Library and Archives Blog – The Diaries and Recipes of Alice Smales

Having spent the last three months digging round the archives in the Whitby Museum I am fast discovering the enormity of the Smales’ family within the Whitby Shipping industry – over 200 years!

However, in amongst the Smales’ archives we have a box containing the diaries and recipe books of one Alice Smales. Alice married Charles Smales and began married life in 1869 at 4 Havelock Place. She bore eight children; two boys, Charles Bertram and Harold Wakefield: five girls, Alice Mabel, Ellen Clara, Florence Emily and twins Gerturde Maria and Evelyn Julia. She started writing the diaries in 1871, had a gap of five years and then continued them until her death in 1929. The diary entries include daily life in their household, family life and tips on household management. They don’t hold the authors inner most thoughts but I have been told they contain some amusing entries!

The recipe books contain personally written recipes and tips plus newspaper articles that she has collected over the years and compiled in the books – including a recipe for the famous ‘Fat Rascals’!

We have featured some of Alice’s recipe books in our new exhibition championing historical foody gems from the library and archives.


Cowie, B & Shone, E. (2014), Timber Tasters: 300 years of Whitby History Through The Smales’ Archive, Whitby Literary & Philosophical Society.