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It’s been many years since my mother passed on but some of her wise words linger on.
She was very fond of quoting:
A place for everything and everything in its place.
My sister and I thought that she particularly overused the words in relation to our teenage bedrooms!
We understood the expression to be attributed to the Victorian domestic goddess, Isabella Beeton but it’s also credited to Samuel Smiles and Benjamin Franklin.
Isabella was born in London in 1836. Her mother was widowed when Isabella was four years old and she lived with grandparents for a couple of years. Her mother re-married and her four daughters made a new family with Mr Henry Dorling, the clerk to the Epsom Racecourse, and his four children.
The newly weds had thirteen more children over the next twenty years and Isabella became an expert at household management through first hand experience.
As a young adult Isabella lived in Germany and became proficient in the German language and pastry making.
On her return to England, aged about eighteen, she continued to take lessons in pastry making from the local baker and became engaged to Samuel Beeton, a publisher.
The couple were married in 1855 and after a honeymoon in Paris settled into a new home together in Pinner.
In addition to several pregnancies and miscarriages, Isabella began to work with Samuel in his publishing business writing copy for his magazine ‘The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine’.
She began collecting recipes from readers and these and many recipes of her own were included in further magazines.
In the early 1860s her magazine articles were collected together into one large volume: ‘Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management’.
Despite the success of the book, the Beetons experienced considerable financial difficulties and had to sell up and re-locate from Pinner to Greenhithe in Kent.
Aged only twenty eight years and pregnant again, Isabella went into labour and died from puerperal fever.
Soon afterwards, Samuel sold the rights to ‘Household Management’ to another publisher by whom he was employed until his own death from TB in 1877.
I don’t know if my mum ever actually read Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management. She worked as a library assistant so I suppose it’s possible.
She would have liked this quote attributed to Mrs Beeton:
Friendship is no plant of hasty growth. Though planted in esteem’s deep-fixed soil the gradual culture of kind intercourse must bring it to perfection.
And here are some more words of Mrs Beeton’s wisdom:
Afternoon tea should be provided, fresh supplies, with thin bread-and-butter, fancy pastries, cakes, etc., being brought in as other guests arrive.
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