Emily Hilda Young (21 March 1880 – 8 August 1949) was an English novelist, children's writer and mountaineer. She was also a supporter of the women's suffrage movement.


E. H. Young was a strong-selling novelist, born in Whitley, Northumberland, to Frances Jane Young and William Michael Young, a shipbroker.[1] She was the sister of actress Gladys Young. Young attended Gateshead Secondary School and later Penrhos College, Colwyn Bay. In 1902, at the age of 22, she married John Arthur Helton Daniell, a solicitor from Bristol, and moved with him to the fashionable neighbourhood of Clifton.

Here Young developed an interest in classical and modern philosophy. She became a supporter of the women's suffrage movement, and started publishing novels. She also began a lifelong affair with Ralph Henderson, a schoolteacher and friend of her husband.

When the First World War broke out in 1914, Young went to work, first as a stables groom and then in a munitions factory. Her husband, serving as a sergeant in the Royal Garrison Artillery, was killed on 1 July 1917, during preparations for the Third Battle of Ypres. The following year she moved to Sydenham Hill, London to join her lover, now the headmaster of Alleyn's public school, and his wife in a ménage à trois. Young became the librarian at the school, and occupied a separate flat in the Hendersons' house. She was addressed as "Mrs Daniell" to conceal their unconventional arrangement.

This change seems to have been the catalyst she needed. Seven novels followed, all based on Clifton, thinly disguised as "Upper Radstowe". The first was The Misses Mallett, published originally as The Bridge Dividing in 1922. Her 1930 novel Miss Mole won the James Tait Black Award for fiction. In the 1940s, Young also wrote books for children: Caravan Island (1940) and River Holiday (1942).

After Henderson's retirement and the death of his wife, Young moved with him to Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire. They never married. During the Second World War, she worked actively in air-raid precautions. She continued to live in Wiltshire with Henderson until her death from lung cancer in 1949.


Young and Henderson also shared a love of mountaineering, for which she and her sister Gladys had developed an enthusiasm in adolescence. In 1911 Young became an early member of the Fell & Rock Climbing Club, though it was in Snowdonia that she climbed most frequently.

On 14 August 1915, she led Henderson, Ivor Richards and James Roxborough on a pioneering route up the Idwal Slabs. Previously thought to be impregnable by experienced climbers such as O. G. Jones, Henderson later testified to her, "remarkable qualities of balance, speed, and leadership, and to her sound judgment of rock and route." Originally christened "Minerva", in honour of feminine endeavour, the route is now better known as "Hope".

Young was a founder member of the Pinnacle Club formed in 1921. However, she climbed less frequently as her literary career flourished.


Though popular in its time, Young's work is little read today. In 1980, a four-part series based on her novels – mainly Miss Mole – was shown on BBC television as Hannah.[2] The feminist publishing house Virago reprinted several of her books in the 1980s.[3] The Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society has marked her Clifton home with a plaque.

The E. H. Young Prize for Greek Thought was an annual essay prize awarded in her memory at Bristol Grammar School.



  • A Corn of Wheat (1910)
  • Yonder (1912)
  • Moor Fires (1916)
  • A Bridge Dividing (1922) (republished as The Misses Mallett)
  • William (1925)
  • The Vicar's Daughter (1927)
  • Miss Mole (1930)
  • Jenny Wren (1932)
  • Celia (1937)
  • The Curate's Wife (1934)
  • Chatterton Square (1947)

Children's fiction:

  • Caravan Island (1940)
  • River Holiday (1942)


  • Chiara Briganti and Kathy Mezei. Domestic Modernism, The Interwar Novel, and E. H. Young. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006
  • ODNB: Stella Deen, "Young , Emily Hilda (1880–1949)", Retrieved 8 August 2014
  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ Deen, Stella (2001). "Emily Hilda young's miss mole: Female modernity and the insufficiencies of the domestic novel". Women's Studies. 30 (3): 351–368. doi:10.1080/00497878.2001.9979382.
  • The Journal of the Fell and Rock Climbing Club of the English Lake District. Volume XV Number III, 1950
  • Shirley Angell. Pinnacle Club, A History of Women Climbing. The Pinnacle Club: Cordee, 1986

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