Aromatic Studying for Holidays (& Lengthy Weekends): Secrets and techniques of the Lavender Ladies

For the Financial institution Vacation (or any travelling you could be doing within the subsequent few weeks) we’d like to recommend you browse our sensible Aromatic Reads shelf of scent-themed tomes. There’s actually one thing for each style! However this weekend we’re sitting again and enjoyable with a novel: Secrets and techniques of the Lavender Ladies.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the fascinating aromatic backstory behind its creation (and the true story that impressed it…)


Within the guide, creator Kate Thompson tells the story of the ladies who labored on the Yardley manufacturing unit in the course of the battle. Nevertheless it seems among the tales she found throughout her analysis have been much more unimaginable…



‘I like archives and libraries,’ Kate Thompson shares on her Facebook page. ‘Fastidiously untying the cream ribbon of an outdated file and catching the scent of 80-year-old mud motes is a thrill. Greater than as soon as I’ve discovered hours can slip away leafing via yellowed newspaper reviews and witness accounts from the Second World Struggle within the silence of a studying room…’

Revealing her ardour for analysis, and the extraordinary tales she discovered throughout her time writing The Secrets and techniques of the Lavender Ladies, Kate says that ‘nothing beats what historians calls ‘Main Sources’ and what I favor as a substitute to name ‘Magnificent Girls’.’



The completely charming novel follows the aromatic historical past of Yardley, and the outstanding tales of the ladies who labored there. Although a fictional account, Kate’s real fondness for the actual life ladies she discovered (and who shared their tales along with her) actually shines via.

Unravelling the tales of the real-life ladies who labored at Yardley in the course of the battle, she obtained ‘an exquisite handwritten letter within the publish.’

‘I used to be a wartime lavender woman, I examine your guide in {a magazine},’ wrote Joan Osborne. ‘Yardley was essentially the most fantastic years of my life. I’m now 91.’

The letter was from Joan, who’d desperately wished to work at Yardley, telling Kate: ‘It should have been the glamour. I keep in mind travelling from Stratford to Ilford on the bus and the conductor opening the window so everybody might odor the lavender blowing from Yardley. Carpenters Highway, or Stink Bomb Alley was well-known for its smells. Seven several types of air flowed down there relying on which method the air was blowing. I can nonetheless odor the lavender,’




Kate discovered Joan was despatched to work within the prime flooring perfumery division the place she was given a brush to comb the ground. ‘I believed, “I haven’t come right here to comb flooring” in order that they moved me to bottle-filling the place I used to be placing the pores and skin and caps on bottles. They have been shedding so many ladies to the providers I don’t suppose they wished to lose anymore, in order that they stored me candy. I earned eighteen shillings and one thing every week and my clocking in quantity was 157. I’ve nonetheless bought the cardboard.’


‘They have been harmful occasions, particularly when the flying bombs began up, however being younger I didn’t suppose that a lot about it. I used to be extra upset by how chilly it was within the manufacturing unit, the heating was not often on and we have been at all times freezing. They used to provide us cups of Oxo to heat us up. Least the room at all times smelt beautiful from the lavender, freesia and April violets fragrance.’



You possibly can read more of the remarkable back-story of Joan and her fellow Yardley women in Kate Thompson’s touching reflections on researching the guide. However we can’t urge you sufficient to go and buy the book itself – and even higher, learn it whereas carrying one in every of Yardley’s classic fragrances (nonetheless proudly in manufacturing!) for an additional aromatic waft of historical past.



P.S: There’s a shocking FULL SIZE Yardley scent of English Rose included in our lately launched Discovery Field, The Backyard of Delights. A blooming marvellous assortment for under £23 / £19 for VIPs, which we all know you’ll additionally love exploring to take advantage of these final days of summer time, too…

Written by Suzy Nightingale