Mrs Beeton

Isabella Mary Beeton ("née " Mayson; 12 March 18366 February 1865), universally known as Mrs Beeton, was the English author of "Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management", and is one of the most famous cookery writers in history.

Background

Isabella was born at 24 Milk Street, Cheapside, London, England. Her father, Benjamin Mayson, died when she was young and her mother, Elizabeth Jerram later married again Henry Dorling, who was a widower and had four children of his own. They lived in Epsom, Surrey where Henry was Clerk of Epsom Racecourse. Isabella was sent to school in Heidelberg, Germany, where she became an accomplished pianist. Afterwards she returned to Epsom.

Her nephew was Ulster Unionist Party MP Sir Walter Smiles, her great-niece being Patricia Ford, Lady Fisher, also a UUP MP.

Marriage and career

Isabella's husband, Samuel Orchart Beeton, had also been born in Milk Street. Even after the move to Epsom the two mothers had kept in touch [ [http://www.stowmarket-history.co.uk/Mrs_Beeton.htm History of Beeton family] ] . On a visit to London, Isabella was introduced to Samuel Beeton, who had become a publisher of books and popular magazines. They married on 10 July 1856 at Epsom Parish Church. In August of that year they moved into their first home, a large Italianate property at 2 Chandos Villas on the Woodridings Estate in Hatch End.

Their first child, Samuel Orchart, was born in May 1857 but died of croup in August of that year. In September 1859, their second son, also named Samuel Orchart, was born.

During her time in Hatch End she began to write articles on cooking and household management for her husband's publications. In 1859–1861, she wrote a monthly supplement to "The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine". In October 1861, the supplements were published as a single volume, "The Book of Household Management Comprising information for the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-Maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, Upper and Under House-Maids, Lady’s-Maid, Maid-of-all-Work, Laundry-Maid, Nurse and Nurse-Maid, Monthly Wet and Sick Nurses, etc. etc.—also Sanitary, Medical, & Legal Memoranda: with a History of the Origin, Properties, and Uses of all Things Connected with Home Life and Comfort".

The Beetons left Hatch End in the autumn of 1861.

In December of that year their son was taken ill with scarlet fever while on holiday in Brighton. He died on New Year's Eve. Mrs. Beeton gave birth to two other sons, Orchart (on New Year's Eve in 1863) and Mayson Moss (in January 1865).

Their home at Hatch End was destroyed by a German bomb during an air-raid in September 1940 and the site is now occupied by a parade of shops. However, they are still remembered in the name of a nearby road, Beeton Close.

"Book of Household Management"

Popularly known as "Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management", it was essentially a guide to running a Victorian household, with advice on fashion, childcare, animal husbandry, poisons, the management of servants, science, religion, and industrialism.

Of the 1,112 pages, over 900 contained recipes, such that another popular name for the volume is "Mrs Beeton's Cookbook". Most of the recipes were illustrated with coloured engravings, and it was the first book to show recipes in a format that is still used today. It is said that many of the recipes were actually plagiarised from earlier writers (including Eliza Acton), but the Beetons never claimed that the book's contents were original. It was intended as a guide of reliable information for the aspirant middle classes. Mrs Beeton is perhaps described better as its compiler and editor than as its author, many of the passages clearly being not her own words.

Early death

The day after the birth of her fourth child, in January 1865, Isabella contracted puerperal fever. She died a week later, aged 28. Her husband lived for another twelve years and died of tuberculosis in June 1877 at the age of 46.

Both are buried at West Norwood Cemetery in south London under a simple headstone.

"The Secret Life of Mrs Beeton"

In 2006, BBC television broadcast a biographical drama, "The Secret Life of Mrs Beeton" [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/cinema/features/mrs-beeton.shtml BBC4: "The Secret Life of Mrs Beeton"] ] , with Anna Madeley in the title role. This tended to emphasise Mrs Beeton's feminist credentials, as well as playing on the assumption that many viewers would have been unaware of her relative youth when she wrote her books and her early death.

The TV drama seemed to imply the speculation (put forth in Kathryn Hughes' biography) that Beeton suffered from syphilis contracted from her husband, and that this may possibly have led to her death and those of her two children, although there is no firm evidence for this speculation. It was directed by Jon Jones.

Gallery

Bibliography

* Susan Watkin: "Know Your Onions or Mrs Beeton’s Hinterland", Lulu Press, 2006.
* Kathryn Hughes: "The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs Beeton", 2005, ISBN 1-84115-374-5
* Margaret Beetham:"A Magazine of Her Own?: Domesticity and Desire in the Woman’s Magazine, 1800-1914". London, 1996.
* Michael Hurd: "Mrs Beeton’s Book, a Music-Hall Guide to Victorian Living", London, 1984.
* Sarah Freeman: "Isabella and Sam: The Story of Mrs Beeton", London: Victor Gollancz, 1977.
* Elizabeth David: "Isabella Beeton and Her Book", in: Wine and Food, Spring 1961.
* H. Montgomery Hyde: "Mr. and Mrs. Beeton", London: George S. Harrap & Co, 1951.
* Nancy Spain: "Mrs. Beeton and her husband by her grand niece", London: Collins, 1948. Later: "Beeton Story" (1956).

References

External links

* [http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/b/beeton/isabella/household/ Online edition of "Household Management"]
*
* [http://www.mrsbeeton.com/ Searchable online version of Beeton's Book of Household Management]
* [http://books.guardian.co.uk/hay2006/story/0,,1788623,00.html "Guardian" article on "plagiarism"]


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  • Mrs Beeton — UK [ˈbiːt(ə)n] US [ˈbit(ə)n] a British woman who wrote in the 19th century about cooking and taking care of a house and family http://www.macmillandictionary.com/med2cd/weblinks/beeton mrs.htm Thesaurus: cooks, cuisine and cookeryhyponym * * *… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Mrs Beeton — Isabella Beeton im Alter von 26 Jahren, Ausschnitt der Fotografie, die sich heute in der National Portrait Gallery in London befindet Isabella Mary Beeton (* 14. März 1836 in London als Isabella Mayson; † 6. Februar 1865), allgemein bekannt als… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mrs Beeton — Isabella Beeton Isabella Mary Beeton (née Mayson; 12 mars 1836 – 6 février 1865), connue sous le nom de Mrs Beeton, est l auteur principal de Mrs Beeton s Book of Household Management et la plus célèbre écrivaine culinaire de l histoire… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mrs Beeton — Página principal de la revista The Englishwoman s Domestic Magazine, Septiembre 1861. Isabella Mary Beeton (de soltera Mayson; 12 de marzo 1836 – 6 de febrero 1865), generalmente conocida como Mrs Beeton, es la autora principal de Mrs Beeton s… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Mrs Beeton — ➡ Beeton * * * …   Universalium

  • Mrs Beeton — UK [ˈbiːt(ə)n] / US [ˈbɪt(ə)n] a British woman who wrote in the 19th century about cooking and taking care of a house and family …   English dictionary

  • Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management —   Front cover …   Wikipedia

  • Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management — Isabella Beeton im Alter von 26 Jahren, Ausschnitt der Fotografie, die sich heute in der National Portrait Gallery in London befindet Isabella Mary Beeton (* 14. März 1836 in London als Isabella Mayson; † 6. Februar 1865), allgemein bekannt als… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management — Portada del libro. Mrs Beeton s Book of Household Management (‘Libro de gestión doméstica de Mrs. Beeton’) es un libro editado por Isabella Beeton y publicado por primera vez en 1861 por S. O. Beeton Publishing, 161 Bouverie Street, Londres, una… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Beeton — (Isabella Mary Mayson Beeton 1836–65) the British writer of the Book of Household Management (1861), a famous book on cooking and running a household, which gives much information about 19th–century life in the home: According to Mrs Beeton, we… …   Universalium


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