Edith Escombe

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Edith Escombe (1866–1950) was a Manchester-born English writer of stories and essays. Several of her works concern marriage and its demands on women.[1]


Edith Escombe was third in a family of six girls and two boys born to William Escombe (died 1882), a Manchester shipping and insurance agent, and his wife Eliza, née Fergusson. She later lived at Bishopstoke, near Eastleigh, Hampshire with her mother, who died in 1930, and sisters. The family firm provided them with a comfortable living.[2] The firm was later the subject of a short history: Full and Down: The History of Escombe, McGrath & Company Limited (1953) by William Malcolm Lingard Escombe.[3]


Escombe's first book, Bits I Remember, published under the pseudonym "A Grown-Up" (1892), gives an entertaining account of her childhood and her education by governesses and in boarding school. Also humorous and subtle are some later novellas about women and marriage. A Tale that is Told (1893, republished by the British Library in 2010) and Stucco and Speculation (1894, likewise republished by the British Library in 2011) both involve experimental marriages. Two other novellas, Love's Ghost and Le Glaive, were published in one volume in 1903.

Escombe's volume of essays, Old Maids' Children (1906), explores child-rearing from the viewpoint of an aunt. Phases of Marriage (1907) is expressly critical of marriage as an institution and what it can do to women who are insufficiently educated and independent for the role.[2]

Edith Escombe contributed regularly in the period 1902 to 1907 to The Parents' Review. A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture, on aspects of child care and education such as "over-education", "natural growth" and "Christmas without children".[4]


  1. ^ The 1901 Census gives her date of birth as 1866. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b Virginia Blain, Patricia Clements and Isobel Grundy: The Feminist Companion to Literature in English. Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present Day (London: Batsford, 1990), p. 345.
  3. ^ Google books Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  4. ^ Ambleside Online Retrieved 24 May 2018.