Fanny Louisa Calder 1838 - 1923
Fanny Calder was born into a Liverpool family who lived in Rodney Street. She undertook charitable work with the poor, but soon realised that this work was not enough to address social inequality and poverty. Decent food and an understanding of domesticity were, she felt, the first steps needed to rectify the situation, so she started classes with a group of like-minded women in 1875, founding the F.L. Calder College - Liverpool Training School for Cookery.
Calder played a significant role in establishing training for domestic science teachers in Liverpool and increasingly nationwide. One of her staunchest supporters, Florence Nightingale, called her the ‘saint of laundry, cooking and health’.
In 1897, the Women's Education Movement was founded, and she linked this to the Association of Teachers of Domestic Science. In 1903, she was invited to join the Liverpool Education Committee, receiving an honorary MA degree a decade later in recognition of her work.
Calder published several educational texts, including A Teacher's Manual of Elementary Laundry Work in 1891, and in 1925, two years after her death, F.L. Calder College published The Calder Cookery Book, which included many of her recipes, with her 'war cake' recipe being perhaps the best known.
Calder undoubtedly was the initiator of, and most significant campaigner for, the recognition and establishment of domestic science in education at all levels. She also helped bring about a revolution in attitudes to education, to women's roles in and beyond the domestic sphere, and in untold social reform and benefit.
LJMU continues her campaign for social reform and equality, embracing commercial and public spheres too, extending Calder's original remit far beyond domestic life and the role of women.
Through our Public Health Institute, LJMU is helping bring significant benefits in public health, locally, nationally and globally, work which Calder would no doubt see as an extension of her campaign for social reform and equality.