The inter-war years have yet to be hailed as a golden age of the English novel, but for writers such as JB Priestley, Howard Spring, Graham Greene it was a time when their reputations were being established. Dorothy Whipple's first novel was published in 1927. Ten more followed along with children's books and autobiographies. JB Priestley described her as the Jane Austen of the 20th century.
Dorothy was born in Edgeware Road off Revidge Road. Her mother Ada, formerly Cunliffe was the daughter of William Henry Cunliffe, head of a decorating, gilding and engraving company, who had executed commissions in many of the grand houses in the area. Her father Walter Stirrup was an architect and land agent, born in Eccleshill. His father James was a boot and shoe manufacturer.
Dorothy was one of eight children. Her circumstances were comfortable; there was a servant. The family lived at Elm Bank on St. Silas's Road and The Hawthorns on Duke's Brow. She was educated at the Miss Barretts' private school and then the High School and then the Convent of Notre Dame. After school she went to work in the Education Office.