I have had the good fortune to have read most of Mrs.Leyel's books on herbs and herbalism and I am wondering is there a biography of her?The information on the Herb Society website relating to Mrs.Leyel is most interesting and I just thought there may be something more substantial?
I don't think there is. There is an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, but you have to subscribe to get it on line and to subscribe you have to be a library. All being well, I will try the local library on Monday.
Last year Joan Dugdale, a herbalist, from Australia came over to research writing a book on Maud Grieves. She had limited success as Maud Grieve seemed a very private person and there wasn't much archive material.
I'd love to learn more about both ladies.
I bought "The Gentle Art of Cookery" by Hilda Leyel and Olga Hartley last year. Just leafing through it now, it is another world.
April 29 2007, 7:46 AM
Thank you so much.I recently obtained a copy of her early work "The Truth About Herbs",written during the Second World War.Herbalists and the rights of the general public to receive treatment and buy OTC herbal medicines,were under pressure then just as they are now.
Re: Mrs.Hilda Leyel
April 30 2007, 1:28 PM
This is what I found:
Leyel [nee Wauton], Hilda Winifred Ivy [known as Mrs C F Leyel] (1880-1957), herbalist, was born in London on 6 December 1880, the daughter of Edward Brenton Wauton, from 1881 an assistant master at Uppingham School, and his wife, Elizabeth Anne Drewitt. She was educated, informally, at Uppingham School, where she developed a precocious interest in flowers and herbs; and she also received some part of her education at Halliwick Manor. On leaving school she studied medicine. She then worked for a while with Frank Benson, the actor-manager. In 1900 she married Carl Frederick Leyel (d.1925), a theatrical manager of Swedish descent, with whom she had two sons. The marriage was later dissolved. As a young society hostess in her flat in Lincoln’s Inn, Mrs Leyel proved herself a connoisseur of food and wine, and made a number of influential friends, who rallied round her when in 1922 she was prosecuted for running the Golden Ballot which raised a large sum for the benefit of ex-servicemen and various hospitals. Her acquittal helped to establish the legality of such ballots. She was elected a life governor of St Mary’s, the West London, and the Royal National Orthopaedic hospitals.
Soon, however, Leyel began to concentrate on the nearly forgotten craft of herbalism. Although she laced a scientific training in botany, she acquired a profound and detailed knowledge of the work of the herbalist Nicholas Culpeper and his predecessors, and re-presented this vast knowledge of herbs, culinary cosmetic, and healing. In 1926 she wrote The Magic of Herbs and in 1927 she opened Culpeper House in Baker Street, a shop selling herbal medicines, foods, and cosmetics, designed especially to appeal to women. Her imaginative and practical talents ensured the success of this and similar shops, which were decorated by Basil Ionides. Encouraged to apply her knowledge of herbs and their healing properties to the needs of patients dissatisfied with the drugs of orthodox medicine, she founded the Society of Herbalists, a non-profit-making organization for the study and application of the herbal art, and made available her own library, the nucleus of which was housed with the society. In 1941 the society’s life was imperilled by the Pharmacy and Medicines Bill which, as drafted, would have destroyed the work of the herbalist in England. Again powerful friends rallied to her support and the bill was sufficiently modified to enable patients to obtain treatment on joining the society. She also co-operated with Sir Albert Howard in his campaign for compost versus artificial manure; and those working for pure water and food of every kind.
In 1931 Leyel edited Mrs M Grieve’s A Modern Herbal in two volumes. She herself wrote a long series of works on herbs, including Herbal Delights (1937), Compassionate Herbs (1946), Elixirs of Life (1948), Hearts-Ease (1949), Green Medicine (1952), and Cinquefoil (1957), as well as others on cooking.She was honoured with the palme academique of France in 1924. She died in the Harley Street Nursing Home, 35 Weymouth Street Nursing Home, 35, Weymouth Street, on 15 April 1957.
Christmas Humphreys, rev. Michael Bevan
Wealth at death
£52,865 9s. 2d: probate 10 July 1957
It is very interesting, but there are so many questions I would like to ask.
There must be much more in the archive of The Herb Society. Perhaps I will get a chance to look later in the year.
May 2 2007, 4:06 AM
Thank you so much.I am sure in due course you will discover more in the Archives,inclufing why did the Society of Herbalists[as it was at that time],sell I substantial part of Mrs.Leyel's collection of old Herbals.
At one stage I had a copy of an old Culpeper House catalogue dating back to the 1930's which had a photograph of Mrs.Leyel's consulting room over the shop at 7 Baker Street,London with the walls lined with old leather bound Herbals.
Mrs Leyels Herbals
May 10 2007, 10:34 AM
I haven't got any confirmed story, but perhaps someone can enlighten us. The herbals were sold in the 1980s to cover legal fees and they were sold by The Herb Society. This is what I have heard from one source.
We obviously need to know the full story.
May 18 2007, 10:39 AM
Joan Dugdale has been in contact with me. She lives in Australia and is trying to get information to write a biography of Maud Grieve.
She finds that Maud came to hate Hilda Leyel. Joan says that she has seen the contract for the book from Cape and it appeared fair. However, she lost income from the sale of the pamphlets as the information was now in the book.
The late Kay Sanecki left her papers to The Herb Society. Joan copied some of her letters when they were at Ashridge a couple of years ago. She would like to see them again. Where are they now?
May 19 2007, 4:41 AM
Time magazine has an archive of past articles that seems to go back to the mists of time!
I have just accessed an article entitles "Simples" dated 21st December 1931 which is a book review on the publication of the U.S edition of "A Modrn Herbal".Inter alia it states,
"Mrs.Leyel has a rural home near Bognor,Sussex,where King George convalesced from his chest ailments.At Bognor,it is said,certain of the Grieve-Leyel made their way into the royal dishes if not into the royal medicines."
The article can be found at www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,742728,00.html
The collection of Herbals appears to have been sold through Southeby's,London in 1967 and their is a catalogue.This I found in a booksellers website.
Re: Mrs.Hilda Leyel
May 19 2007, 1:40 PM
If the Herbals were the property of the Herb Society, any decision to sell them must have been made by the Managing Committee of the Society of that time, or the Chairman taking Chairman's action. Research into the miniutes of 1967 or thereabouts should reveal who made the decision and why and what was done about it. It would be interesting to know who was on the Committee at that time and whether any of them are still around or left comments about it.
Re: Mrs.Hilda Leyel
May 20 2007, 10:02 AM
Thank you Kevin for pointing out the article on Simples. A little bit of information from Joan Dugdale suggests that shortly after Hilda's death, her son died and the daughter-in-law fought to get anything of Hilda's back from The Herb Society.
Sarah, I was hoping by posting on the Forum that someone would know something. I beleive the accomodation at Sulgrave for The Herb Society is very minimal. Nicky's office was in a windowless loft room over the buttery restaurant and the "library" is just stored in the eaves.
Perhaps I ought to write a letter to "Herbs" and see if any information comes from there.
Re: Mrs.Hilda Leyel
May 20 2007, 2:27 PM
If Library space is limited, then it would seem sensible to talk to one of the leading libraries or Museums to see what could be done to house any historical documents properly so that there is easy access for those who wish to view them.
I know that when I had to close my office down, I archived all those documents, including all the minutes and committee papers since 1974, with the archivist at Birmingham Central Library so that there was easy access for the public who might wish to find out what we'd done.
I would have thought that Kew Gardens or the British Library would be able to give advice or offer the Herb Society Library a home.
Some info on Mrs Hilda Leyel
January 4 2008, 11:38 AM
Below is some info for you on my Grandmother, Mrs Hilda W.I Leyel
Family Record for Carl Frederik Leijel
Husband Carl Frederik Leijel
Born 30 Dec 1875 Fellside Villa, Lamesley, Durham, England
Died 1925 London, England
Father Carl Frederik Leijel (1836-1876) Mother Emma Swan (1837- )
Marriage 1900 England
Wife Hilda Winifred Ivy Wauton
Born 6 Dec 1880 44 Devonshire St., Marylebone, England
Died 15 Apr 1957 London, England
Father Edward Brenton Wanton (1849-1908) Mother Elizabeth Anne Drewitt (1850- )
1 M Christopher Wauton Leyel
Born 10 Jun 1906 London England
Died 1971 Miami Beach, Florida, USA
Buried at sea, Florida, USA
Spouse Florence May Vyvian Deane (1907-1994) 16 Oct 1934 - Holborn Registry, London
2 M Carl Frederik Salvin Leyel
Born 6 Feb 1901 England
Died 1933 Jerome, Arizona, USA
Spouse Martha F Jacobs (1902-19909)
General Notes (Carl F. Leijel)
Birth registration Chester le Street, co.Durham Mar 1876 vol 10 page 603
Carl Frederik Leyel was the secretary to Sir Frank Benson's Theatrical Company when he married Hilda
Wauton, one of Frank's actresses.
He was the Manager of His Majesty's Theatre, The Haymarket, Westminster, London from 1921 to 1925.
In 1925 he was thrown from his horse while riding in "Rotten Row" and died as a result.
General Notes (Hilda Leyel)
Daughter of Edward Wauton, a housemaster at Uppingham School, she learnt the rudiments of botany from
Uppingham's famous headmaster Edward Thring. She was educated at Halliwick Manor.
After a brief attempt to study medicine, Hilda joined Sir Frank Beson's Theatrical company.
In 1900 she married Carl Frederik Leyel, a Swedish theatrical manager, who died of an accident in 1925.
As a young Society hostess in her Charles II flat (21 Old Buildings, Lincolns Inn) she proved herself a
connoisseur of food and wine, and made a number of influential friends.
In 1924 she organised and ran the "Golden Ballot", which raised £350,000 for the benefit of ex-servicemen
and hospitals. Because of this work, she was elected a Life Governor of St.Mary's Hospital, the West
London and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital.
She wrote The Magic of Herbs (1926); Herbal Delights; Elixirs of Life; the Gentle Art of Cookery.
She acquired a profound and detailed knowledge of the work of Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654). Nicholas
Culpeper wrote his famous book "Culpeper's Complete Herbal" in 1652.
Her library was famous in England and was described by Wilfred Blunt in a foreward written for a 1950s
catalogue as "one of the finest privately owned collections of this country". Part of the collection was
exhibited at Londonderry House, Park Lane in the late 1950s.
In 1927 she opened Culpeper House at 10 Baker Street, London, selling herbal medicines, foods and
cosmetics. The success of several Culpeper Shops in London led to her founding the Society of Herbalists
as a non-profit making Society for the application of the herbal art.
Ethel & Carl F Leijel ca. 1890
Re: Some info on Mrs Hilda Leyel
January 5 2008, 4:17 PM
Thank you Peter for those interesting facts about your Grandmother, it was wonderful to hear from you and I hope you'll pop by often
Herb Society Webmistress
Re: Some info on Mrs Hilda Leyel
January 5 2008, 4:43 PM
I was so distracted by Peter's post that I forgot to add.... I was reading Kay Sanecki's "History of the EnglishHerbGarden" yesterday and it has some information of interest re Hilda Leyel's books.
The first wave of books were sold 5 years after Mrs Leyel's death in 1962, the Society of Herbalists received £2,000 which was a small percentage of the sale proceedings. The second wave was sold at Sotheby's in 1967 as Kevin pointed out. The £65,000 raised was used to try and save the retail establishments (Culpeper's) but the amount raised did little to rectify the shops financial situation. So the name and goodwill of Culpeper shops was separated from the Society of Herbalists and both went their separate ways.
In 1977 the SoH changed their name to The Herb Society and became a registered educational charity. So Mrs Leyel's herbals disappeared well before the Herb Society began, and definitely not in the recent past. I thought from what was being said that the current council had something to do with the demise of the books, but that wasn't the case. I'm going to investigate what the Heb Society does still have in reference to Mrs Leyel's though and will report back when I know
January 11 2008, 8:48 AM
Thanks, Debs, for this info.
I am wondering whether you received my e-mail to you sent on the 5th january, and I also e-mailed Sarah Head on the 9th. Possibly these were eliminated by a spam filter?
Would you like a photocopy of the magazine referred to in the Leyel books thread of this forum?
January 11 2008, 8:59 AM
Yes I got your email, I've had one of those annoying birthday things and got behind with work and replying to emails but I will be emailing you soon. I have questions, and YES I would love a photocopy of the books article and any others you have. I'll email you properly by the end of the day.
Kay Sanecki Bequest to Herb Society
January 11 2008, 10:21 AM
Kay Sanecki died in March 2005. There was a memorial service at Ashridge College. Nicky thought The Herb Society should be represented, but no one from the Council wanted to go. So David, who was on the Council at that time and his wife, went. They had never heard of her and didn’t know anyone there. However, he spoke to somebody from Ashridge College and they said they had a collection of books and documents that Kay Sanecki had bequeathed to The Herb Society. Nobody from the Herb Society was interested, but believe me, they have nowhere to keep them and they would deteriorate quickly.
[Edited twice to change spelling of Kay's Sanecki's surname spelt incorrectly in subject, and the spelt incorrectly again by me.]
This message has been edited by DebsCook from IP address 184.108.40.206 on Jan 11, 2008 2:45 PM This message has been edited by DebsCook from IP address 220.127.116.11 on Jan 11, 2008 2:40 PM
Kay Sanecki's bequest to the Herb Society
January 11 2008, 2:31 PM
Just to re-interate again - The HS library is very safe, being housed in a dry and rather attractive room at Sulgrave. In fact Sulgrave is a better place than most because it contains antiques and so has a regulated temperature and humidity to keep all contents safe.
Its true that there are not many books and that they are only half catalogued. A job for the not too distant future that is in hand. Anyone wanting to donate books can be sure that they will be cherished.
I didn't know about the bequest by Kay Sanecki - I am on it now and will do my best to retrieve them if possible.
Best wishes - Jenny
[Edited to change spelling of Kay's Sanecki's surname spelt incorrectly in subject.]
This message has been edited by DebsCook from IP address 18.104.22.168 on Jan 11, 2008 2:42 PM
March 26 2008, 5:44 PM
This is interesting stuff, to which I must make one amendment:
The Golden Ballot ran from 1919 to 1920, and another was organised in 1922. She was prosecuted for both for contravening the 1853 Betting Act and the 1823 Lottery Act. In 1923 she announced in The Times that she would not be organising any more such schemes.
I'd like to obtain a photo of Hilda Leyel for publication in my book. Can anyone help?
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