Anne Isabel Stafford Branfoot, ‘Ann Stafford’, was born in March 1901 and educated at Cheltenham Ladies’ College and Newnham, Cambridge, graduating in French and Russian. After a short spell as an assistant mistress at Selhurst Girls’ Grammar School in Croydon, she studied Russian Social History for her Ph.D. at King’s College London. She spent the vacations studying art in Paris, and has illustrated some of her own books.  In 1926 she married Tom Simpson Pedler, a barrister, and had one son, John, who was in the Diplomatic Service.
    She became well known for her social and welfare work, which she also brought into her novels, in particular Silver Street and The Great Mrs. Pennington. She drove an ambulance during the war and was in charge of an East End Citizens’ Advice Bureau. Here she became so interested in the problems of dockers and their families that she made a study of Bow and Poplar, writing Light Me a Candle and Bess, novels set in the East End in the 19th century, and A Match to Fire the Thames, a study of the Match Girls’ strike of 1888 at Bryant and May’s factory in Bow.
    In 1957 she went on a lecture tour of Burma and Pakistan, and studied women in social work in Vietnam.

    She wrote a total of 25 books; novels, social history and even three pony books for children.  She died in 1966.