Mary Braddon was a well-known novelist, born in London (1837) and died in Richmond, Surrey (1915), but the beginning of her literary career is associated with Beverley. It was here that she had her first poems published by the Beverley Recorder in May 1857, under the pseudonym Mary Setton. This led to a suggestion from local printer, Charles Empson that she write a novel, resulting in the serial ‘Three Times Dead’ . She went on to write such popular works as ‘Lady Audley’s Secret’ and ‘Dead Men’s Shoes’ .
The building to the right of the church tower in our archive image is the old Assembly Rooms. Mary Braddon acted on stage here a few days before publication of her first poem on 23rd May 1857.