Ann Radcliffe (née Ward, 9 July 1764 – 7 February 1823) was an English author and pioneer of the Gothic novel. Radcliffe's technique of explaining the supernatural elements of her novels has been credited with enabling Gothic fiction to achieve respectability in the 1790s. Radcliffe was born Ann Ward in Holborn, London, on 9 July 1764. Her father was William Ward (1737–1798), a haberdasher, who moved the family to Bath to manage a china shop in 1772. Her mother was Ann Oates (1726–1800) of Chesterfield. Radcliffe occasionally lived with her Uncle, Thomas Bentley, in Chelsea, who was in partnership with a fellow Unitarian, Josiah Wedgwood, maker of the famous Wedgwood china. Sukey, Wedgwood's daughter, also stayed in Chelsea and is Radcliffe's only known childhood companion. Sukey later married Dr Robert Darwin and had a son, Charles Darwin. Although mixing in some distinguished circles, Radcliffe seems to have made little impression in this society and was described by Wedgwood as "Bentley's shy niece".