Meteyard, Eliza (DNB00)

METEYARD, ELIZA (1816–1879), author, daughter of William Meteyard, surgeon, and his wife Mary, daughter of Zebedee Beckham of Great Yarmouth, was born on 21 June 1816, in Lime Street, Liverpool, in which town her father had been settled for a year. In 1818, on the appointment of her father as surgeon to the Shropshire militia, she was taken to Shrewsbury, and in 1829 removed to Thorpe, near Norwich, where she remained till 1842, when she settled in London. She began literary work in 1833 by assisting her eldest brother, a tithe commissioner, in preparing his reports relating to the eastern counties. She afterwards became a regular contributor of fiction and social articles to the periodical press, "writing in 'Eliza Cook's Journal,' the 'People's Journal,' 'Tait's Magazine,' 'Chambers's Journal,' 'Household Words,' 'Country Words,' and other journals. To the first number of 'Douglas Jerrold's Weekly Newspaper' she contributed a leading article to which Jerrold appended the signature of 'Silverpen,' which she afterwards used as her nom de guerre. She gained prizes for essays on 'Juvenile Depravity' and 'Omnibus Conductors.' Her first novel was written in 1840 for 'Tait's Magazine,' and republished in 1845 under the title of 'Struggles for Fame,' but her most popular novels were 'Mainstone's House keeper,' 1860, and 'Lady Herbert's Gentlewoman,' 1862. Between 1850 and 1878 she wrote a series of seven or eight charming stories for children. In 1861 she published an interesting volume on the 'Hallowed Spots of Ancient London,' and in 1865-6 her important 'Life of Josiah Wedgwood,' in two volumes. This was followed in 1871 by 'A Group of Englishmen (1795-1815), being Records of the younger Wedgwoods and their Friends.' In 1875 she wrote 'The Wedgwood Handbook, a Manual for Collectors,' and contributed the letterpress descriptions to 'Wedgwood and his Works,' 1873, 'Memorials of Wedgwood,' 1874, 'Choice Examples of Wedgwood Ware,' 1879, and a 'Catalogue of Wedgwood Manufactures.'

She died on 4 April 1879 at Stanley Terrace, Fentiman Road, South Lambeth. For several years she had enjoyed a pension of 100l. from the civil list. An excellent likeness of her in a marble medallion executed by G. Fontana, formerly the property of her friend Joseph Mayer [q. v.], who had aided her in bringing out the 'Life of Wedgwood,' is in the Mayer Public Hall at Bebington, near Birkenhead.

[Men of the Time, 10th edit.; C. Roach Smith's Retrospections, 1886, ii. 106; Manchester City News, 12 April 1879; Allibone's Dictionary of Authors,, iii. 1271.]

C. W. S.