Garden, London, was baptized at St Andrew's Church, Holborn, on 24 March 1708, the daughter of Isaac Allgood (1683–1725) and Hannah Reynolds. The Allgoods...

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Gray [née Swann], Clemency Anne Rosemary [Rose] (1939–2010), restaurateur and cookery writer, was born on 28 January 1939 at 23 Kimbolton Road, Bedford, the daughter of (Elizabeth) Anne Swann, née Lawrence (1910–1985), daughter of Sir William Matthew Trevor Lawrence, third baronet. Rose's...

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Patience Jean Gray (1917–2005) by Jane Bown, 1987 © Guardian News and Media Ltd 1987

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Gray [née Stanham], Patience Jean (1917–2005), writer on food, was born on 31 October 1917 at Michen Hall, Shackleford, near Godalming, Surrey, the second of three daughters of Hermann Stanham Stanham, then a major in the Royal Field Artillery, and his wife, ...