Writer, history researcher, biographer

March 2019

Happy 250th anniversary Elizabeth!

On April 4th 2019 it will be 250 years since Elizabeth first advertised her cookbook which contained her innovative recipe for Bride cake, a speciality she had made popular since arriving in Manchester in 1763. Yes, ladies, we have a huge debt to Elizabeth for saving us from the custom of having a pie broken over the bride's head while dressed in our fabulous gowns! Elizabeth popularised the notion of a rich fruit cake, decorated with two types of icing, almond and royal icing. I find it hard to believe Elizabeth is not more celebrates for this innovation alone. It was a small step but a significant one for progress.

In order to commemorate this important anniversary I am excited to report that several key supporters of Elizabeth Raffald have come together to create a fantastic celebration. First came the cake designer, Suzanne Thorp, of the Frostery, Oldham. She is a regular participant in a Channel 4 TV program, Extreme Cake Makers, and she felt it was an opportunity to create a cake to honour Elizabeth and her achievements. (Elizabeth didn't just do cookery, she doesn't d so much more. See here for the full story.) Suzanne contacted me, as founder of the Elizabeth Raffald society and researcher, and asked if we could do something special. I then contacted Sarah Flannery, organiser of a program of events and workshops in 2018 culminating in a play about two famous Cheshire women from different centuries. The play was performed on a train between Chester and Manchester, and I took part as Elizabeth Raffald, handing out another of her recipes, Eccles cakes, to bemused Manchester commuters. I had great fun but would never have expected to have difficulty giving away free cakes to doubtful Mancunians! For 2019 Sarah has another ambitious program of events  and workshops featuring solely Elizabeth Raffald, starting with our event to unveil Suzanne's cake design. To put the icing on the cake, so to speak, the event will be hosted at Arley Hall, where Elizabeth learnt her skills. Steve Hamilton, estate manager, was enthusiastic about our project and promised whatever help he could give us. The upshot of all this collaboration should be a brilliant event on April 18th where I can reprise my role as Elizabeth, in full 18th century dress,(an actual reconstruction of the dress she wears in her picture), and receive the cake from Suzanne. It will be a complete surprise to me, the design is all Suzanne's creation, and Channel 4 will be there to film the event with a group of invited dignitaries and interested parties. I can't wait! It is so exciting for me to reach more people with Elizabeth's fame and hopefully impressing them with details of this fabulous 18th century domestic goddess. (Although I suspect the lady herself would have had no truck with the fancy title! She was very much a woman who rolled up her sleeves and got to work.)

More details, and pictures, after the 18th April.

2019 UPDATE

This is turning into an annual event! I am still slogging away at the book of fiction on Elizabeth Raffald, it's taking a lot longer than I anticipated. Reading all the articles in the newspaper of the time is too fascinating.  I'm up to late 1775 so slowly, slowly the first draft is taking shape. The newspapers of the time are full of the American rebellion  from the British perspective and it is interesting to see the differing perspective. I'm just up to the part where George Washington has accepted the position of Generalissimo of the Provincials. He sounds a very measured and calm person.

He promises 'every Exertion will be extended to the re-establishment of Peace and Harmony between the Mother country and the Colonies', and that ‘when we assumed the Soldier we did not lay aside the Citizen’,  adding his determination to achieve ‘American Liberty on the most firm and solid foundations, and enable them to return to their private stations in the Bosom of a free, peaceful and happy country’.

Fascinating.


Showing Tag: "manchester" (Show all posts)

What a busy July!

Posted by Suze Appleton on Tuesday, October 13, 2015, In : Elizabeth Raffald 

Well, it's been quite a while since I updated this blog, it's not that there's been nothing happening, quite the opposite.

After my talk for the Heatons Arts Trail I was asked to provide details of Elizabeth for a display in the Heritage Library and in July I went with my good friend Olga who was loaning them some of her books for their display, to meet with Sophie who was arranging it. In August I got a call from Olga to say the display was up so there with Connie we arranged to go and view...


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#ElizabethRaffald for the Womanchester statue

Posted by Suze Appleton on Friday, June 5, 2015, In : Elizabeth Raffald 

Well things are getting exciting in the hunt for the forgotten Elizabeth.

First, thanks to my mum telling me about a campaign being run in the Manchester Evening News, I managed to get her accepted as a nominee for Manchester's first female statue since Queen Victoria. I put her name forward among the likes of Elizabeth Gaskell, the Pankhursts, Marie Stopes and many other tremendous women who have created progress in Manchester. Once the long list of 20 names was compiled there was a launch ...


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Spreading Elizabeth's fame

Posted by Suze Appleton on Sunday, March 8, 2015, In : Elizabeth Raffald 
Well, I'm pleased to say that I've told a few more people about Elizabeth and this time it was to a group who had come to hear a talk about women of Manchester. I had gone because it had promised to include Elizabeth in the list but when I heard some incorrect information being given it was torture not to interrupt the speaker. I decided it was such a small part of her talk that I would tell her after the talk.However, fate intervened and when the speaker's powerpoint refused to continue I as...
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Progress!

Posted by Suze Appleton on Friday, February 13, 2015, In : book announcements 
Yay! I finally produced a first instalment to the Elizabeth Raffald story. A booklet of the talk that I give is now available on Amazon! It is still only the barest outline of this incredible character but it is a start. There is so much research needed to do her story justice that I think it will take me some time. In the meantime I'm still working on my other stories, the Caribbean farce, a sci fi adventure and I haven't forgotten my mystery story, it's just got pushed to the bottom of the ...
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A New Direction

Posted by Suze Appleton on Saturday, August 2, 2014, In : progress reports 
Unusual as it is to be torn away from writing about the Caribbean, I have been totally gripped by the story of a woman who lived in Manchester over 200 years ago. A series of synchronicities has led me along a trail to find out more about a woman who was a powerhouse of ingenuity and hard work. She was an entrepreneur with style at a time when women had no legal rights, so despite being in business all her married life, when she died they had so much debt that her name isn't even engraved on ...
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New book coming soon!

Posted by Suze Appleton on Sunday, March 23, 2014, In : progress reports 

OMG! I can’t believe how long it’s been since I updated my website! I’ve been so busy working on my next couple of novels that I’ve just gone to ground. One book is due out imminently, in fact, I should be working on that rather than this but ‘that’ means editing, and ‘this’ is a chat with a friend so it’s no contest really, is it?

So, have you missed me? It seems like ages since I put anything out but I suppose that’s ‘cos I’ve been working on two novels at once. And...


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