Famous Smiths

Delia Smith

Delia SmithDelia Smith CBE (born 18 June 1941) is an English cook and television presenter, known for teaching basic cookery skills in a no-nonsense style. She is the UK’s best-selling cookery author, with more than 21 million copies sold.

Smith is also famous for her role as joint majority shareholder at Norwich City F.C. Her partner in the shareholding is her husband, Michael Wynn-Jones. Her role at the club has attracted varying media attention, from positive when she “saved” the club from bankruptcy, to negative, when making a controversial on-pitch announcement in 2005.

Already an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), Smith was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours, “in recognition of … [her] contribution to television cookery and recipe writing”.

Born to a Welsh mother in Woking, Surrey, Smith attended Bexleyheath School, leaving at the age of 16 without a single O-level. Her first job was as a hairdresser, and she also worked as a shop assistant and in a travel agency before starting her career in cookery. When Delia was 16, her boyfriend often complimented her, saying how good her food was. This was the nudge forward that made Delia take that step into cookery. At 21, she started work in a tiny restaurant in Paddington called The Singing Chef. She started as a washer-upper, then moved on to waitressing, and then was allowed to help with the cooking. She started reading English cookery books in the Reading Room at the British Museum, trying out the recipes on a Harley Street family with whom she was living at the time.

“Dee” (as she was known at the time) worked for Carlton Studios, in Fredrick Close near Marble Arch in London, as a ‘Pinner’/Home Economist where she worked with photographers such as Barry Buller and Peter Knab, preparing mostly food for studio photography.

In 1969 Smith was taken on as the cookery writer for the Daily Mirror’s new magazine. Their Deputy Editor was Michael Wynn-Jones, whom she later married. Her first piece featured kipper pâté, beef in beer, and cheesecake. In 1972 she started a column in the Evening Standard which she was to write for 12 years. Later she wrote a column for the Radio Times until 1986.

Smith became famous by hosting a cookery television show Family Fare which ran between 1973-1975. Her first television appearances came in the early 1970s, as resident cook on BBC East’s regional magazine programme Look East, shown on BBC One across East Anglia.

Smith approached BBC Further Education with an idea for their first televised cookery course. Her aim was to teach people how to cook: to take them back to basics and cover all the classic techniques. Accompanying books were needed to explain not only how, but why, things happen. This led to her three Cookery Course books.

Smith became a recognisable figure amongst young people in the 1970s and early 1980s when she was an occasional guest on the BBC Saturday morning children’s programme Multicoloured Swap Shop and did basic cooking demonstrations; she and host Noel Edmonds had a flirtatious way of interacting with each other back then. She purportedly phoned in during the reunion programme It Started with Swap Shop, though that particular “appearance” is debatable.

Her television series, Delia’s How to Cook (1998), reportedly led to a 10% rise in egg sales in Britain, and her use of ingredients (such as frozen mash, tinned minced beef and onions as used in her 2008 TV series), or utensils (such as an omelette pan), could cause sell-outs overnight. This phenomenon – the “Delia Effect” – was most recently seen in 2008 after her new book How to Cheat at Cooking was published. Her fame has meant that her first name has become sufficient to identify her to the public, and the “Delia Effect” has become a commonly used phrase to describe a run on a previously poor-selling product as a result of a high-profile recommendation.

She created a stir in 1998 when she taught viewers how to boil an egg.

In 2003 Smith announced her retirement from television. However, she returned for an eponymously-titled six-part series airing on the BBC in Spring 2008. The accompanying book, an update of her original best-selling 1971 book How to Cheat at Cooking, was published by Ebury Press in February 2008, immediately becoming a number one best-seller. Items to have benefitted from the “Delia Effect” include the Kenwood mini-chopper, Martelli pasta and Aunt Bessie’s mashed potato.

In 2005, Smith announced that she was supporting the Labour Party in the forthcoming election.

In 2009, Smith announced that in order to help Norwich City’s finances, she has “been working extremely hard on another book and TV series.” It is to be a retrospective of her 40 year career, “looking at how things have changed”.

In 2010, Delia’s latest television series, Delia through the Decades, was first broadcast on 11 January on BBC2 at 8.30pm. The show lasts for five weeks, with each episode exploring a new decade of her cooking. Her biggest selling book Delia Smith’s The Winter Collection (1995) sold 2 million copies in hardback.

In March 2010, Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal were signed up to appear in a series of 40 commercials on British television for the supermarket chain Waitrose.

Sourced – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delia_Smith

Shane McGowan

shane mcgowanMacGowan was born in Pembury, Kent, England in 1957, to Irish parents. MacGowan spent his early childhood in Tipperary before his family moved back to England when he was six and a half. He lived in many parts of the south-east, including Brighton and London.

MacGowan’s mother, Therese, was a singer and traditional Irish dancer, and had worked as a model in Dublin. In 1971, after attending Holmewood House School at Langton Green, Tunbridge Wells, MacGowan earned a literature scholarship and was accepted into Westminster School, a renowned English public school close to the Houses of Parliament. He was found in possession of drugs and was expelled in his second year.

MacGowan got his first taste of fame in 1976 at a concert by English punk band The Clash, when his earlobe was damaged by Jane Crockford, later to be a member of The Mo-dettes. A photographer snapped a picture of him covered in blood and it made the papers, with the headline “Cannibalism At Clash Gig”. Shortly after this, he formed his own punk rock band, The Nipple Erectors, later renamed “The Nips”.

MacGowan drew upon his Irish heritage when founding The Pogues and changed his early “punk” voice for a more authentic sound with tutoring from his extended family. Many of his songs are influenced by Irish nationalism, Irish history, the experiences of the Irish in London and the United States, and London life in general. These influences are documented in the biography, Rake at the Gates of Hell: Shane MacGowan in Context. MacGowan has often cited the 19th-century Irish poet James Clarence Mangan and playwright Brendan Behan as influences.

Between 1985 and 1987, he co-wrote what is perhaps his best-known song, “Fairytale of New York”, which he performed with Kirsty MacColl. In the coming years MacGowan and The Pogues released several albums successfully. After The Pogues threw MacGowan out for unprofessional behaviour, he formed a new band, Shane MacGowan and The Popes, recording two studio albums, a live album, three tracks on The Popes “Outlaw Heaven” (2010) and a live DVD, and touring internationally.

In 1997, MacGowan appeared on Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day”, covered by numerous artists in aid of Children in Need. It was the UK’s number one single for three weeks, in two separate spells. Selling over a million copies, the record contributed £2,125,000 to the charity’s highest fundraising total in six years.

In 2010, MacGowan offered a piece of unusual art to the ISPCC (Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) to auction off to support their services to children. It ended up fetching €1,602 for the charity.

Shane MacGowan of The Pogues in 2006

The Pogues and MacGowan reformed for a sell-out tour in 2001 and each year from 2004 to 2009 for further tours, including headline slots at Guilfest in England and the Azkena Rock Festival in Spain. In 2005, The Pogues re-released “Fairytale of New York” to raise funds for the Justice For Kirsty Campaign and Crisis At Christmas. The single was the best-selling festive-themed single of 2005, reaching number 2 in the UK Charts. In the autumn of 2010, he played a number of shows with a new five-piece backing band, including In Tua Nua rhythm section Paul Byrne (drums) and Jack Dublin (bass), with manager Joey Cashman on whistle. This line up went to the Spanish island of Lanzarote in November 2010 to record a new album.

In 2006, he was voted 50th in the NME Rock Heroes List. He has been seen many times with The Libertines and Babyshambles singer Pete Doherty. MacGowan has joined Babyshambles on stage. Other famous friends include Johnny Depp, who starred in the video for “That Woman’s Got Me Drinking”, and Joe Strummer, who referred to MacGowan as “one of the best writers of the century”. Strummer occasionally joined MacGowan and The Pogues on stage (and briefly replaced MacGowan as lead singer after his sacking from the band).

His sister is Siobhan MacGowan, a journalist, writer and songwriter, who released her album Chariot in 1998, and published a children’s novel, Etain’s Dream. In early March 2007, MacGowan announced plans to marry his longtime girlfriend, Victoria Mary Clarke.

Shane is the subject of a number of books and paintings. In 2000 Tim Bradford used the title Is Shane MacGowan Still Alive? for a humorous book about Ireland and Irish culture. “Shaman Shane-The Wounded Healer” by Stephan Martin brands Shane as a latter-day London-Irish spirit-raiser and exorcist. This commentary is found in the book “Myth of Return – The Paintings of Brian Whelan and Collected Commentaries, 2007″. London Irish artist Brian Whelan paints Shane, his works are featured on Shane’s official website, and is also the illustrater of The Popes “Outlaw Heaven” cd (see above).

When not touring with The Pogues, Shane plays with his new band, The Shane Gang. The band features John Daly (guitar), Joey Cashman (whistle), John “Sarge” O’Hara (keys), Jack Dublin (bass) and Paul Byrne (drums).

Sourced – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shane_MacGowan

Frederick Augustus Smith

Frederick Augustus SmithLieutenant Colonel Frederick Augustus Smith VC (Dublin 18 November 1826 – County Meath 22 July 1887) was an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Early life

Smith entered the British Army in 1849 and saw action during the Crimean War at Alma, Inkerman and Sebastopol.


Smith was 37 years old, and a captain in the 43rd (Monmouthshire) Regiment of Foot (later the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry), British Army during the Waikato-Hauhau Maori War, New Zealand when the following deed took place on 21 June 1864 at Tauranga for which he was awarded the VC.

For his distinguished conduct during the engagement at Tauranga, on the 21st of June. He is stated to have led on his Company in the most gallant manner at the attack on the Maories’ position, and, although wounded previously to reaching the Rifle Pits, to have jumped down into them, where he commenced a hand to hand encounter with the Enemy, thereby giving his men great encouragement, and setting them a fine example.

Sourced – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Augustus_Smith

William Smith O’Brien

William Smith O'BrienWilliam Smith O’Brien (Irish: Liam Mac Gabhann Ó Briain; 17 October 1803 – 18 June 1864) was an Irish Nationalist and Member of Parliament (MP) and leader of the Young Ireland movement. He was convicted of sedition for his part in the Young Irelander Rebellion of 1848, but his sentence of death was commuted to deportation to Van Diemen’s Land. In 1854, he was released on the condition of exile from Ireland, and he lived in Brussels for two years. In 1856 O’Brien was pardoned and returned to Ireland, but he was never active again in politics.

Early life

Born in Dromoland, Newmarket on Fergus, County Clare, he was the second son of Sir Edward O’Brien, 4th Baronet, of Dromoland Castle. William took the additional surname Smith, his mother’s maiden name, upon inheriting property through her. He was a descendant of the eleventh century Ard Rí (High King of Ireland), Brian Boru. He received an upper-class English education at Harrow School and Trinity College, Cambridge.


From April 1828 to 1831 he was Conservative MP for Ennis. He became MP for Limerick County in 1835, holding his seat in the House of Commons until 1848.

Although a Protestant, he supported Catholic Emancipation while remaining a supporter of British-Irish union. In 1843, in protest against the imprisonment of Daniel O’Connell, he joined O’Connell’s anti-union Repeal Association.

Three years later, disillusioned by O’Connell, O’Brien withdrew the Young Irelanders from the association. With Thomas Francis Meagher, in January 1847 he founded the Irish Confederation. In March 1848, he spoke out in favour of a National Guard and tried to incite a national rebellion. He was tried for sedition on May 15, 1848 but was not convicted.

Rebellion and transportation

On 29 July 1848, O’Brien and other Young Irelanders led landlords and tenants in a rising in three counties, with an almost bloodless battle against police at Ballingarry, County Tipperary. In O’Brien’s subsequent trial, the jury found him guilty of high treason. He was sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. Petitions for clemency were signed by 70,000 people in Ireland and 10,000 people in England.

In Dublin on 5 June 1849, the sentences of O’Brien and other members of the Irish Confederation were commuted to transportation for life to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania in present-day Australia).

O’Brien attempted to escape from Maria Island off Tasmania, but was betrayed by Ellis, captain of the schooner hired for the escape. He was sent to Port Arthur where he met up with John Mitchel, who had been transported before the rebellion. The cottages which O’Brien lived in on Maria Island and Port Arthur have been preserved in their 19th century state as memorials.

Having emigrated to the United States, Ellis was tried by another Young Irelanders leader, Terence MacManus, at a lynch court in San Francisco for the betrayal of O’Brien. He was freed for lack of evidence.

Statue on Dublin’s O’Connell Street

In 1854, after five years in Tasmania, O’Brien was released on the condition he never return to Ireland. He settled in Brussels. In May 1856, he was granted an unconditional pardon and returned to Ireland that July. He played no further part in politics.


There is a statue of him on O’Connell Street, Dublin.

His older brother Lucius O’Brien (1800–1872) was also a Member of Parliament for County Clare.

Sourced – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Smith_O’Brien