Recipe Book of John Southam of Ashton under Lyne

  • Reference
      GB 133 Eng MS 1575
  • Dates of Creation
      1832-c.1850
  • Language of Material
      English
  • Physical Description
      182 x 117 mm. 1 volume. 67 folios, paginated 1-129 (originally paginated 1-131, but pp. 118-9 are missing and subsequent pages have been renumbered). Medium: paper. Binding: half-bound in polished leather; marbled paper-covered boards. Condition: binding rubbed and soiled.
  • Location
      Collection available at The John Rylands Library, Deansgate

Scope and Content

Manuscript recipe book of John Southam of Ashton under Lyne, Lancashire, containing household, medicinal and culinary recipes. It is evident that John Southam and his wife Mary shared recipes within their familial and social networks, for many are attributed to relations and acquaintances. Three of the recipes are attributed to 'Mrs Gaskell', presumed to be the novelist Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (1810-1865). They are for 'ox tail soup' (p. 83); 'grand peas soup' (p. 86); and 'mixed sauce for salid' (p. 93).

The contents of the volume are as follows:

Pages 3-20: blacking; whitewashing; black ink; for taking stains out of anything; French polish; fire- and water-proof cement; a good cure for a cough (Mrs Spencer); to fasten glass handles in sockets; [table of] quantities of bread from different flours; to make vinegar (John Williams); Piedmontese bread; Roland’s ‘mana oil’; rubbing bottle for rheumatism; for cleaning silk; for cleaning stones and boards; for cleaning statuary; to make bread (Mrs Southam); nettle beer; raspberry jam (Mrs Southam); apple charlotte (Nantwich).

Pages 21-39: arrico [stew] mutton (Mrs Sutton’s); shoulder of mutton; receipt for potting trout, herrings or beef (Mrs Froggart); elderflower wine (Mrs John Williams); Mrs John Dorrington’s rheumatism bottle; receipt for curacao; hot chocolate pudding; vanilla sauce; charlotte russe; orange pudding; raw beef tea; hard sauce for puddings; milk punch; to preserve vegetable marrow; to pot oysters; preserved pears (Lady Wiseman’s recipe); scalded flour pudding (Carrie Gunton); Dr Field’s cure for diphtheria; canary pudding.

Pages 43-59: orange marmalade; transparent marmalade; ginger wine (Mrs George Mellor); currant wine; elderberry wine; ginger beer; balm wine; rhubarb wine; damson wine; pop (Mrs Thomas Travis); concentrated herb beer; plantine drink [plantain-water] (Mrs Langworth); excellent for sore throat (from Mrs Wood); rice biscuits (Mrs Allen); lunch cake; soda pudding; Victorian sandwiches [cake] (Mrs Allen’s recipe); vermicelli pudding; jam sandwich [cake]; Neapolitan cake; for keeping eggs in winter; a certain cure for erysipelas; for burns and scalds.

Pages 60-79: tripe splendid; certain cure for bronchitis, from Mrs Ryder, Market Street, Manchester, prescription from George Southam; tomatoes and rice; blackcurrant acid; lemon acid without lemon; Devonshire cream (Mrs Lean, a Devonshire woman); Patterdale pudding (Mrs Hardy); imitation apricot preserve (Mrs Wainwright); Mrs Martin’s pudding; lemon solid; amber pudding; velvet cream; cup pudding or sponge cake (Mrs Jepson); plum pudding (Mrs Reynolds); Robin Hood pudding (Mrs Grasby); Bakewell pudding (Mrs Spencer); cup pudding; arrowroot pudding; puff paste; good German puffs; apple can; kettle row pudding; cabinet pudding; Prince Albert’s pudding; punch sauce; Lady G. Pudding; milk punch (Mrs Hilton).

Pages 80-99: ice pudding; to make pickillelly [piccalilli]; chutney (Mrs Medcalf); rissoles (Mrs Hardy); oxtail soup (Mrs Gaskell); potted char or trout (Mrs Froggart); to make mock turtle soup; grand peas soup (Mrs Gaskell); to pickle lemons (Mrs Franks, Chester); to make rose leaves scent (Eliz. Swire); Spanish butter; soufflé; Irish butter; horseradish sauce; macaroni rice; treacle toffee (Mrs Mellor); Everton toffee (Mrs Hodson); good peppermint; mixed sauce for salad (Mrs Gaskell); cowslip vinegar; pickle for beef and tongue Mrs Spence); primrose vinegar; thin gingerbread; sponge cake; little shortcake; a good common cake; plum cake; seed cake; gingerbread; Bath buns.

Pages 100-19: currant loaf; soda cakes (Mrs Higinbottom); simnels (Miss Salt); simnels (J. Southam); jumballs [jumbals/jumbles] (Mrs Spencer); tea cakes; seed cake; gingerbread; rice cakes; Ormskirk gingerbread; cheesecakes; queen cakes; common biscuits; Scotch shortbread; lemon cheesecakes (Mrs Yeoman’s); tea cakes; to make parkin (Mrs Swire); very good cake made in 5m [minutes]; rhubarb to preserve; omellets [omelettes]; rich shortbread; to preserve cherries; furniture paste; lemon solid; ice sauce; seed cake; roses wafer gingerbread; lemon cheesecakes; hunter's beef (Mrs Steel); mince meat very good (Mrs Swire);

Pages 120-9: paste [pastry] for raised pies (Mrs Swire, very good); rice cake (Mrs Bridge); apple snow; snow eggs; fish pudding; cheese pudding; savoy pudding; Jenny Lind soup (very good); veal rolls; thin gingerbread; ointment for a gathered breast or any gathering [swelling]; Aunt Nellie’s pudding; Sally Lund [Sally Lunn] pudding; to make washing liquor; Mrs Langworthy’s furniture polish; hair wash; paste for pictures; treatment for cholera in Liverpool in 1849 (never failed); plum cake.

Pasted inside the front cover is a printed advertisement for 'superior biscuits' from William Slater of Carlisle. Loosely inserted inside the front cover is a folded sheet of paper containing a recipe for green plums, dated 4 October 1849, from Mr Leigh Hawley.

Inscribed on p. 1 is a poem entitled 'To My Book', by John Southam, 1 July 1832:

'Shouldst thou be borrowed by a Friend
Right welcome shall he be
To read, to copy, not to lend
But to return to me.

Not that imparted knowledge doth
Diminish learning's store
But books I find if often lent
Return to me no more.

Advice Gratis
Read slowly, pause frequently
Keep cleanly, return duly
The covers of the leaves not
turned down.'

On p. 2 are pasted several printed recipes, extracted from newspapers or magazines.

Administrative / Biographical History

Little is known about John Southam of Ashton under Lyne, Lancashire, although the contents of the recipe book and external sources suggest that he was a member of the town's middle class, as a grocer and later a coal merchant. According to the Lancashire Online Parish Clerk website, John Southam married Mary Swire at St Michael and All Angels parish church, Ashton under Lyne, on 14 May 1828. The recipe book contains several recipes attributed to 'Mrs Swire' and 'Eliz. Swire'. Five children of the couple were baptised at the same church: Hannah Higginbottom on 20 March 1829; Samuel Swire, 30 November 1833 (born 24 October 1832); Elizabeth, 10 December 1835; Thomas William, 19 June 1839; and Mary Louisa, 21 April 1841.

According to the London Gazette (20 December 1831), the business partnership of John Southam and William Southam of Ashton under Lyne, grocers and corn merchants, was dissolved by mutual consent on 12 December 1831. The baptismal registers above record John's occupation as a grocer in 1829 and 1832, but as a coal merchant from 1835 onwards.

Access Information

Available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

The manuscript was purchased from Collinge & Clark of London, booksellers, in December 2019.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the manuscript can be supplied for private research and study purposes only, depending on the condition of the manuscript.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the manuscript. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, The John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Custodial History

The manuscript was previously sold at Forum Auctions online on 14 November 2019, lot 184.

Related Material

The Library holds a major Elizabeth Gaskell Manuscript Collection, English MSS 726-734, 876-877.