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Writer.  Born 1881.  Died 1972.



Life

Daisy Ashford, christened Margaret Mary Julia, was born on 7 April 1881 in Petersham, Surrey.  She was the daughter of William Henry Roxburghe Ashford, a former official of the War Office and his wife, Emma Georgina.  Daisy was mainly educated at home, although when she was seventeen she attended the Priory of Our Lady of Good Counsel at Haywards Heath for one year.  The children were all encouraged to write from an early age and Daisy dictated her first story ‘The Life of Father McSwiney’ to her father when she was four years old.

In 1889 the family moved to Southdown House, Lewes and it was here that Daisy wrote ‘The Young Visiters, or Mr. Salteena’s Plan’, her first book written in her own hand.  Daisy’s stories were written when she was very young and they display childlike spelling and unconscious humour alongside richly detailed descriptions of clothes, food and people.

After attending school when she was seventeen, Daisy gave up the hope of becoming an author.  In 1904 the family moved to Bexhill and Daisy then moved to London where she worked as a secretary.  Later she ran a canteen in Dover as part of the war effort.  ‘The Young Visiters’ came to light after her mother’s death in 1917 when Daisy and her sisters found their childhood writings among their mother’s papers.  It was published in May 1919 with a preface by J. M. Barrie.  The book was an immediate success, and was reprinted eighteen times in the first year of publication.

Daisy married James Devlin in 1920 and they had two daughters and two sons.  They eventually settled in Hellesdon, Norwich, where Daisy died in 1972.



Novel by
  • The Young Visiters, or Mr Salteena's Plan (1919)

      

     daisy young visiters.jpg   ‘The Young Visiters’ is the story of a slightly bumbling aspirant to high society in late Victorian England.  Written in 1890 when Daisy was nine years old; it mixes sophistication with childlike innocence, rich descriptions with poor spelling and unintentional humour.  First published in 1919 it was an immediate success, reprinted eighteen times in the first year of publication.  It was rumoured to have been written by J. M. Barrie, who had written the preface to the first edition.  It was dramatised in 1920, made into a musical in 1968 and most recently was a BBC drama in 2003.



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Daisy Ashford
Name: Ashford, Daisy

Life
East Sussex connections