Florence (Flo) Georgiana Wadlow (née Copeland), cook and author, was born on 8 December 1912 in West Ham, London, but was later taken to live in Wells-next-the-Sea with her siblings and mother. wrote the book ‘Over a Hot Stove: A Kitchen Maid’s Story’ about her life in domestic service. She began her working life aged 16 as a kitchen maid working in South Kensington, and at the age of 23 was appointed cook at Blickling Hall by Lord Lothian – the last private owner of Blickling. She lived on the fourth floor of the house. In this article, she recalls cooking for the Astors, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and Queen Mary.
Flo left Blickling in 1939 when Lord Lothian was appointed Ambassador in Washington. Lord Lothian had asked Flo to cook for him in Washington, but instead she went to cook for the Bulwer-Long family at Heydon in Norfolk, where she met and married Robert Wadlow, and had two sons.
Flo and Robert retired from Heydon to Fakenham in 1998. Flo died 9 January 2013.
Find out more: You can view photographs and portraits of Flo at the Norfolk Record Office – click here and search for ‘AUD 27’. Hard copies of the photographs of Flo can also be viewed at the Record Office – FX 347/1/1-7. In 2007 and 2008, Bob Carter interviewed Flo Wadlow as part of Blickling Hall’s oral history project – you can hear Flo’s interviews here and here. You can see a newspaper article about Flo in the Norfolk Heritage Centre:
EDP 12/1/2013 p.1-2 “Farewell to Flo, the queen of below stairs” Illustrated article reporting death of Flo and giving some details of her working life. A shorter version of this article, which includes audio clips of Flo talking about her experiences at Blickling Hall, can be viewed here on the Eastern Daily Press website.