Who do you think you are?
Rick Stein

Rick Stein - How we did it

Modern Women

Mother: Dorothy 'Dorrie' Jackson

Dorrie with dog
Dorrie with dog

Having realised the impact his father's illness had on his mother Dorrie, Rick wanted to find out more about her life. He knew that Dorrie was married briefly before Eric, to Alan Stewart, and that she had a son, Rick's half-brother Jeremy. Rick knew that Dorrie met her first husband at Cambridge University. He wanted to find out more about her life there and why the marriage didn't last.

Step 1

Rick went to his mother's former place of education, Newnham College, Cambridge, to find out what life was like for her in the 1920s. He discovered that at the time women constituted 10 percent of the total population and that they did not even receive proper degrees. Rick saw the college register, which showed that Dorrie was married just one month after graduating.

Step 2

Rick met his sister Henrietta, who had kept some of her mother's personal diaries. He wanted to see whether they might explain why Dorrie married so quickly after leaving university. The diaries revealed that Dorrie's father hadn't wanted her to go to university, and that Dorrie had a difficult relationship with him.

Step 3

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Jeremy talks about the end of Dorrie's marriage and of being reunited with her

Rick now turned to another family members for more information. The only person who had observed Dorrie's marriage first-hand was Rick's half-brother, Jeremy Stewart. Jeremy told Rick that Dorrie and Alan were opposites, and also that Dorrie had not got on with her mother. Jeremy thought that his birth was what had kept his parents together, until Eric and Dorrie began an affair that led to her divorce from Alan. Branded an adulteress in the divorce court, Dorrie lost custody of Jeremy until he was returned to her at the age of eight.

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