Author Bio

Author Katherine Holden at the book launch of Nanny Knows Best
Author Katherine Holden at the book launch of Nanny Knows Best

I am a professional social historian, currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of the West of England.

My interest in the history of nannies stemmed partly from memories of my time as an inexperienced 19 year old in the 1970s, when I worked as a mothers help looking after two small children and discovered what an undervalued, but also rewarding job being a nanny was. I was also curious about the part nannies had played in my own family – both my parents had nannies in the 1920s, and my grandmother trained as a Norland Nanny in 1914.

The nanny project grew out of the research I did for my last book on the history of single women, ‘The Shadow of Marriage’, when I discovered that many of the women I interviewed for that project had once worked as nannies. For this book, I have done many more interviews with mothers, former nannies and the children in their care and discovered so much more.

As I live in the city of Bath just down the road from Norland College, I had a fantastic opportunity to explore the college archive among many other sources, which form the bones of this book.

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