Staying with a friend who has just moved house, I was noseying through a pile of her unpacked but not shelved books and came across a 1926 publication of a 1920 book, Good Cookery. An absolute treasure, just the sort of thing I like, and while everyone was doing other things I enjoyed a while reading it and looking at the different recipes.

When I came home I looked it up and tried to find out more about the authors, W. R. G. Francillon, and the mysterious G.T.C.D.S… after a little research and lateral thinking and some lateral Googling, I discovered that G.T.C.D.S. wasn’t a person but the Gloucester Training College of Domestic Science. The college published other books, including K.A. Voller, Practical Processes for Garment Making and Simple Upholstery, by K.A.Voller, and the Needlework Sampler Book by V. E. Newton.

The Gloucester School of Cookery and Domestic Economy was opened in first 1891 and its purpose as you might imagine was to  train domestic science teachers . Nine years later it was renamed the Gloucestershire Training School of Domestic Science; over the years it became one the largest and prestigious domestic science schools outside London. It was renamed again and became the Gloucestershire Training College of Domestic Science and, in its last incarnation, from 1967, it was the Gloucestershire College of Education; it eventually closed for good in 1980.

So who was W. R. G. Francillon? She was Winifred Francillon, and she was born Winifred Griffiths R. Gordon in 1884 – she married Francis Francillon in Axminster in Devon in 1916 I have a feeling he was Francis James, born in 1879. Intriguingly, Francis seems to have two brothers, also called Francis… An interesting family, but for the moment I’m looking for Winifred… She is a little elusive but I think that although she was born in England, she may have spent time as a child in India, because her sisters were born in Bombay, and at one point she was lodging with  relatives – so maybe her parents were over there. I can’t find any trace of children born to Francis and Winifred, so maybe there were none; she died in 1970, aged eighty-six.

I would like to know more about her, but at the moment I have come to the end of the trail!

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