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Dorothy Whipple


Dorothy Whipple photographed by Elliott & Fry © NPG

Born in 1893, Dorothy Whipple (née Stirrup) had an intensely happy childhood in Blackburn as part of the large family of a local architect. Her close friend George Owen was killed in the first week of the war and for three years she worked as secretary to Henry Whipple, an educational administrator who was a widower twenty-four years her senior and whom she married in 1917. Their life was mostly spent in Nottingham; here she wrote Young Anne (1927), the first of nine extremely successful novels which included High Wages (1930), Greenbanks (1932) and The Priory (1939). Almost all her books were Book Society Choices or Recommendations and two of them, They Knew Mr Knight (1934) and They Were Sisters (1943), were made into film, both in 1945. She also wrote short stories, ten of which have been published as The Closed Door and Other Stories, and two volumes of memoirs. Because of the Lockwoods (1949) was her penultimate novel and Someone at a Distance (1953) her final one. Returning in her last years to Blackburn, Dorothy Whipple died there in 1966.

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