WORCESTER'S LITERARY HERO
Mrs Henry Wood (Ellen Wood) was born in Worcester in 1814 and has a memorial in Worcester Cathedral.
She wrote over 100 short stories and 30 novels and became one of the bestselling writers of popular fiction during the 19th Century. She was seminal as a writer of sensational fiction, stories packed full of mystery, crime and melodrama which came into vogue in the 1860s. Her work was translated into many languages and her readership was both popular and varied. Enthusiasts included The Prince of Wales, Joseph Conrad and Tolstoy. She was widely popular in the USA and surpassed the fame of Charles Dickens in Australia.
Her most famous novel East Lynne was serialized in 1860 before publicized in 3 volumes in 1861. East Lynne has been adapted for the stage many times; the play was so popular that stock companies put on a performance whenever they needed guaranteed revenue.
Aged 22, Ellen married Henry Wood the head of a banking and shipping firm. Her books were published under the name Mrs Henry Wood and not Ellen Wood.
Visitors to Worcester can hear more about Mrs Henry Wood and visit her memorial as part of a special Love Themed guided tour of the Cathedral this Saturday 18th February at 2.30pm. Tickets cost £5.00 per person (accompanied children are free) from the shop in the Cathedral Cloister.