Charity appeals for help to find mystery author of historic notebook

St Ann's Hospice notebook
The notebook which dates back to 1865

Staff from the St Ann’s Hospice shop in Stockport were surprised to find an unusual handwritten notebook amongst goods donated to the charity.

The book, which is dated 1865, is entitled ‘W Tatton’s Receipt Book’, but in addition to details of monetary transactions also includes a range of recipes, hints and tips from the era.

Nicola Rust, manager of the shop at Great Underbank in Stockport town centre, began her career selling second-hand books and has worked in the book industry for more than 25 years.

She’s appealing for anyone who might be able to shed light on the history of the book to come forward with details.

She said:  “This notebook is a delightful insight into what life was like at the time of writing, and we already feel like we know a lot about W Tatton thanks to the pieces he or she has penned.

“We’re desperate to find out who they might be, and to fill in any gaps before this book goes on sale, so would love anyone who might be able to help us track down information on the author to get in touch.”

Notes in the book include:

  • Tips on how to make cheap tooth powder
  • Information on how to weld cart steel
  • Details of how to make gin as it is prepared in Holland
  • Facts on the care of moustaches and whiskers
  • A recipe for raisin wine
  • Information on how to create fly poison
  • Instructions on how to make freckle lotion

In addition to a range of new and pre-loved goods, the St Ann’s Stockport shop has a whole floor dedicated to the sale of books, including many rare and unusual editions.

It recently auctioned some rare science publications, including one written and signed by the Nobel Prize willing physicist Pieter Zeeman.

Nicola added:  “It’s such a pleasure to be able to read this notebook and to get a glimpse of what life was like in the 1860s.  We’re really hoping local people can help us to solve the mystery of its provenance.”

If you have any information on W Tatton and his book, please email stockport@sah.org.uk or call 0161 222 0576.

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