"Miss Mary Hooper

of Leamington Priors



Hooper, Mary Ann Harriet Margaret .(1829—1904)


Compiled for the benefit of Leamingtonians and others by Anthony James Leahy


Mary Hooper's Birthplace 47 Bath Street; She also lived at the cottage that backed on to Aylesford Well as well as Church Walk & 14 Upper Parade until 1851.

Mary was the first child of Frederick and Harriet Hooper. born in Leamington Priors (now Leamington Spa) in 1829 Baptised 24th November. (Parish records held at Warwick Records Office) As Leamington developed, house numbers changed, so the buildings depicted may not be the buildings as numbered in 1829 (47 Bath St) and 1851 (14 Upper Parade).

Miss Hooper moved to London in 1850/51. By the late 1860’s and early 1870’s Mary had written her “Papers on Cookery” and had “Handbook for the Breakfast Table” believed to be her first book on cookery, published.

In 1874 Mary was invited to organise cookery courses at Crystal Palace. She became Professor of Domestic Economy, at the Crystal Palace School of Arts, Science and Literature. By the late 1800s Mary had written novels and Children’s books, in all around twelve books though her main output was books on cookery and the way housewives could organise their kitchens and domestic situations.

Miss Mary Hooper lived at 7 Kilburn Villas, Central Hill, Upper Norwood, with Charles Wentworth Wass who was the widower of her late sister Emily. An 1867 directory listing indicates that 7 Kilburn Villas and 22 Central Hill were one and the same residence (providing we rule out the possibility of demolition and then rebuilding on the same site). In 1867 Charles W  Wass is shown at 7 Kilburn Villas, Central Hill. Standing to the right of Wass's home was Swindon Villa, inhabited by W Malraison. Moving on to 1891 we have Wass at no. 22 and Miss Malraison, Swindon Villa, no. 20, next door. Often the earlier Victorians would put in short sections of housing with titles like 'Terrace', 'Cottages' or 'Villas', with their own separate numbering. Later on the authorities would simplify things by renumbering the whole road from one end to the other; this seems to have been what has happened here.

The relationship between Mary and Charles is unclear though it is possible that they were living together as man and wife. It would not have been possible at that period for them to marry as it was considered taboo for a man to marry the sister of his dead wife.

The Deceased Wife's Sister's Marriage Act 1907 (7 Edw.7 c.47) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, allowing a man, if his wife had died, to marry her sister.

Previously, it was forbidden for a man to marry the sister of his deceased wife. This prohibition derived from a doctrine of Canon Law whereby those who were connected by marriage were regarded as being related to each other in a way which made marriage between them improper. This doctrine was reflected in the Table of kindred and affinity in the Anglican (Church of England) Book of Common Prayer.

The desire of widowed men to marry the sister of their deceased wife became the subject of particular agitation from the 1860s onwards and strong feelings were roused on both sides. However, it was to be nearly 50 years before the campaign for a change in the law was successful, despite the introduction of draft legislation in Parliament on many occasions. The lengthy nature of the campaign was referred to in the Gilbert and Sullivan opera Iolanthe, in which the Queen of the Fairies sings "He shall prick that annual blister, marriage with deceased wife's sister".

The Deceased Wife's Sister's Marriage Act 1907 removed the prohibition (although it allowed individual clergy, if they chose, to refuse to conduct marriages which would previously have been prohibited), but the Act did exactly what it said and no more. Both Mary Hooper and Charles Wentworth Wass died prior to 1907. Mary died on the 8th January 1904, (HOOPER - On the 8th inst., at 22, Central Hill, Norwood, S.E., Mary Hooper aged 74 (London Standard January 11th 1904)) leaving her estate valued at £654 (equivalent to £62,000 at 2010) to Charles Wass.

Charles Wass born around 1819 in London at St Martin’s in The Fields. He had been in partnership with Frederick William Hooper the father of Mary and her younger sister Emily. Their partnership had been the subject of bankruptcy on 23rd April 1858. This was the third instance of bankruptcy for Frederick Hooper, having twice being declared insolvent in the 1830’s. Frederick Hooper was originally a Carver and Gilder living in Leamington Priors before moving to London in the early 1850’s. Charles Wentworth Wass was an engraver and art dealer and had premises in New Burlington Street, London. He became superintendent of the Crystal Palace Picture Gallery around 1858 a position he was to hold for 22 years. His stipple engraving of John Keats was published in “The poetical works of John Keats (1840)” and his stipple engraving of Princess Agusta Caroline along with engravings of Joseph Turner and Samuel Pepys are housed in the National Portrait Gallery.

Immediate family of Mary Hooper 1851 census William Frederick Hooper (Father aged 43) - Harriet Hooper (Mother aged 41) - Mary (aged 21) - Emily Hooper (Sister aged 19) - Louise Hooper (Sister aged 14) - Fanny Hooper (Sister aged 10) - Frederick Hooper (Brother aged 10) - Charles Hooper (Brother aged 6) - Edward Hooper (Brother aged 4) - Catherine Hooper (Sister aged 2). (Census 1851). 14 Upper Parade, Leamington.





Mary Hooper's Birthplace 47 Bath Street; She lived at the cottage that backed on to Aylesford Well as well as Church Walk & 14 Upper Parade until 1851

As Leamington developed house numbers changed so the buildings depicted may not be the buildings as numbered in 1829(47 Bath St) and 1851 (14 Upper Parade)

(update Jan 2010 47 Bath Street 1829  indicated as  being  a cottages in front of the Parish Church (demolished) 14 Upper Parade as being 66 The Parade (Jessop's Camera Store) ref Leamington Library Historian Judith Harridge.



Hooper's Shop and Cottage?






Upper Parade Leamington around 1880

Reproduced by ajl from Rock's Royal Cabinet Album of Leamington and Warwick






Mary Hooper's adopted home in Central Hill, close to Lunham Road and Auckland RoadUpper Norwood.


Warwick Pudding

Butter and ornament a quart mould with small

pieces of glace ginger, make a custard with one pint

of cream, the yolks of three eggs, the whites of six,

and four ounces of sugar; dissolve one ounce of

Nelson's Gelatine in sufficient milk to fill the mould;

when cold, add a wineglass of rum, and put in a

cold place to set.



Warwickshire Pudding

Butter a pint-and-a-half tart-dish, lay it in a layer of

light bread, cut thin, on this sprinkle a portion of two

ounces of shred suet, and of one ounce of lemon

candid-peel, chopped very fine. Fill the dish lightly

with layers of bread, sprinkling over each a little of

the suet and peel.

Boil a pint of milk with two ounces of sugar, pour

it on two eggs, beaten for a minute, and add it to the

pudding just before putting it into the oven; a little

extract of lemon or shred lemon-peel may be added

to the custard. Bake the pudding in a very slow

oven for an hour.

Young Ladies School of Cookery 1880 (Illustrated London News)

An article from "The Illustrated London News" in 1882 read:

Of the making of cookery books there is no end; and I hold it to be rather a public benefit than otherwise that there should be scarcely a solution of continuity in the production of culinary manuals; because, although in the vast majority of cookery books (always excepting the late Miss Acton and the Happily living Miss Mary Hooper) there is usually a considerable proportion of nonsense, there is scarcely one (especially if it be compiled by a lady) that does not contain hints always entertaining and occasionally useful on the subject of household management. As to the Art of Cookery, it is rapidly retrograding, and will retrograde more swiftly still, as well-to-do middle class people grow more and more "stuck up," and have their "set dinners" sent in from the pastry cook's instead of having them cooked at home.

National School for Cookery Lecture


...from the book "Paris Herself again in 1878-9"

"I have always fancied that one reason why cookery books are, as a rule, such an excellent property to the publishers thereof is that newly-married couples are in the habit of presenting a copy of the last edition of Francatelli or Mary Hooper to their cooks. The volumes are reasonably well bound, to be sure; but of all Places of Destruction I know none more ruinous than a kitchen; and in a very short space of time the cookery book comes to grief. Either the cat steals it — a cat would steal the new chimes of St. Paul's, belfry and all — or the kitchen-maid lights the fire with it, or it gets into the cook's drawer — that 'chaos come again' — and is seen no more. So additional copies of Francatelli or Mary Hooper are demanded, and the publishers dance jigs of delight."

George Augustus Salas


Mary Hooper's letters to Mr Hale

By courtesy of Special Collections Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Special Thanks to Tara Wenger (Interim Head of Reader Services) July 2009







Mary Hooper, whose excellent cookery books are well known to most housekeepers, has an interesting article in the Queen of 5th February, on roasting and cooking by gas. It contains an account of an exposition of gas cookery given by Mr. Sugg, the gas engineer, in the kitchen of the Town Hall, Westminster. His roasters were placed on tables, without flue or communication with any chimney, and each took up but little more space than that occupied by an ordinary joint. The meat was placed on a thin steel spit, turned by a clock work-running train-jack, such as is called in France a tournebroche. The roasting chamber opens in halves, the upper portion being fitted with glass, so that progress can be reported from time to time without opening the roaster. The bearings of the spit are in the lower half, and the dripping-pan is so placed below the burners as to preserve fat and gravy from being burnt. The heat used is emitted by luminous flame burners made of steatite, a stone which, although normally soft, acquires, after exposure to a certain degree of heat, hardness surpassing that of steel. Mr. Sugg cooked a dinner of several courses, everything, from the soup to the coffee, being prepared in presence of the guests, and the method was so beautiful, cleanly, and effective that the prejudices often entertained against gas cookery must have been overcome «v its favour.,

Crust fob Raised Pies.—1/2lb. of lard to 1lb. of flour and a little salt. Rub the lard well into the flour, mix with boiling water into stiff dough, knead well, and let it stand near the fire for a little while before forming it into “shells." Rice Meringue.—Swell 1/4lb. of rice in new milk. When cool, mix with it 1oz. butter, 3oz. pounded sugar, half the rind of a lemon grated, yolke of 4 eggs, 2oz. of sweet almonds and 3 bitter ones, chopped, or some grated or dried cocoanut, and a little salt. Pour into a buttered pie dish; spread over the top the stiffly whipped whites of 4 eggs, beaten with 4 tablespoonfuls of sifted sugar, and a little flavouring. Bake for half an hour in a moderate oven. The meringue should be of a pale brown, quite crisp, and served as soon as ready.

Rice Soufflé.—2oz. of rice boiled in milk with a little butter, lemon-peel, and a pinch of salt, adding when almost soft 2 spoonfuls of white sugar. When the rice is quite cooked add yolks of 6 eggs; mix with the rice but do not cook, add the whites beaten to a froth; mix well. Place the soufflé on a dish, and put it into the oven, glazing with powdered sugar as soon as it begins to colour, and passing ,a knife round between it and the dish to allow of its rising.

Chocolate Pudding.—(Tea or coffee may be used instead of chocolate, to vary the recipe.) Line an ornamental mould with puff paste, hake in a quick oven, and glace. When cold fill with a cream made thus:—Three tablets of chocolate dissolved in a little water, 1 quart of new milk, sweetened to taste. Mix, boil up once, take off the fire, beat up the yolks of 6 eggs with 1 tablespoonful of cold milk, add the chocolate and milk, slightly cooled, strain, place in a bowl, and stand in a stewpan of hot water, which must reach within 2in. of the top of the bowl of cream. As soon as the water begins to boil draw the pan to the side of the Are to stand for a few seconds. The cream must not be too hot when placed in the pastry mould or it will spoil it; nor too cold to "set" evenly. The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. Saturday 26 March 1887,



      Cookery and Cooking Schools

Lecture on cookery at the International Exhibition 1873 (Illustrated London News)

 The National School of Cookery, Exhibition-road, South Kensington, commenced its work in the year 1873 under the title of the Popular School of Cookery, and was located in the building of the International Exhibition of that year. At the close of the International Exhibition the commissioners granted to the executive committee of the National School of Cookery the temporary use, free of rent, of that portion of the building already occupied by it, together with some more space for an additional kitchen and offices.

Up to the present time it has not been found possible for the school to provide its own premises, and therefore the use of the exhibition building is continued to it. Lectures and demonstrations are now given daily in this school by students going through a course of training as teachers. Cooks and others are instructed in all branches of cookery, and lessons can be had singly or in a course. The public are admitted to see the school at work every afternoon, except Saturday, between three and four o'clock. The Crystal Palace classes for cookery and domestic economy were commenced in the Ladies' Division of the School of Art, Science, and Literature in the year 1875. On the removal of the school to its present position in the tropical department of the palace, Miss Mary Hooper was entrusted with the formation of a new series of classes for instruction in cookery and every branch of domestic economy. These classes have been continued to the present time The instruction is given by practical illustrations, and is designed for ladies, from a lady's point of view, and not for the training of servants. It includes all that is necessary to make home comfortable and attractive, and a lady accomplished ruler of her own house. At each cookery lesson, two or more dishes are prepared which are tasted by the students. At this school single lessons are not given, and the number of students received for each course is limited.

The School of Cookery at the International Exhibition 1873 (Illustrated London News)

Opinions of the Press...

For Mary Hooper's First Book (2nd Ed) on Cookery in 1872



"One of the most valuable characteristics of this handbook" is the skill and judgment shown in utilizing the materials left from today's dinner for tomorrow's breakfast, so that the really expensive "ham and eggs," "rump steak," or '"mutton chop" are not necessary, nor really half as 'nice* as what can be made from that which is left of a ' commonplace dinner.' We assure our readers that "The Handbook for the Breakfast Table" is the cheapest shilling's worth ever presented to a housekeeper. Art Journal


"There is no doubt whatever that the author is right in her remark that men of business should leave their homes in the morning physically fortified against the fatigues of an anxious day; and she has done her best to assist housekeepers in providing good economical breakfasts for every day, as well as superior dishes for special occasions."  Illustrated London News


"If good nourishing food, so cooked as to preserve all its more valuable qualities, and so selected as to be at once the best and cheapest, is desirable, then is this little book a thing to be coveted.” The Ladies


"A blessing to many housekeepers. It contains several scores of good receipts for cheap breakfast delicacies." The Examiner


"It is no easy matter to provide suitable dishes for breakfast. Miss Hooper's directions are given clearly, so that they may be readily understood by the most inexperienced cooks."" Public Opinion


"A useful work for domestic aid. It is thoroughly practical." Exchange and Mart


"A handy little book, which may be useful to many housewives."  Athenaeum


"Readers of this little handbook will find joys, up to this time unattainable, by putting the receipts to the test of practice daily." Notes and Queries


"Good news for the Hungry! Breakfast is now the most delightful meal of the day. To the miserable bachelor, or the yet more miserable young married man, we commend the handbook with our best wishes for their appetites." Land and Water


"A number of recipes for the preparation of small and acceptable dishes for the breakfast table are here given. The directions are set forth in a clear and popular style, and economy has been duly considered in conexion with them." The City Press,


"A very sensible and useful little brochure,” The Graphic


"Our advice to pater-familias is to do what we ourselves from this day forward intend to do when the question is put to us about breakfast, reply, "Ask Mary Hooper!"  He will introduce into his household a source of comfort for which he will bless the book and its author as long as he lives."  Bell's Weekly Messenger

Dec 1872.






PRESUMING that the persons whose case we are considering possess moderate strength and fair health, but have no taste for nursing, the work of a cookery instructor may afford a pleasant occupation, and may suit them better than any other calling. Schools for teaching cookery are being formed all over the kingdom, and, from what we hear, we believe that the preference is to be given to women of some education as instructors; to ladies, in fact, who possess the advantages of a higher order of intelligence, greater powers of speech, and superior manners. The duties of this post are thoroughly interesting, besides affording a sense of usefulness to others (a comfort of itself to many women). They are sometimes remunerated at the rate of over £100 per annum. It will scarcely be believed that the Secretary of the National School of Cookery at South Kensington finds it needful to make an appeal through the columns of the Times for ladies to come and be trained for this position with such a salary, the demand being so urgent that the authorities are really begging for pupils to be instructed.

For the benefit of those who may desire to undertake it, the following excellent letter from one of the chief promoters of the School of Cookery in Liverpool is transcribed :-" I cannot conceive," she says, "of an employment more suitable to gentlewomen, and I know of none other for which there is at present such an overwhelming demand. There is much in it to satisfy the most intellectual tastes, for it affords scope for any amount of intelligence, and even for scientific study ; while it is also philanthropic, sociable, and never monotonous. Our teachers travel from one place to the other, generally staying in private houses, with the clergy, and as they associate almost entirely with educated people, their position as gentlewomen is always fully recognised. We are most anxious that this splendid position should not be lost to the many ladies who are in need of a means of livelihood, and who have neither the qualifications, nor perhaps the inclination, for the profession of teacher. But the pressure for trained instructors is so great that, if more gentlewomen do not come forward, we shall be obliged to accept candidates of a different class. Ladies are always asking for help. I begin to fear they want help without work,."

Original Diploma 1874 of National Training School of Cookery... from The National by Dorothy Stone - 1973

The National Training School for Cookery, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, is under the direction of an executive committee, consisting of some of the most distinguished noblemen and gentlemen in London, and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, except Saturdays, for the purpose of giving instruction in cookery. Courses of teaching by demonstration, and courses of practice in, cookery and cleaning, for families spending from 20s. to 100s. weekly, are now being regularly held. Students desirous of joining should apply personally to the Lady Superintendent, or by letter to the Secretary, at the School, of Cookery. The fee for the course of teaching and practice in scullery-work and cleaning is 10s. 6d.; it occupies. one week, the hours of attendance are from 10 to 12 am. The practice is as follows :-"The best way of lighting and managing a fire, of cleaning a fire-place; the regulation of flues, the management of the oven, &c., or of patent fire-places in general use for cooking ; the difference between a close range and an open one, &c. the proper degree of cleanliness to be obtained in pots and pans, the best method of cleaning such articles, of removing stains from enamel, of burnishing copper,"

A class is held every afternoon for lessons by demonstration, in middle-class cookery, at a fee of £2 2s for a course of ten lessons. A middle-class "practice kitchen" is also now open. where a student may go through a course of practice in cookery, for which a fee of £4 4s. will be charged; but this is reduced to £3 3s. if the student have attended the "scullery course." In the "practice kitchen" a sufficient amount of material is provided without further charge, but if the material be spoiled, the student must find more at her own cost. The course in this kitchen occupies two weeks, from 10 a.m. to 4p.m. daily.


The Official Handbook of The National School For Cookery & High-Class Cookery Recipes (1904 - ninth edition) Lessons in Cookery


The Official Handbook of The National School For Cookery 28th Thousand (left) - 1881 7th thousand (Centre) - 1st Ed 1877 (Right)


A first edition of the handbook of the National Training School for cookery belonging to Miss Mary Willis of Southwell lodge, Norwich. She was a member of the renowned Colman (mustard) family. Mary was also involved in the Women’s Suffrage Movement as well as being a contributor to Exhibitions of the Royal Photographic Society in the early 1900’s.




Handbook inscription "Bertha Clifford "and "Bertha de Torre Diaz "- High Class Cookery inscription "Bertha de Torre Diaz"

Students who desire to receive a teacher's diploma must pass through all the classes, but separate certificates are given to learners attending only the scullery class, and the "practice kitchen." It is expected that each learner, before going up for examination, shall have acquired an adequate knowledge of the first principles of cookery, and have studied the elementary books and the recipes published by the school. An official directory, giving further information, with copies of the questions asked at the examinations, may be obtained at the school. A "practice kitchen" for cooking food for families spending from 7s. to 20s. weekly is now at work; the fee for this class is £3 3s., unless the student have been previously through the scullery-class, in which case it is reduced to £2 2s. The instruction in this kitchen comprises both French and English artisan cookery, and a lesson by demonstration in the same is given daily from 10 to 12 am.

The course of training for a student at the school is therefore, as follows:- She first goes as a pupil through the scullery, demonstration, middle-class practice, and artisan practice kitchens ; this takes six weeks, working every day (except Saturdays) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with an interval of rest from 12 a.m. to 2 p.m. This six weeks' course is then repeated again, with this difference, that she has to practice teaching what she has already learnt, taking the lecture-room last of all, where she works under the advice of one of the best cook demonstrators. Full and careful rules are drawn up for her guidance by the Lady Superintendent, which are hung: up close to where she stands to give her demonstration lesson. The fee for the three months' course of training is £12 12s., if the student come with the intention of accepting work from the school, should there be a vacancy on the staff; but the fee is increased to £15 15s. if she is to be employed elsewhere. During the course of training the student can dine with the other, students for 1s., and can also obtain comfortable lodgings in the neighbourhood of the school, the charges for lodging and. partial board being from 16s. to 25s. per week.

Register of Marks awarded to a Student of The National Training School For Cookery


Hon. Bertha Mary Agnes Clifford . She was born in 1848 and was the daughter of Charles Hugh Clifford the 8th Baron Clifford of Chudleigh and Hon. Agnes Catherine Louisa Petre. She married Brodie Manuel de Zulueta, Conde de Torre Diaz in 1892. Her married name became de Zulueta.



The work of teachers on the staff of the school varies according to the nature of the appointment they receive; if employed in the school itself she would have to be in her kitchen by 9.30 a.m. to see that her kitchen-maid had everything in perfect order for the pupils to begin work at 10 o'clock, the lessons ending at 4 p.m. She would then be free to leave the school by 5 o'clock, and on Saturday and Sunday she would be quite free. The salary for this would be £1 per week, and her dinner every day on which she was at work at the school. If a teacher be sent to the provinces she would receive £2 per week and an allowance for board and lodging extra, according to the neighbourhood she goes to; but the hours of work are dependent in that case on the "local committee," who are her employers for the time being. The number of working hours are limited in every case to twenty-four hours in the week, however they may be distributed by special arrangement with the local committee and the teacher.

 The National Training School For Cookery South Kensington 1879 from Harper's Bazar


The candidate must not be under eighteen, nor exceed thirty-five years of age. She is admitted to the school either by payment of fees, or on a subscriber's nomination; and she must be sufficiently educated to perform the duties of an instructor after the special training. The diplomas of teachers are of three classes, and in recommending teachers to the public the preference will always be given to the diploma of the highest class. The conditions of admission are, "That the student agree to obey all the rules, &c., for any infraction of which the student may be discharged at a day's notice, without having a claim of any sort upon the school. That she must be prepared to accept an engagement, if competent, on the staff of the school, at a salary of from 20s. to 40s. weekly, it being clearly understood, however, that the committee are not responsible for finding any paid employment for the student while in the school or afterwards.

Handwriting at the base of 1881 preface of "The Official Handbook Of The National Training School For Cookery

The South Kensington School is prepared to train 200 teachers during the year, admitting ten every fortnight [-80-] during forty weeks, It is now declared to be self-supporting, and more than 2,500 pupils have passed through it.

The Northern Union of Training Schools of Cookery has for its object the adoption of a uniform method of training teachers, and of giving diplomas and certificates to the students of the several schools of cookery according to a fixed standard, those given in the different schools belonging to the Northern Union being recognised as of equal value throughout the country. The schools of cookery that have already joined the union include Liverpool, and its branch schools at Southport and Warrington; Yorkshire school at Leeds, and its branch schools at Halifax, Leeds, York, and Wakefield; Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Leamington, and Bolton. The address of the hon. secretary of the union is 49, Canning Street, Liverpool, from whom all information may be obtained. Two kinds of diplomas are conferred by the Northern Union, one for teachers of artisan cookery, and one for teachers in all branches of cookery. In each of these there is a first and second class diploma. There are also two kinds of certificates for learners and pupil-teachers, and another for cooks and in each of these there are first and second class certificates. The theoretical examination for both diplomas and certificates will be conducted by means of written papers. Candidates for diplomas must also pass an examination in practice, and will have their power of teaching tested by giving lessons in the presence of duly-qualified examiners.


The School of Cookery,

31 Portland Street, Leamington Spa: Miss Ellis the Instructress


31 Portland Street 2009 Verified as the same building 1880 by Leamington Library Historian Judith Harridge Jan 2010)

The School of Art in connection with The Department of Science and Art South Kensington,

29 The Parade, Leamington Spa: Mr W Sturgeon Esq Beck's annual Directory 1880)


44, Warwick St, Leamington Spa: Site of The Leamington School of Cookery 1900 (June 2010)

from: Adverts THE LEAMINGTON COOKERY BOOK by miss weston and miss silvester dated 1900

The fee for training a teacher of artisan and plain household cookery is £6 6s. The fee for training a teacher of all branches of cookery is £8 8s. These fees are paid in advance, the course occupying about four months.

The salaries we mention as ranging from £50 to £100 per annum, referred principally to the ladies who hold appointments on the staff of the South Kensington School, whether in London or the provinces. Other ladies, who nave been trained as teachers at the school, and have had the enterprise to start independently, are said to be earning from £3 to £7 per week. In this case it is recommended that a start should be made in a public hall or institute, as people do not seem to like going to a private house to be taught. A little capital would be required for the necessary culinary apparatus, fitting stoves, &c., and a competent person would soon gather an audience at her classes and lectures. A very well- known lady has recently opened classes in this new field in the country, and is daily extending her work. She has been asked to give instruction to the children belonging to the Board Schools, and it is much to be hoped that the Privy Council will accede to the memorial lately presented to them by the School Boards; and besides making practical cookery in the schools a distinct subject, may make direct payments by way of prizes to classes in day and evening schools for proficiency attained in practical cookery. The London School Board has sanctioned an arrangement with the National School of Cookery, whereby competent instructors are to be provided at each centre at £75 per annum, with £35 for a maid and £10 for travelling expenses.

Plain Cookery and Artizan Recipes (1895 - Mrs Charles Clarke 7th ed)

In conclusion, we give some extracts from a letter, written by the lady we have mentioned as having begun the experiment of private classes, feeling sure that her sensible words will be a guide to those who wish to enter on the profession themselves:- "Success in teaching cookery," she writes, "depends so entirely upon your own skill, that unless you have plenty of nerve and 'brass' you would be sure to fail. It is one thing to make puff-pastry in peace and quietness in your own kitchen, and quite another to make it with an unwavering hand with half a dozen people criticising every movement, and inquiring the reason for it; while you have to talk amiably and make yourself agreeable all the time. I do not want you to think it is a very wonderful thing to be able to do it but I only say I never realised, till I came to do it, how very difficult it would be. It is necessary to get five or six things done, and done successfully, in the two hours lesson, cooked just to the right turn and at the right moment. Real servant-cooks quite realise the difficulty of this, and constantly say to me they could not possibly do what has to be done in those two hours. . And now to tell you how I was trained. I went through the usual course for an ordinary pupil at South Kensington that is to say, through the 'Cookery by Demonstration' the 'Scullery Course,' and the 'Practice Kitchen'. To have trained for an instructor would have taken much longer, and the 'Artisan Kitchen,' which is necessary in that case, would have been useless for me. The 'Cleaning Course' embraces all kinds of scullery-work. The 'demonstration' was watching three professed cooks doing the principal things in cookery - soups, jellies, pastries, &c., which took a fortnight; and the 'practice' was doing ourselves what we had seen done, under the guidance of a professed cook, in another kitchen. This also took a fortnight, and the whole cost rather over five guineas. After this I went in for the examination, and passed. I like the work immensely, for its own sake, and as for my class-room, it is the delight of my heart.

...from Cassells Household Guide (new and revised edition) circa 1880 Victorian London Occupations accessible to women

...artwork from the Graphic 1874

Original Seal of National Training School of Cookery... from The National by Dorothy Stone - 1973


This Report of 1874 in the New York Times wasn't very complimentary...



  The National Training-school for Cookery has been established; and I suppose that, so far as the fashionable season of 1874 is concerned, the school may be considered a very brilliant success indeed. The Commissioners of the International Exhibition have in every way facilitated the trial of this most praiseworthy experiment, and the convenient "annex" used for last year's lectures was placed at the disposal of the society.

  In the first week after the commencement of operations, sixteen pupils joined the classes, and among them we are told, were to be found persons belonging to every grade of society. Indeed, the proportion of "young ladies," properly so called, who were desirous to make themselves acquainted with the minutest details of kitchen lore, was much longer than in the outset could have been anticipated.

  It may fairly be asked why theses young ladies, whose parents are presumably affluent and who have cooks and kitchens of their own, did not ask the permission of their papas and mammas to descend into the lower regions of their own residencies, there to watch and learn the process of roasting, boiling, baking, frying and stewing , and to study the mysteries of peeling potatoes, of slicing carrots and turnips, of rolling pie-crust, of whipping cream and eggs, and of scrubbing pots and pans. To this it may at once be answered that there is nothing "nice," nothing titillating, nothing piquant, and nothing "sensational," in descending one's own kitchen-stairs, standing over one's own stoves, taking the lids off one's own saucepan, paring one's own vegetables, and washing one's own dishes. But it is "awfully funny, you know," to do these things in public; and I should not be surprised to hear that there have been among the "young lady" pupils at the International this year at least two duchesses' daughters, to say nothing of the heiresses of immensely rich people in the city. But all of theses sweet girl undergraduates have to submit to the same rules, whatever their state of lite may be.

  Every young woman who enters as a "learner" pays a fee of two guineas, which some is supposed to defray the cost of the materials which she uses in learning to cook; but before she is allowed to join the afternoon class, and to "learn" how to make soups, entrees, jellies, omelettes, and so forth, she is required to go through a preliminary course, in which she is taught how to lay and light a fire, to scour a frying pan, to burnish copper saucepans - stewpans are, I suppose, meant by the international pundits - and many other humble but useful items of the kitchen education. Again it may be asked (not without some slight feeling of indigestion) whether the drudgery of the scullion, whether the arts of scouring frying pans and burnishing copper vessels, are not taught and practiced and performed with efficiency in every decent kitchen in the land; and whether these, the meanest and coarsest rudiments of domestic economy are not taught in all our multitudinous orphan asylums, refuges, and "homes," in all our industrial and other public schools for girls? I will go further.

  I will not ask a question; but I will assert that in the way of scouring, scrubbing, washing, and burnishing, the kitchen of a prison or workhouse equals, if it does not surpass, in exquisitely brilliant neatness, the royal kitchen at Windsor Castle, or that of any grand West-end club you like to name. The mess, panuikins  and "kids" on board a man-of-war are likewise invariably and scrupulously kept clean and bright; but I have never heard that the cuisine in kitchens in workhouses, or on board of her Majesty's war-ships, was distinguished for anything beyond extreme plainness, approaching coarseness. If a "young lady" was ambitious to learn how "skilly" is mixes, how "boiled beef, clods and stickings free from bone" is served up, and how the convicts mess of cocoa-nibs is prepared, theses accomplishments, together with any required amount of scouring and scrubbing, might be thoroughly acquired during a course of six months' imprisonment and hard labour in Tothill Fields Brideswell. And then you are so quiet, so cool, so retired in jail. There is nothing to disturb or distract your attention. You are also taught to wash and to iron, and to make cocoa-nut matting. Why should not these little branches of domestic economy be taught at Kensington gore?

  Be it as it may, when the "young lady" pupils have thoroughly passed through the scrubbing and scouring stage, they are relegated to the hands of "professed" cooks (it may again be asked where these professors have learned to cook? they are not all to be, I conceive, Frenchmen) who teach them "all that they can possibly desire to know." All? What all? All the pretty chickens and their dam - poulcarde, poulet u la Morengo, grille, sauté, en compote, a la braise, u la daube, en mayonnaise, roti en fricasse? "That's much," as Garrick would say, when a young dramatic aspirant used to tell him that he wished to make his first appearance in Hamlet. Ultimately they are "examined," and receive a Kensington "certificate of proficiency."

  "In this school young ladies of gentle birth, young matrons who had no idea kitchen work could be so "nice," rosy-cheeked country girls about to take their first place, with cooks anxious to improve themselves, may all be seen working together with a will, and vying with each other as to who shall turn out the most brilliant copper-lid or the most resplendently clean saucepan. The certificate is much coveted." Of that fact I have not the slightest doubt. To judge from the ridiculous questions propounded in the official examination papers, the "certificates" will afford about as accurate index to the culinary "proficiency" of the examinee as to her proficiency in Hindustani or Mr Dickens' "Chinese metaphysics." - Belgravia


New York times Wed 27th Dec 1874


"The National Training School of Cookery was established in 1873, and commenced its work at South Kensington in 1874 'with a view to promote generally the diffusion of knowledge of cookery amongst all classes of Her Majesty's subjects'.

By 1889 it had become necessary, owing to expansion, to move the school to larger premises, and these were taken in Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1. In course of time, the subjects of needlework, dressmaking, millinery, laundry work and housewifery were added as a minor part of the school teaching programme.

This change of object, led in 1902, to an amendment in the school title to 'The National Training School of Cookery and Other Branches of Domestic Economy'.

It was not until 1931 that this title was modified to its final form, viz: 'The National Training College of Domestic Subjects'. There followed in the latter years a series of financial crises which were the main reason for the ultimate closure of the college on 12 July 1962.

The college, which in 1888 was licensed, with limited liability, by the Board of Trade under Section 23 of the Companies Act 1867, retained its voluntary status throughout its lifetime.

When it had become clear that the closure of the college was unavoidable an educational trust was set up on 22 July 1961 to be known as 'The National Training College (founded 1873) of Domestic Subjects Trust'." -

The National Archives, Kew




National Training School of Cookery Medal 1929





The National - The Story of a Pioneer College - Dorothy Stone 1973 ISBN 0 7091 5774 6

Robert Hale & Company, Clerkenwell House, Clerkenwell Green, London.

Sources from this book acknowledged where used

"A most important study into the history of the National Training School of Cookery from 1873"


(with special thanks to Roy Hooper)

Mary Hooper Book Colection






Book Collection

Compiled for the benefit of Leamingtonians and others by Anthony James Leahy




Mary Hooper books by Date

Papers on Cookery :  / by Mary Hooper. prior to 1872 (info required)

For Better For Worse : / by Mary Hooper. c1872 (info required)

The "Weekly Telegraph" cookery book : a common-sense book of instructions on good plain cookery. ca.1890


Cookery Books By Mary Hooper

Handbook for the breakfast table : varied and economical dishes / by Mary Hooper. 1872 /1873. Required


Little dinners : how to serve them with elegance and economy / by Mary Hooper 1874


Cookery for invalids : persons of delicate digestion, and for children / by Mary Hooper. 1876.



Every day meals : being economic and wholesome recipes for breakfast, luncheon, and supper  1877





Good plain cookery : by Hooper, Mary. 1882.


Nelson's home comforts : by Hooper, Mary. 1882 (A new ed. revised and enlarged)



Hints on cookery : and management of the table, tr. from [Ma Cuisine]  by M. Hooper. 1891 1890



Novels by Mary Hooper with Cover Changes

Wives and housewives : a story for the times / by Mary Hooper. 1875. Required


Ways and tricks of animals : with stories about Aunt Mary's pets. . 1882 - 1882 - 1883 - 1880 - 1890



Lily’s Letters from the Farm : By Mary Hooper, ... With illustrations by Harrison Weir and others.  1880 - 1885 - 1890



 Our dog Prin : By Mary Hooper, ... With illustrations by Harrison Weir and others. 1880 - 1885 - 1890



1885 book variations



The Mary Hooper Book Collection

Probably The Most Comprehensive Collection of Books By Mary Hooper In The World


Edition dated cover date Paid Postage Comments copies called for Printed By Additions from Previous Additional Information

Original (1st)? c1879 19-Mar-08 £25.00 £3.00 HOME COMFORTS: A BOOK OF USEFUL FACTS FOR HOUSEKEEPERS 60,000 Ward, Lock & Co, Warwick House, Dorset Buildings, Salisbury Square   Possibly 1st Edition

Original (2nd)? c1880   £20.00 £3.00 HOME COMFORTS: A BOOK OF USEFUL FACTS FOR HOUSEKEEPERS 10,000 Ward, Lock & Co, Warwick House, Dorset Buildings, Salisbury Square   Possibly 2nd Edition
Seventyfirst Thousand (3rd)? c1881 08-June-10 £10.00 £1.00 NELSON'S HOME COMFORTS: A BOOK OF USEFUL FACTS FOR HOUSEKEEPERS 1000 Ward, Lock & Co, Warwick House, Dorset Buildings, Salisbury Square The Bedford Stores Burgis & Colbourne of Leamington Possibly 3rd Edition

First (4th)? c1882 05-Mar-08 £4.99 £1.65 NEW REVISED EDITION   Charles Dickens and Evans, Crystal Palace Press The Gelatine Manufactory & The works at Tomoana Possibly 4th Edition

5th ? 08-Mar-08 £4.00 £3.50 floral design back cover 50,000 Charles Dickens and Evans, Crystal Palace Press Hints on Housekeeping  

6th 1884 18-Mar-08 £4.70 £1.50   150,000 Charles Dickens and Evans, Crystal Palace Press Hints on Housekeeping & New Zealand Frozen Mutton  

7th 1885 06-Mar-08 £1.29 £2.75   200,000 Charles Dickens and Evans, Crystal Palace Press Hints on Housekeeping & New Zealand Frozen Mutton  

8th 1887 18-Apr-08 £8.83 £2.00 Golden Jubilee Queen Victoria 250,000 Charles Dickens and Evans, Crystal Palace Press Hints on Housekeeping & New Zealand Frozen Mutton Queen Victoria Golden Jubilee

9th 1888 25-Mar-08 £6.00 £3.35 Nelson's Jubilee edition 300,000 Charles Dickens and Evans, Crystal Palace Press Hints on Housekeeping & New Zealand Frozen Mutton Nelson's Jubilee edition

10th 1889 27-Mar-08 £10.00 £3.25   350,000 Charles Dickens and Evans, Crystal Palace Press Hints on Housekeeping & New Zealand Frozen Mutton  

11th 1889 24- Apr-09 £11.49 £1..50 Design Change Back Cover 400,000 Charles Dickens and Evans, Crystal Palace Press Hints on Housekeeping & New Zealand Frozen Mutton  

12th 1891 25-Mar-08 £5.00 £3.35   450,000 Charles Dickens and Evans, Crystal Palace Press Hints on Housekeeping & New Zealand Frozen Mutton  

13th 1892 09-Jun-08 £7.50 £2.75   500,000 Charles Dickens and Evans, Crystal Palace Press Hints on Housekeeping & New Zealand Frozen Mutton  

14th 1893 12-Jul-08 £8.00 £0.00   550,000 Charles Dickens and Evans, Crystal Palace Press Hints on Housekeeping & New Zealand Frozen Mutton  

15th 1894 04-Mar-08 £9.00 £0.00   600,000 F.M. Evans, Limited, Crystal Palce, S.E. Hints on Housekeeping & New Zealand Frozen Mutton Bought Smith Street Warwick. This copy is in better condition than any other in the collection

16th 1895 27-Nov-08 £4.00 £1.70   650,000 F.M. Evans, Limited, Printers, Crystal Palce, S.E. Hints on Housekeeping & New Zealand Frozen Mutton Cookery for Invalids: City Trade Jubilee (G Wyatt)

17th 1896 26-Feb-08 £4.99 £1.50   700,000 F.M. Evans, Limited, Printers, Crystal Palce, S.E. Hints on Housekeeping & New Zealand Frozen Mutton Cookery for Invalids: City Trade Jubilee (G Wyatt)

18th 1897 1990 £5.00 £0.00 Diamond Jubilee Queen Victoria 750,000 F.M. Evans, Limited, Printers, Crystal Palce, S.E. Hints on Housekeeping & New Zealand Frozen Mutton Cookery for Invalids: City Trade Jubilee (G Wyatt) bought from bookshop  in Spencer St L/Spa

19th 1898 11-Apr-08 £2.10 £2.00   800,000 F.M. Evans, Limited, Printers, Crystal Palce, S.E. Hints on Housekeeping & New Zealand Frozen Mutton Cookery for Invalids: City Trade Jubilee (G Wyatt)

20th 1899 08 - Feb - 09 £7.28 £1.50   850.000 F.M. Evans, Limited, Printers, Crystal Palce, S.E. New Zealand Frozen Mutton Cookery for Invalids: City Trade Jubilee (G Wyatt)

21st 1900 08-Mar-08 £1.00 £2.75 Design Change Back Cover 900,000 J.J. Keliher and Co, Printers,  33, King William Street, E.C. Cookery for Invalids (Expanded)  

22nd 1903 13-Mar-08 £4.99 £3.40   950,000 J.J. Keliher and Co, Limited, Printers,  33, King William St., E.C. Cookery for Invalids (Expanded)  

23rd 1907? Blank 04-Mar-08 £5.99 £1.90 Not dated - New Design Cover


Mary Hooper not credited

No Printer Details

After 1907 - ref preface - gelatine introduction more than 70 years ago

By Special appointment to the King of Spain

Possibly the first and last edition after M Hooper's death in 1904

4th 1874   01-May-08 £8.00 £2.75 little dinners   Henry S King & Co 65 Cornhill & 12 Paternoster Row, London    

1st 1876   09-Apr-08 £2.90 £1.90 Cookery for Invalids first Edition   Henry S King & Co, London    
  1890     £7.95 £15.55 Our Dog Prin  

 P P Dutton & Co

31 West Twenty third Street

New York

Morrison & Gibb, Edinburgh Purchased USA



Book is



£0.00 £0.00 Our Dog Prin   Books Required To Complete Collection    Morrison & Gibb, Edinburgh    Easel illustration  
  1885   05-Oct-10 £3.08 £7.00 Our Dog Prin     Morrison & Gibb, Edinburgh Purchased USA


£35.00 £8.50

Our Dog Prin American Edition



 P P Dutton & Co

31 West Twenty third Street

New York

Morrison & Gibb, Edinburgh Purchased USA
  1885   11-Jun-11 £18.00 £7.00 Our Dog Prin     Morrison & Gibb, Edinburgh Purchased Canada
  1880   06-Sept-11 £6.25 £3.13 Lillly's Letters from the Farm     Full illustration - misspelled title Wertheimer, Lea & Co printers Circus Place, London Wall Purchased USA
  1885   06-Sept-11 £2.72 £4.69 Lilly's Letters from the Farm     Morrison & Gibb, Edinburgh Purchased USA



01-Jun-09 £7.76 £10.68 Lilly's Letters from the Farm   GRIFFITH AND FARRAN,
successors to newbery and harris),
Morrison & Gibb, Edinburgh    Easel illustration Purchased USA




Book is


£0.00 £0.00 Wives & Housewives   HOULSTON AND SONS,


1st 1880  





£2.00 Ways and Tricks of Animals

Dated by Book


back pages

successors to newbery and harris),
Wertheimer, Lea & Co printers Circus Place, London Wall  
  1883   22-Apr-14 £12.43 £8.75 Ways and Tricks of Animals USA

Dated by Book


back pages

successors to newbery and harris),
Wertheimer, Lea & Co printers Circus Place, London Wall  







£6.80 Ways and Tricks of Animals

Back Cover Inscription


successors to newbery and harris),

Wertheimer, Lea & Co printers Circus Place, London Wall

Book 1880 printers mark 1882

Purchased NZ

originated from

Sturminster Newton Dorset




£3.0 Ways and Tricks of Animals

Dated by Book


back pages






Book is




£0.00 £0.00 Ways and Tricks of Animals USA   GRIFFITH AND FARRAN,
successors to newbery and harris),
Wertheimer, Lea & Co printers Circus Place, London Wall  
  1882   20-Feb-11 £31.20 £11.44 Ways and Tricks of Animals

Dated by Book


back pages

successors to newbery and harris),
NEW YORK: E. P. BUTTON &• CO. London
Wertheimer, Lea & Co printers Circus Place, London Wall

USA Edition $

Purchased USA


1873   17-July-12 £2.99 £2.20 Handbook for the Breakfast Table   GRIFFITH AND FARRAN,
successors to newbery and harris),
NEW YORK: E. P. BUTTON &• CO. London



Guildhall Library copy

is Green


1st 1872  


Book is



£0.00 £0.00 Handbook for the Breakfast Table   LONDON :
successors to nbwbery and karris),
2 editions


Book is



        LONDON :
Published by Ward, Lock, 1882


  1882   09-Sept-09 £25.00 £10.00 Good Plain Cookery   LONDON :
Published by Ward, Lock, 1882


Purchased Australia

Cloth gilt, 2s, 6d, ;
Cheap Edition, cloth limp, Is.

  ?   01-June-10 £25.70 £3.35 Good Plain Cookery

The Economical Housewife


Lever Bros,. Port Sunlight, Near Birkenhead.

Not Attributed to Mary Hooper  
1st? 1882  


£0.00 £15.50 Good Plain Cookery    
Published by Ward, Lock, 1882


Hard Back

Australia Gifted

1st? 1882  


Book is




£0.00 £0.00 Good Plain Cookery    
Published by Ward, Lock, 1882


Cloth gilt, 2s, 6d, ;
Cheap Edition, cloth limp, Is.

1st 1891  



£35.00 £2.50 Hints on Cookery and Management of the Table   Published by Spencer Blackett. 55

 St Bride St, Ludgate circus, EC

  Gabrielle Le Brasseur

3rd 1879   18-May-09 £30.00 £0.00 Everyday Meals   C Kegan Paul & Co, London Bardbury Agnew & Co. Printers, Whitefriars  
1st 1890  


Book is



    The Weekly Telegraph Book   Sir W C Leng &Co, Sheffield Telegraph Ltd at their General Printing Works, Sheffield Publihed by - The Proprietors of "The Weekly Telegraph," 180 & 181, Fleet Street, London, E.C. Soft cover

1st 1890   02-Jun-08 £25.00 £3.00 The Weekly Telegraph Book   Sir W C Leng &Co, Sheffield Telegraph Ltd at their General Printing Works, Sheffield Publihed by - The Proprietors of "The Weekly Telegraph," 180 & 181, Fleet Street, London, E.C.

The largest book


Good Plain Cookery

3rd 1883   20-Oct-09 £10.50  



Cookery for Invalids  

Kegan Paul, Trench & Co.

1 Patternoster Square, London

8th 1893   28-May-09 £4.99 £2.64 Every-Day Meals  

Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co.


21st 1888   10th-Dec-10 £12.00 £3.00 Little dinners  




Nelson's Home Comforts Collection Completed 04/01/2010

Brown First Edition? 60,000 Copies Green Second Edition? 10,000 Copies Green Nelson's Third Edition? 1,000 Copies Red Mary Hooper Fourth Edition? 100,000? Copies Final Twenty Third Edition 50,000+    One Million Copies



These Books ARE Required For The Collection


Good Plain Cookery - Cloth gilt, 2s, 6d, 1882; Cloth limp, Is. *1889 Mary Hooper      

Handbook for the Breakfast Table - economical & varied dishes - Mary Hooper

Ways and Tricks of Animals - Mary Hooper (USA Edition Green Cover)                

Lilly's Letters from the Farm - Mary Hooper (English Edition)                                

Wives and Housewives - a story for the Times - Mary Hooper                                     

Our Dog Prin - Mary Hooper - English edition                                                                    

Papers on Cookery - Mary Hooper (no cover image) (Prior to 1872)                             

For Better For Worse - Mary Hooper (no cover image) (1872?) 

if you have any of the following Books click on book image to email                                  




Mary Hooper Books Wanted (published in the USA may have different cover illustrations to those featured).


Annie Smith Orr was born on August 9th of 1878 in Glasgow.  She was a French polisher by trade but immigrated to Canada before World War One.  Her older brother immigrated to Vancouver in 1907.  At his urging she brought her younger brother, and grandfather with her in 1909. She lived in Vancouver and passed away at the age of 94. Our Dog Prin was one of the few things that Annie Smith Orr brought with her from Scotland so it must have had some special meaning to her.

Bob & Ann Orr 2011



Is This Book by Mary Hooper?

For Better For Worse

HATTIE AND NELLIE; Or For Better, For Worse. Published by Graves & Ellis, Boston, MA, 1872, 1st Edition, 312 pages.

Now the interesting thing about this book is the date of 1872 the year prior to handbook for the breakfast table. And the author is not known

Both books are American however but Mary Hooper did have American connections



The British Library Collection Listing 2016

Nelson’s home comforts ... c 1904 23rd ed

Nelson’s home comforts... 1903 22nd ed

Nelson’s home comforts... 1895 16th ed

Nelson’s home comforts... 1892 13th ed

Nelson’s Home Comforts… listed as c1890 (more likely c1882 4th* ed)

Nelson’s home comforts ... c 1883 5th ed

Good plain cookery… 1882

Cookery for Invalids ... 1892 6th ed

Cookery for Invalids... 1876 (not listed possible 1st ed)

Hints on Cookery and Management of the Table… 1891

Every Day Meals… 1888 7th ed

Every Day Meals ... 1884 6th ed

Every Day Meals ... 1883 4th ed

Every Day Meals… 1878 2nd ed

Little Dinners… 1883 17th ed

Little Dinners… 1874 3rd ed

Little Dinners… 1874 (not listed possible 1st ed)

Ways and Tricks of Animals, with Stories about Aunt Mary’s pets 1880

Our Dog Prin... 188(5-9)

Lily’s Letters from the farm…1885

Wives and housewives… 1875

Handbook for the Breakfast Table… 1873      

* the first of the "New Revised and Enlarged edition" possibly 4th Ed ref addition info on chart


Mary Hooper Collection Listing 2016

Handbook for the Breakfast Table… 1872 (Green) 1st ed  

Little Dinners… 1874 4th ed

Little Dinners… 1874 6th ed

Little Dinners… 1888 21st ed

Cookery for Invalids ... 1876 1st ed

Cookery for Invalids... 1883 3rd ed

Every Day Meals… 1877 1st ed

Every Day Meals ... 1878 2nd ed

Every Day Meals ... 1879 3rd ed

Every Day Meals… 1893 8th ed

Good plain cookery… 1882 (Illustrated Hardback)

Good plain cookery… 188(2 - 9) (Red Soft Cover)

Good plain cookery… Undated (Lever Bros)

The Weekly Telegraph Book... Undated (Good Plain Cookery)

Nelson’s home comforts ... All 19 Editions 1882 - 1903 *

Hints on Cookery and Management of the Table… 1891

Ways and Tricks of Animals, with Stories about Aunt Mary’s pets 1880

Ways and Tricks of Animals, with Stories about Aunt Mary’s pets 1882**

Ways and Tricks of Animals, with Stories about Aunt Mary’s pets 1882 USA

Ways and Tricks of Animals, with Stories about Aunt Mary’s pets 1883 USA

Ways and Tricks of Animals, with Stories about Aunt Mary’s pets 1890

Our Dog Prin... 1885 (Blue poss USA ed)

Our Dog Prin... 1885 (Green poss USA ed)

Our Dog Prin... 1885 (tan ed)

Lily’s Letters from the farm…1890 (Green Easel ed)

Lily’s Letters from the farm…1885 (Blue USA ed)

Lilly’s Letters from the farm…1880 (Full Cover Illustration USA ed)

* 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 23rd editions not attributed to Mary Hooper

** Dated 1880 but has adverts dated 1882 and embossed back cover dedication



Mary Hooper Books Chronology

















*For Better For Worse






Handbook for the breakfast table











Little Dinners
















Little Dinners












Wives and Housewives A Story For The Times




Little Dinners



Cookery for Invalids













*Little Dinners



Everyday Meals




Little Dinners




Everyday Meals












Little Dinners



Cookery for Invalids


Everyday Meals



















Ways and Tricks of Animals


Our Dog Prin


Lilly's Letters From The Farm




Little Dinners
















Nelson's Home Comforts





Good Plain Cookery

1st H&S



Ways and Tricks of Animals







Little Dinners


Nelson's Home Comforts


Cookery for Invalids


Everyday Meals






Ways and Tricks of Animals

reprint usa







Nelson's Home Comforts



Everyday Meals












Little Dinners


Nelson's Home Comforts









Our Dog Prin

Lily's Letters From The Farm


















*Little Dinners


Nelson's Home Comforts














Little Dinners


Nelson's Home Comforts


*Cookery for Invalids

4th nhc

Everyday Meals













Nelson's Home Comforts


*Cookery for Invalids

5th nhc




















Ways and Tricks of Animals

Our Dog Prin

Lily's Letters From The Farm




Little Dinners


Nelson's Home Comforts


*Cookery for Invalids

6th nhc

*Everyday Meals

8th nhc




Hints On Cookery









Nelson's Home Comforts


Cookery for Invalids














Nelson's Home Comforts



Everyday Meals












Little Dinners

23rd revised

Nelson's Home Comforts















Nelson's Home Comforts






*Weekly Telegraph Cookery Book









Nelson's Home Comforts















Nelson's Home Comforts















Nelson's Home Comforts















Nelson's Home Comforts















Nelson's Home Comforts





*Good Plain Cookery

Lever Bros























Little Dinners
















Nelson's Home Comforts
















Cookery for Invalids























































Little Dinners




























 ("nhc" listed does not correspond with actual edition date) * Date Not Confirmed (Chronology added Dec 2010)


Mary Hooper Books Video




  The Following Books Are Wanted

Ways and Tricks of Animals (Green Cover): Good Plain Cookery 1882 hard cover: Handbook for the Breakfast Table green and brown covers 1872:

Our Dog Prin & Lily's Letters from the Farm: Wives and Housewives a Story for the Times





Mary Hooper's letters to Mr Hale

By courtesy of Special Collections Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Special Thanks to Tara Wenger (Interim Head of Reader Services) July 2009









The Following is a transcript of a letter to Mr Hale found in a Mary Hooper book purchased in the USA by Roy Hooper


13th July

Dear Mr Hale,

I fully agree with you that the title is very ugly- surely it is not the one I gave the article! Please choose one of these- “The Domestic Education of Ladies” “Notes on Domestic Education” “Household Management” “Notes in Domestic Learning”.

I saw your name at the funeral of your old friend on Saturday. You did indeed run a serious risk in such weather. I do hope you have not taken any harm.

I have been so sorry not to be able to come and see Mrs Hale- it has been simply impossible to manage Thursday after the great fatigue of the lectures on Wednesday. Last Thursday I was in bed- very ill all day.

On Friday I go to----------- and, even if I had not preparations to make I dare not take a journey tomorrow.

I do hope dear Mrs Hale is keeping well and with my kind regards to you both herein

Yours Faithfully

Mary Hooper



Mary Hooper's

"Nelson's Home Comforts"

...an unscientific investigation to find the three missing editions.


In February 2008 I embarked on a quest to collect all twenty three editions of "Nelson's Home Comforts" a Victorian cookery book with recipes using the products of G. Nelson, Dale and Co,. written by Mary Hooper. The reasons for taking on the task, were centred around, a possibility of acquisition for a modest outlay, coupled with a desire to record a little of the history, thus leaving  something tangible, that might benefit fellow Warwickians and Leamingtonians.

I recall discovering an old print of the Gelatine Factory whilst researching for the Saltisford Canal Trust in the mid eighties. It was contained in a copy of a 1909 "Borough Guide to Warwick No.88. I was amazed to discover that the site at Emscote Mills seemed to have been much greater in expanse and buildings than the factory premises of the 1980's, and thought that perhaps many of the old workshops had been demolished at some stage. Dick Amende, who could be considered as "Mr Saltisford Arm" by all accounts, for all the work he was involved in, restoring part of the start of the Warwick to Birmingham Canal, was in the process of putting the final touches to an activity centre on the site. He was a little sceptical of the print, and in his view, Nelson's may have been guilty of exercising a "little exaggeration" for business or promotional purposes. Photographs taken around 1899 (Round About Warwick: A Barnard) may tend to suggest Dick was possibly correct in his assertion however this would be dependant on whether the original Mill buildings as depicted on the Board of Health Map of 1851 were still in situ when the later buildings to the west of Wharf Street (Today's buildings) were built, and whether the newer mills on the site of the wood yard were built to replace the older mill houses or as additions to them. It may have been that Nelson's just wished to emphasis their more modern mills and perhaps this may be why other mills on the site were not photographed. A suggestion of a much grader site is in a photograph of the Mills taken c1909. The illustration below suggests however that the old mills (left side of first chimney) were combined with the newer buildings centred between the middle two chimneys.




So Where is all this taking us, you might ask. I simply raise the possibility of Nelson's "propensity for occasional exaggeration" in order to reinforce my argument, thoughts and analysis, to determine the validity of (as suggested by the 23rd edition,) over one million copies were printed and distributed. Of course, I must state that much of the following will be subjective based on the lack of facts to hand, at the time of writing this account.

Nelson's Home Comforts, New Edition Revised and Enlarged. "Revised and enlarged"? This text is embossed into the front cover design, as are all noted edition changes. The title itself, further gives the impression that the book had been preceded by another. I think that is more than likely and believe Nelson's Home Comforts was a continuation of "Home Comforts, a book of useful facts for housekeepers". by Ward, Lock & Co. (prior to 1880) The recipes are heavily weighted towards the use of Nelson's Products, as well as two pages devoted to advertising their products to the exclusion of all other.



I collected the books over the course of a year, and discounting the 2nd, 3rd, & 4th editions, I have one more to acquire in order to complete a set. If those editions exist then obviously I required four for completion.

The reasons I discount the above said editions are as follows. The book I consider to be the First Edition so to speak, is the "New Revised and Enlarged Edition. The problem I have with that however is, during the course of acquiring the collection it was that particular book that seemed to be in abundance relative to any other edition. It is possible that the print run for the 1st edition was greater than any other but unlikely, especially when considering stated reprint quantities. This might suggest along with other evidence that a "Noted" reprint of the 2nd, 3rd, & 4th editions was not made. A short analytical report by John Attfield is dated January 11th 1882 within an advertisement on the inside front cover. There is no mention of "copies called for" in the preface, as in subsequent editions, which would also support my proposition, that this, is the first edition of the series. The books were printed initially by Charles Dickens and Evans, Crystal Palace until 1893. Evans continued printing the books up to 1898. The remaining editions 21st & 22nd were printed in Williams Street by  J.J. Keliher . The final edition was presumably printed after the death of Mary Hooper in 1904.




The first dated copy was the 6th edition in 1884. A piece of evidence that would support my theory of un-ascribed 2nd, 3rd & 4th editions, is the back cover design of the undated 5th edition. The decorative and elaborate design is not duplicated on any other edition. This may have been because of tooling or resetting costs. A redesigned cover may only have been viable proposition after a print run of fifty thousand copies had been distributed. The books popularity, and a predicted longevity in the cause of promoting the use of Nelson's Gelatine products and of course Nelson's grandeur may have necessitated the inclusion of an "edition number", as such, in this case the 5th being noted within the emboss of the front cover design. As previously stated this copy was not to be dated however.



Back Cover Designs

New Edition - Fifth Edition - Eleventh Edition - Twenty First Edition

In the preface of the 5th edition, it reads "we would remark that so greatly has it been appreciated that the large number of fifty thousand copies have been called for in a few months." This raises a few questions. Was it fifty thousand more than the previous edition? Fifty thousand printed in total since the 1st edition? Were the first five editions printed in a matter of months over the first year? Well that may be the case if, the first book was printed in 1883, and because, as we know already, the 6th edition is dated 1884. It was not unheard of, for numerous editions of a particular book being printed in the first year, or even over the course of a few months, such was the popularity of cookery books in the later part of the nineteenth century. Mary Hooper's "Little dinners" cookery book of 1874, was a case in fact.

In the preface of the 6th edition it records the only case of "One hundred Thousand" books being called for since the previous edition. The difference in the print preface statement, "we would remark that so greatly has it been appreciated that the large number of One hundred and Fifty Thousand copies have been called for in a few months." The back cover emboss moved away from the decorative 5th edition, reverting back to the original, less elaborate design. This may have been an indicator of the 5th edition being a celebratory edition of a kind.

The 7th edition of 1885 noted "two hundred thousand" copies had been called for. From this point on each further edition would elude to a further fifty thousand copies being printed. The 8th edition of 1887 preface note changes slightly from, "called for" to "have already called for," which confuses the issue a little further.

Whilst I was collecting these books, some of the later editions made reference to a jubilee edition. I of course thought this was in relation to Queen Victoria's Jubilee of 1887, so was hoping that when I managed to acquire a copy, it might well be a more decorative version of the little cookery book. However when I attained a copy of the 9th edition I realised, the references were to Nelson's own jubilee year celebration. Neither were any more decorative or celebratory in design, than previous issues. I was a little disappointed on this realisation.

Two editions, the tenth and eleventh were printed in 1889 though there doesn't seem to have been any editions printed in 1886, 1890, 1901 & 1902. The 22nd edition of 1903 being the last attributed to Mary Hooper. The 23rd edition has no mention of an author or print date, neither does it give reference to the printer. This would indicate the final edition would have been published some time after 1904, the year in which Miss Hooper died.

To summarise, the evidence as stated in the preface of each edition leads me to the conclusion that the print runs of editions 1 to 4, probably totalled just fifty thousand, utilising the same embossed cover, which did not differentiate between the four editions. One might then suppose that a 5th edition would have stated that two hundred thousand copies had been called for (as opposed to fifty thousand) based on subsequent totals as quoted in all later editions. Of course one might also consider that "spin" was used, and printed quantities, as advised in the books, as being "called for," did not materialise in actuality. Who knows? I for one don't but maybe someone else might wish to investigate further.


Anthony James Leahy February 2009


Update June 2010

Acquired a Nelson' Home Comforts book "Seventyfirst thousand" based on the earlier Home Comforts with the addition of Nelson's in the title. This Book is stamped "Burgis & Colbourne Leamington" and has Advertising at rear relating to Burgis & Colbournes. Now this is very interesting insofar as it is more localised than any other book relating to Nelson, Dale & Co that I am aware of. It refers to a previous "Seventieth Thousand" which might lead one to believe that print runs of this particular book were limited to One Thousand Copies. This copy states that it is a revised edition. Perhaps the revision was the inclusion of the sponsors (Nelson's) name. The value of this find explains to some degree why the Mary Hooper attributed 23 editions had "Enlarged" within its title. At the moment (June 2010) this copy appears to be a link between the Home Comforts of 1879 and 1880 and the Hooper's Nelson's Home Comforts beginning in 1882. In this recent acquisition there is a reference to 1880. Possibly this copy is 1881. More research will be required for this as, the book(s) would have to have been published between 1880 and 1882. (New Acquisition image detail on right added June 2010)




Home Comforts ...A book of useful facts for housekeepers - 1879 - 1879 60th Thousand-  1880 - 1881 71st Thousand



Nelson's Home Comforts...New edition revised and enlarged - circa1882 & 23rd edition after 1904

Taylor & Co of Swansea were important enough in 1882 to have their copies noted.


Article from Sir E Montague Nelson's Clippings (added June 2010)

This cutting confirms that Nelson's Home Comforts Revised and Enlarged by Mary Hooper was first published in 1882.



 An interesting advert from The London Medical Record July 15th 1881

features Miss Mary Hooper endorsing Nelson's products (added Aug 27th 2011)


How to Nurse a child; or The Management of children, and their diseases - Alexander Milne M.D. 1800

Reference to Home Comforts (added Apr 2012)



Update December 2010

Re seventy-first thousand print of Nelson's Home Comforts:-

The preface refers to "The First Edition" which is as printed in the preface of both Brown and Green copies of "Home Comforts a book of useful facts" save for the ref to first edition.

On the same page of the B&C seventy-first thousand edition there is a additional "preface to the Seventieth Thousand" which commences "In the preceding sixty thousand copies of this work etc".

That may tend to suggest that the first edition totalled 60 thousand copies (The Brown version "Home Comforts" perhaps) and the next 10 thousand copies (The Green version of "Home Comforts" perhaps) .

The interesting thing about this is; the Burgis and Colbourne edition of Nelson's Home Comforts had a print run of just One Thousand.

This print rum may have been the Third Edition of Nelson, Dale & Co's recipe book.

If that was indeed the case it would give a answer to my previous analysis relating to "Nelson's Home Comforts Revised and Enlarged by Mary Hooper (Missing Red Editions)  not having a second, third or fourth edition being attributed.

It is therefore possible that the Nelson's Home Comforts Revised and Enlarged Edition by Mary Hooper, was actuality the Fourth Edition of this book though not attributed as such. That would certainly account for the next discernable issue being the 5th Edition.


Brown First Edition? 60,000 Copies Green Second Edition? 10,000 Copies Green Nelson's Third Edition? 1,000 Copies Red Mary Hooper Fourth Edition? 100,000? Copies Final Twenty Third Edition 50,000+ Copies


More than One Million Copies Printed.

Anthony James Leahy December 2010



Sixtieth Thousand edition has an image of Nelson Products

Anthony James Leahy November 2011


Nelson's Home Comforts (The Collection)


Nelson's Home Comforts Preface Product Listing Changes

from Beginning to End

1882 – Blanc-mange, Nelson’s Gelatine, Lemonade, Nelson’s Soups and Nelson’s Beef Tea listed as products on preface.

1883 - Nelson's Bottled Jellies, Nelson's Port, Sherry, Orange and Cherry Jellies, Nelson's Citric Acid and Pure Essence of Lemon, Nelson's Pure Essence of Almonds and Vanilla, Nelson's Gelatine Lozenges, Nelson's Albumen and Nelson's Extract of Meat added to product preface.

1884 - Nelson's Calf's Foot, Lemon, Port, Sherry, Orange and Cherry Jellies (noted as Calf’s Foot), Nelson's Milk Lozenges, New Zealand Mutton and Nelson's Tinned Meats added to product preface.

1885 - Nelson's Chocolate Lozenges and Nelson's Licorice Lozenges added to product preface.

1889 - Nelson's Jelly-Jubes added to product preface. Nelson's Milk Lozenges and Nelson's Chocolate Lozenges no longer listed on product preface.

1892 - Nelson's Port, Sherry and Orange Wine Tablet Jellies added to product preface.

1893 - Nelson's Granulated Jellies added to product preface.

1896 - Cookery for Invalids added to product preface.

1900 - Nelson's Bottled Concentrated Jellies, Nelson's Bottled Concentrated Calf's Foot, Lemon, Port, Sherry, Orange and Cherry Jellies, Nelson's Creams, "Hipi", Hints on Cookery for Invalids added to product preface. Nelson's Port, Sherry and Orange Wine Tablet Jellies. Nelson's Lemon Sponge, Nelson's Jelly-Jubes, Nelson's Extract of Meat, Nelson's Beef Tea, Nelson's Tinned Meats and New Zealand Mutton no longer listed on product preface.

1903 - "Hipi" Lozenges and Nelson's Powdered Gelatine added to product preface.

1904 - No products listed on preface.



A Brief History of The Nelsons Of Warwick


Compiled for the benefit of Warwickians and Others by Anthony James Leahy


Rediscovering the Gelatine Factory



The Gelatine Factory

A comprehensive account 1899

from Round About Warwick


George Nelson



Nelson's Emscote Mills 2009



T B Dale


Charles Nelson's

Cement Works at Stockton


The Nelson Brothers


William Nelson


George H Nelson


Sir E Montague Nelson

E M (Sam) Nelson


A Visit to

Messrs. G. Nelson, Dale & Co. 1880



Nelson Works

Tomoana New Zealand


Guy Montague Nelson

Nelson Village

Charles St, Warwick


The Lawn at Emscote


Nelson's Lozenges

 packaging & adds

Nelson's Club

Isinglass Wars

Swinborne v Nelson


Nelson's 1950's

Warwick Advertiser account 1953



Descendants of George Nelson


George Wyatt A city trade jubilee



Nelson's Heritage Walk


Gelatine and its uses


Davis Gelatine


Sir E Montague Nelson's Scrapbook Circa 1882

Nelson Gym

Nelson Patents


The Nelsons of Warwick Timeline





Walter Nelson




Home Comforts


Mary Hooper



Mary Hooper Letters

 Mary Hooper Book Collection


Nelson's Home Comforts

Mary Hooper


Wives and Housewives

Mary Hooper


Little Dinners

Mary Hooper


Cookery for Invalids

Mary Hooper


Every Day Meals

Mary Hooper


Hints on Cookery

Mary Hooper

Good Plain Cookery

Mary Hooper


Handbook for the

Breakfast Table

Mary Hooper


Weekly Telegraph

Cookery Book

Mary Hooper

Our Dog Prin

Mary Hooper

Ways & Tricks of Animals

Mary Hooper


Lily's Letters from the Farm

Mary Hooper

Charles Wentworth Wass

Round About Warwick

Mary Hooper Books Wanted

Fleur De Lys

The Pie Factory at Emscote

Nelson Story

In Brief


Nelsons Story


Nelson's Home Comforts

From Beginning To End


Cookery & Home Comforts

Mrs Wigley

Rock's Royal Cabinet

Leamington & Warwick 1880



Anthony Leahy



Anthony Leahy


Art & Photography

Anthony Leahy


A Major Arcana

Kathleen Forrest


The Drumroom

Anthony Leahy










Compiled for the benefit of Warwickians and Others by Anthony James Leahy




 A Walk in Warwick





Book Wanted Handbook For The Breakfast Table

Book Wanted Wives and Housewives A Story For The Times


3 The Butts


Sky Blue Heaven