Celia Miller

Celia Miller

Celia Miller (née Bushell) was born in Leicester and educated at Orme Girls’ School, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Wyggeston Girls’ School, Leicester. She went on to read English at Trinity College, Dublin, then history at the University of Bristol. She was awarded a BA with first class honours in 1976 and a PhD in 1980 for her work on the social and economic effects of agricultural change on rural communities in Victorian Gloucestershire.

Celia stayed at the University of Bristol for several more years, working as a part-time tutor in local history. She published Rain and Ruin, The Diary of an Oxfordshire Farmer, John Simpson Calvertt 1875–1900 (Gloucester, 1983), The Account Books of Thomas Smith, Ireley Farm, Hailes, Gloucestershire 1865–71 (Gloucester, 1985), and several articles in academic journals. Subsequently she worked as academic editor with a local publishing firm, then in NHS management in Gloucestershire.

Celia married Colin Miller in 1963, and after their retirement in 2002 they returned to Colin’s native county of Norfolk, living first in Reedham and now in Strumpshaw. Celia first came across the letters of Elizabeth (Betsy) Leathes, later Peach, at Norfolk Record Office in 2003, drawn by the Reedham connection (Betsy’s first husband was rector of Reedham). The Amiable Mrs Peach is the result of her research.

A great lover of all things Norwich, Celia Miller works as a volunteer guide at Norwich Cathedral and it was there that she met Jean Smith, who created all the line illustrations for The Amiable Mrs Peach. Jean is a vice-president of the Costume and Textile Association, an organization whose members have done much to preserve and promote the history, tradition and continuing culture of costume and textile in Norwich and Norfolk. The fashion-conscious Betsy Peach would surely have been a member had she been alive today!