Elizabeth Whitaker was born in Yorkshire and went into domestic service at an early age. By 1760, she rose to become the housekeeper for Lady Warburton at Arley Hall, a great estate in Cheshire, near Manchester. Elizabeth married John Raffald, the head gardener at Arley Hall, and moved with him to Manchester, where his family owned several market gardens. The couple had 16 children. Elizabeth opened a shop selling hot dishes, cakes, and table decorations. She also established a registry for reliable servants for the gentry. She wrote The Experienced English Housekeeper (1769), dedicated to Lady Warburton, which became a major success. It went into numerous reprintings over the next century and was admired by everyone, including the young Queen Victoria, who copied portions into her private diary.