September 1, 2021

THE Be-Ro BOOK and their dates of publication.


The 40th and 38th editions.

I have a small collection of old Be-Ro books including the one I bought for myself in the 1970's and a couple of very early editions of my mum's and grandma's.  I updated my collection by buying the 40th edition a few years ago in a supermarket where they were sold with the flour.  Copies of the current edition (41st) can be purchased directly from Be-Ro via their website.  To do that click here.

I naively thought at one time that it might be fun to collect every one ever published but have noticed that they can now fetch a hefty price on Ebay.  Consequently I don't think my collection will grow much more, unless I stumble across one or two in a charity shop somewhere.  That's now less likely as charities are more wise to the value of things than they used to be owing to their volunteers being more internet savvy!


The 21st and 26th editions.

Be-Ro books were first published in 1923, a century ago, and are an interesting insight into social history.  Looking at the earlier editions they were clearly written for the stay-at-home wife and her daughters, right up to those published in the 1970's.  Since then they have become less housewifely.  Over the decades well loved recipes have gradually been changed and new ones added to meet modern tastes and appetites as well as fashions in food.

The older editions can be difficult to date as they don't show the date of publication in them.  Many of the early ones don't have an index either.  As the Be-Ro book was originally published as a helpful booklet to go with the bags of flour that's not surprising.  

Recently I decided to try to find out when one of my mum's favourite recipes, the one for rich coconut tartlets, first appeared in a Be-Ro book - the only recipe book she ever used.  I wrote about the tartlets here and then set about finding how far back they first appeared in a Be-Ro book.

I have a copy of the 17th edition where they don't appear and the 21st edition where they do (I don't have any of the editions in between) but typically neither copy has the date of publication.  So I wrote to Be-Ro to ask them.  To my absolute amazement I had a quick reply from Be-Ro with a full list!  So, it was as simple as that, all I had to do was ask!  

It seems my mum's favourite recipe first appeared somewhere between 1954 and 1958, which does make sense.  Being married in 1950 it seems logical that she would have first made them some time between those dates.


The 17th and 32nd editions.

Here is the list of publication dates as given to me by Be-Ro:

1st 1923
2nd 1924
3rd 1925
4th 1926
5th 1926
6th 1928
7th 1929
8th 1930
9th 1931
10th 1932
11th 1933
12th 1947
13th 1948
14th 1949
15th 1951
16th 1953
17th 1954
18th 1955
19th 1956
20th 1957
21st 1958
22nd 1959
23rd  1960
24th  1961
25th 1962
26th 1963
27th TBC
28th TBC
29th TBC
30th TBC
31st 1967
32nd 1967
33rd 1972
34th 1975
35th 1978
36th 1980
37th 1982
38th 1988
39th 1992
40th 1999
41st & Current Edition 2009

36 comments:

  1. Interesting. I'll keep my eyes open for some!

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    1. Gaynor, it certainly seems like a good reason for a charity shop visit!

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  2. Hi I have a copy but has page missing am just trying to date but I can't it is completely different to all the books on Internet it came from my great grandmother I don't know if you would be able to tell if I sent a few pic

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    1. You could try "The BeRo Cookbook" facebook group where you could post pictures and ask. You would have to apply to join the group but there are hundreds of members so someone might be able to help!

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  3. I think we have the third edition, though I've not seen a first or second to compare yet.

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    1. If there is a date of publication in the book that can tell you which edition it is. How lucky to have such an early one, they are probably quite rare, being nearly a hundred years old.

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  4. I have just had an 11th edition handed down to me, along with a plethora of other vintage cookbooks

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    1. How lucky! Sadly my father binned so many of my mother's old cook books (and other things) after she died, thinking he would never need them. I wish it had occurred to him to ask if I would like them!

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    2. I’ve just come across one today that was gifted to me on my 18th birthday by an old lady across the road. It’s also the 11th edition. I’d forgotten I had it… I’m now 64 đŸ˜±

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  5. We actually have two of these in my family! The 26th and a later edition. The 26th was my grandmother's(b.1920), honestly shocked its not in pieces as it was the only "cookbook" she owned. The second is my mother's(b.1959) and she still uses it to this day (along with some St. Michael's Cookbooks - M&S). Hoping to get my own!

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    1. I hope you got your own copy. You can get them via the Be-Ro website.

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  6. AnonymousJuly 22, 2023

    I’ve got a 7th edition

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    1. That's a very old edition. I bet there are many recipes that have not changed a lot!

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  7. Would you sell 1972 please?

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    1. Sorry, but I don't have a spare copy to sell.

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  8. Anne MaclennanOctober 02, 2023

    I have just opened a box of old treasures and discovered my copy of the Be-Ro Home Recipes book, I found it in a 2nd shop way back in 1972. It is a 9th Edition which was published in 1931. 48 pages long & sticky tape barely holding the cover together.

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    1. How lucky to find such an old edition !!

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  9. Discovered your blog this morning following a search for Be-Ro recipe books. My school in Wiltshire used the 34th edition. I reached for it this morning, 'Stir Up Sunday', since my daughter and I are embarking on our first ever Christmas Pudding at home. Thanks to this article I know the year of publication. Now I need to avoid (at least for today) getting distracted by your lovely recipes - especially raspberry turnovers which are just to the right as I type this comment. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comment!

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  10. Does anyone know when the Centenary Edition was published? I just got hold of my Nana's old copy, from which we spent many happy Sundays baking medeira cakes and buns. Even though their centenary fell in 1975, that year's 34th Edition is a distinct version.

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    1. You could ask Be-Ro!
      There is a question form on their website. This is what I used to get the list of dates in this blog post.

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    2. Amazon has it as 1990

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    3. Have contacted Be-Ro, though no response as yet given it's the holidays. I maintain that 1975 is the best guess for it given it's the centenary of their founding; 1990 isn't the centenary of anything, and given its age it's clearly wasn't commemorating the centenary of the name change (1910) or the cookbook itself (1923.)

      Found that my Mum also has a (much nicer) copy which I've now scanned and put on the Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/be-ro-centenary-edition, making it only the fourth that I know of to be archived online this way. The really fun detail is the Oxfam sticker on the back - £1.99! Daylight robbery by today's standards!

      Have also scanned her copy of the 40th Edition, but that is in... a more used state, and while all the pages are intact, the same can't be said for the text. Would approve of others archiving their copies if willing and able, especially the 80+yo ones. History like this should always be preserved, especially something like this which has recorded changes in food trends for a century now.

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    4. Yes, agreed. The flour was first produced in 1875 so it makes sense that the centenary edition would have been 1975.

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  11. My book just has 24th Million typed on the bottom of the first page of the book. Could this be 24th edition I wonder?

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    1. Now that's a very good question!
      I shall look into it and see what I can find out!

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    2. No, I'm sorry, but that is just a count of how many copies they had produced by that time. On some editions you can look at the far right side of the bottom of the first page and it will give the edition number. For instance, the 1928 edition says at the bottom of the first page "Fifth Million" at the left and "Sixth Edition" on the right.

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    3. Mine has Eleven Million and Eleventh Edition written on the bottom of Page 1.

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  12. Me and my friend just found a 40th edition copy on the side of the road, and you’ve helped us solve the mystery of how old it is. It’s older than both of us! Thankyou :)

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    1. Wow, that's a lucky find. I wonder how it got there!

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  13. I have a 17th edition which is from 1954, it was passed on to me by my beautiful mother in law. I also have a 41st edition gifted to me by a friend ❤️

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    1. I love those editions from the 1950's, so evocative of my childhood! The one I refer to most often is actually the 40th edition.

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  14. Thanks for the list of publication years. I have the 11 th edition and assumed it was post war because of the use of egg in Shortbread, but it turns out it is 1933- between wars.
    Good to know it was my Granny’s not my Mum’s.

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    1. Some of the older editions now have a hefty price tag, if you can find them at all, so lucky you for having one that is nearly a hundred years old.

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  15. AnonymousMay 27, 2024

    I have the 24th Million - 1961. I was delighted to find it, fairly recently, in a charity shop and happy to pay £1.99 for it although it has, very obviously, been frequently used. I also bought the current copy online and was disappointed to find that the milk chocolate cake is not included in the book. I used to make this so often when my two boys were growing up (they’re both now in their mid forties) that I didn’t need to refer to the recipe. It’s a delicious cake and should, in my opinion, still be included in the current edition.

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    1. I have to say that I am not a fan of the current 41st edition. Too many favourites have been left out and replaced by recipes that will not stand the test of time I think.
      Having said that, the recipe for banana, maple syrup and pecan loaf is a winner. I made it as an 8" round cake and it was gorgeous.
      My go-to copy is the previous 40th edition. Fortunately I somehow have two copies as one of them is beginning to look a bit scruffy.

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