Social & Industrial History
The Secret World of the Victorian Lodging House
Throughout the burgeoning cities of Victorian Britain, lodging houses provided shelter to those who flocked from the countryside in search of work. Crowded, insanitary and often disreputable, they aroused the horror of respectable society, and were viewed as hotbeds of crime and disease. Drawing on contemporary accounts, newspaper reports and court cases, this fascinating social history shines a light into the shadowy world of itinerant labourers, criminals, street entertainers, peddlers, prostitutes, abandoned children, and families fallen on hard times.
A Dance Through Time
Images of Western Social Dancing from the Middle Ages to Modern Times
Where depictions of peasant revels may be exuberant and unfettered, the stately codes of formal dance before the modern era created a tension between sobriety and decorum and underlying emotion or sexual tension. This art history curates images of dance from the Bodleian Library and explores their different meanings and themes, including how artists have conveyed the movement of dance technically and the social and historical information that can be gleaned from depictions of dancing, instructional illustrations and satirical sketches.
A History of Adoption in England and Wales
Gill Rossini traces the social history of adoption from the ‘fallen woman’ and makeshift arrangements for unwanted children and orphans of the 19th century, through the 1926 Adoption of Children Act to the shift in attitudes that followed the NHS release of the contraceptive pill in 1961. Rossini’s study uses real stories; deals with topics such as charitable institutions, baby farming, the First World War, and the 1945 illegitimate baby boom; and ends with a guide to resources for researching an adoption.
Horse-Drawn Transport in Leeds
William Turton, Corn Merchant and Tramway Entrepreneur
Although steam power was transforming the nation's transport in the 19th century, the horse-drawn tram survived in cities long enough to be replaced in most areas by electric traction, rather than by steam. This history examines the introduction of these early urban transport systems from the 1870s through the career of Yorkshire entrepreneur William Turton, who founded the Leeds Tramways Company and ran horse tramway services in major cities across the north of England.
The Diaries of a Military Wife During the Second World War
While her husband was serving as a British Army captain, Evelyn Shillington travelled with him whenever she could. She kept a regular diary starting with their arrival home from Hong Kong in 1935, through the turbulence of the Second World War, to a stint in post-war Italy in 1946. As well as commenting on the political situation, the diaries include gossip, humour and even a meeting with Princess Elizabeth.
100 Years on the High Street
The closure of Woolworths’ last British stores in 2009, a century after the first opened in Liverpool, sparked a wave of nostalgia. This absorbing history charts the American chain’s conquest of the British high street with its cornucopia of sweets and toys for children, cosmetics for young women, and household goods for families. Historic photographs of its distinctive Art Deco shopfronts will strike a chord of recognition, while the retail giant’s inexorable decline will provoke reflection on changing consumer habits.
The Last Shepherds
A Vanishing Way of Life on Britain's Traditional Hill Farms
Shepherds were ubiquitous from pre-biblical times, their occupation a way of life – some even had their own language for counting sheep. Today, among other things, fewer sheep and quad bikes contribute to dwindling shepherd numbers. First published in 2004, this account follows three shepherds through their year, witnessing lambing, haymaking, sheep fairs and the training of a puppy to become a working sheepdog; it describes age-old traditions that are fast becoming things of the past.
British Nannies & the Great War
How Norland's Regiment of Nannies Coped with Conflict & Childcare in the Great War
Founded in 1892, the Norland Institute trained educated working- and middle-class young women to be nannies, and quickly won the patronage of British and European royalty. Drawing on Norland archives and the nannies’ own accounts, this book tells their story of caring for children on the home front, behind enemy lines, and in distant parts of the British Empire, or volunteering as nurses during the First World War.
The Last Horsemen
A Year at Sillywrea, Britain's Only Horse-Powered Farm
First published in 2001, this study of a disappearing way of life took place over three years, on the last farm in Britain still reliant on horse power rather than machinery. Sillywrea Farm has belonged to the same family for over 150 years, and the book follows two of the family’s recent farmers and their five Clydesdale horses through four seasons, ploughing, haymaking and training a young foal.
A Lark for the Sake of Their Country
The 1926 General Strike Volunteers in Folklore and Memory
During the 1926 General Strike, many upper- and middle-class young people volunteered to drive buses, trucks and trains. Drawing on interviews conducted with almost 100 survivors during the 1980s, this first book to focus specifically on their experiences uses folklore, anthropology and social history to reveal how their behaviour was rooted in the fancy-dress parties and treasure hunts of universities and country houses, and how memories of the strike have continued to shape British identity.
Moon Landings, The Kinks and the 1966 World Cup
Increasing disposable income, new technologies and social reform changed British life in the 1960s and made it an exciting time to be growing up. This round-up of 1960s culture describes what life was like for many British children, at home and at school, and recalls the entertainments that made the period so memorable, from books, comics, toys and TV programmes to pop music and fashion.
Around the Village Green
The Heart-Warming Memoir of a World War II Childhood
In this memoir, the author recalls growing up with her coal miner father, mother and siblings in a Derbyshire village and describes how the outbreak of war and the nearby PoW camp and American base changed life for everyone.
My Life as a Nurse in the 1950s
Exchanging her native Belfast for Cumbria, Patricia Jordan worked as a midwife and district nurse in Borrowdale during the 1950s. This memoir recalls her tough nursing training in London, tells how a romance with a patient took her to the North West and recounts her many heart-warming and sometimes heartbreaking experiences as her work took her into people's homes at times of crisis and celebration.
An Alternative History of Every House
Why does your house look the way it does? What is the point of a dado rail? And what's that thingumajig for? From noggins and newel posts to power showers and fitted kitchens, every household fixture has a story to tell. Illustrated with photographs, antique prints and vintage advertisements, this light-hearted history of the domestic environment uncovers the often bizarre stories behind the inventions that have shaped our homes.
Why the English Sailed to the New World
During the 17th century unprecedented numbers of people left England. They were on their way to new lives in the Caribbean and the North American colonies – but what were their motivations for undertaking such a perilous transatlantic voyage? Using contemporary letters, diaries and court records, Evans tells the personal stories of men and women who left their homeland in search of a fortune, for political and religious reasons or because their desperate poverty meant they had little to lose.
The Society Doctor Who Held Victorian London Spellbound
Physician John Elliotson and his friend Thomas Wakley, founding editor of The Lancet, were well-known medical pioneers in Victorian London. Yet when Elliotson championed the new ‘science’ of mesmerism, which purported to dull surgical pain, their friendship – and Elliotson’s credibility – were severely tested. Against a backdrop of Victorian lecture theatres and hospital wards, the two distinguished men publicly clashed over a technique which, for all its successes and failures, is still little understood.
Britain's Best-Known Brand
As Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, the Queen is seen by many as a calm, reassuring presence in an era of restless change. But what of the institution she represents? This revelatory book takes a glimpse behind the scenes at the machinery that sustains the monarchy today: its constitutional role, its leadership of the Church of England, its finances. It also takes a clear-eyed view of its future, and the pressures that will face an heir to the throne. Slightly off-mint.
A Family's Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall
As the Second World War ended and the Soviets seized control of eastern Germany, Hanna, a teacher’s daughter, escaped to the West. Her parents and siblings remained in the East, and the family was separated. Forty years later, as the Berlin Wall was torn down, her daughter Nina, now a US intelligence officer, rediscovered her lost family. In this poignant memoir, she tells their remarkable story against the backdrop of events that shaped the world.
If fashion in the 1960s had broken barriers, 1970s style exploited the new climate with extravagant and exuberant costume, inspired by feminism, sexual liberation and daring new stars such as David Bowie and the Sex Pistols. This photographic collection features the supermodels and iconic celebrities of the period, including Farrah Fawcett, Debbie Harry and Jerry Hall in the work of leading fashion photographers such as Helmut Newton, Norman Parkinson and Terence Donovan.
The Story of an Island
In her prologue to this much-acclaimed study, Dressler writes of Eigg, ‘From the fierce struggles in clan times to the bleak period of famine and emigration, through to the modern-day fight to maintain a viable crofting community, the island has always been a microcosm of Highland history’. Drawing on oral history, legend and song, and written sources, Dressler’s book covers the story of the island from the coming of the Celts to life on Eigg since the 1997 community buy-out.
Domestic Life, Devastation and Survival 1900–1950
From 1917 to 1945, Paul Ginsborg views great events and transitions through the lens of family life, examining the role of families (and radical alternatives to families) in the social and political life of the nation-state. The book focuses on five nations: revolutionary Russia and the Soviet Union; Turkey in the transition from Ottoman Empire to republic; Italy under Fascism; Spain during and after the Civil War; and Germany from the failure of the Weimar Republic to the Nazi state.
Household Servants in Early Modern England
With chapters on topics including servants and the law, housing, diet and dress, and order and disorder in the household, this socio-cultural history of servants and service covers the period from the mid 16th to mid 18th century. Richardson examines the life histories of individual servants, their relationships with other servants and with employers and, more generally, he looks at how this field of employment related to contemporary economic and social organization.
The Secret Lives of Hair
As well as wigs, toupees and extensions, there are many uses for and beliefs about human hair. Indian traders call it ‘black gold’; in China a protein derived from it was once used in soy sauce; and in 1920s America there was a craze for using it to make ‘invisible’ hairnets. Anthropologist Emma Tarlo travelled the world to search out the facts and here presents the many remarkable hair-related stories she uncovered.
How a Century of War Changed the Lives of Women
Part of the Counterfire series, which presents radical perspectives on history, society and current affairs, this volume discusses the ways in which conflicts, from the First World War to the War on Terror, have changed women’s lives and given them a central role in anti-war and peace movements. As well as analysing the two world wars as catalysts for social change, the study examines how the changing nature of war involves civilians, and particularly Muslim women, in new ways.
When the Office Went to War
War Letters from the Men of the Great Western Railway
When men from Great Western Railway’s audit division left to fight in the First World War, they began to correspond with staff back home in the Paddington office where their letters were compiled into monthly ‘newsletters’. Twelve of these newsletters are arranged chronologically in this touching collection, in which a group of colleagues bound together by work, yet scattered across France, Belgium, the Dardanelles, Greece, India and Egypt, pour out their thoughts and reflections about life on the front.
A Kiwi's World Tour to Yorkshire 1939–40
Gwynne Irene Peacock, 'Gwennie', set off from New Zealand in February 1939 on a world tour that took her to Egypt, Europe and, as war approached, every part of Britain. Her diary records the whole trip including the return via America and Pearl Harbor.
A History of the Liverpool Waterfront 1850–1890
The Struggle for Organisation
In an age before steam had ousted the clippers and Liverpool’s quays were still a forest of masts, the city’s 18,000 dock workers – many of them of Irish descent – began to organize themselves into trades unions. Extensively illustrated with historic prints and photographs, this groundbreaking study charts the struggles of these workers to improve their conditions and build self-reliance in the face of increasing mechanization, and vividly recreates the hustle and bustle of the Victorian waterfront.
Glad Tidings of Struggle and Strife
A History of Protest Christmas Cards
Yuletide greetings from the Spanish Civil War and Korea; the Three Wise Men stopped by border patrols; Tony Blair with a sleigh distributing missiles over the desert; David Cameron in a sleigh distributing parcels of cuts ... Presenting some 250 cards from their own collection, Llew and Pam Smith offer an unusual history of British political life, traced through the ways in which political parties, unions and protest groups have spread their message using Christmas cards.
A Visitor's Guide to Shakespeare's London
This time-traveller’s guide takes the reader back to a London not entirely unlike ours, a city of drinking, dining, entertainment and shopping. And though many buildings have been obliterated by fire, Blitz and development, the street plan remains. Like any reliable guidebook, it provides information on when to visit, how to get there – ‘the Gravesend voyage is very difficult and its length depends on the weather’ – where to stay and what to see.
Can Any Mother Help Me?
This book’s title was originally a plea from a lonely young mother in the 1930s, which sparked a flood of sympathetic responses, resulting in a private women’s magazine and many lifelong friendships. Fascinated by these remarkable ladies, the author has compiled some of their articles on children, work, love and politics; photographs; and contributors’ biographies, providing a unique social history of ordinary 20th-century women.
Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts
Drawing on the true story of the Bermondsey women’s strike of 1911, this novel tells the story of Nellie Clark, a determined young factory worker whose meagre wages are all that keep her siblings from starvation. As war looms, and strikes and riots erupt across the country, Nellie faces hardship and loss, and makes a promise that will change her life for ever.
Letters to the Midwife
Jennifer Worth (1935–2011) based her hugely successful books, Call the Midwife, Shadows of the Workhouse and Farewell to the East End, on her own experiences in the East End in the 1950s. This book contains letters from all sorts of people – from other midwives to lorry drivers – responding to the books and telling their own stories. There are also writings by Jennifer herself, a biographical introduction by family members and a foreword by Miranda Hart.
Britain's Greatest Generation
How Our Parents & Grandparents Made the Twentieth Century
A depression, wars and unprecedented new technology created challenging conditions for Britons in the first half of the 20th century. Drawing on the first-hand accounts of people born into the devastated world of the 1920s, this book analyses the experiences of the generation that lived through the Second World War and built a new society after it, from a Jewish refugee coming to Britain in 1939 to Jimmy Perry, who served in the Home Guard and later created Dad's Army.
The Wartime Battle for Britain's Health
At the beginning of the Second World War experts feared that rationing, a shortage of medical resources, the spread of disease via evacuation and air-raid shelters, and the psychological impact of bombardment would wreck the nation's health. This eye-opening account tells how, through a combination of planning and improvisation, doctors, nurses, social workers, scientists, nutritionists, Boy Scouts and tea ladies ensured that Britain ended the war in better health than ever before, and paved the way for the NHS and the welfare state.
Through the Keyhole
Sex, Scandal and the Secret Life of the Country House
From around 1760 to the 1830s, stories about the sex lives of the rich and powerful were guaranteed to increase the readership of popular printed literature. Papers were so packed with salacious tales of secret sex that there seemed to be an epidemic of adultery among the aristocracy. This study explores the personal stories of men and women involved in adulterous affairs and compares their accounts of infidelity and its sometimes tragic consequences with the stereotypes of dissolute aristocrats in the popular press.
From Boiled Beef to Chicken Tikka
500 Years of Feeding the British Army
‘An army’, Napoleon famously remarked, ‘marches on its stomach’. But who ensured that its stomach was filled – and what was it filled with? This compelling, meticulously researched book charts the history of British Army catering from Cromwell to the Iraq war, turns up such fascinating details as how to improvise a kebab skewer with a bayonet, and includes 20 recipes to try at home, from Gurkha Chicken Pilau to Game Pie.
A Very British Revolution
150 Years of John Lewis
From catering for Victorian mourners with 50 shades of black fabric in its first shop in Oxford Street in the 1860s, to 12 million YouTube viewings of its Christmas ad for 2013, this is a 150-year retailing success story. Jonathan Glancy looks back over John Lewis's history, describing its roots in drapery and fabrics, the radical partnership structure set up in 1929, its architecturally distinguished flagship stores, the success of the online store and its future plans – more shops.
Women's Factory Work in World War One
The appointment of two influential women from the Women's Factory Inspectorate to the Women's War Work Subcommittee during the First World War led to a commission to create a photographic documentary archive of women working in factories across Britain. GR Griffiths examines that project and presents a selection from the thousands of images that covered 19 industries and recorded the working conditions of the women and the industrial processes in which they were engaged.
The Justice Women
The Female Presence in the Criminal Justice System 1800–1970
Today we are accustomed to seeing female police officers, barristers and judges, but this only came about through more than a century of struggle. This absorbing book traces the history of the fight for equality and professional status through the lives of pioneering women in the legal system. They include Edith Smith, the first woman police officer to be sworn in, Lilian Wyles, the first female chief inspector, and the remarkable judge Rose Heilbron.
A 1960s East End Childhood
To anyone who remembers playing in traffic-free streets or watching the moon landing on TV, Webb's memoir will be a nostalgic trip back to childhood in the 1960s in London's East End. To anyone younger, it is a picture of life in a different world, where bombsites and die-cast cars were the height of kids' entertainment and 'summer holiday' often meant staying with granny in Basildon.
Dole Queues and Demons
British Election Posters from the Conservative Party Archive
A unique blend of graphic design, bold artwork and cunning psychology, election posters are an unsung art form. Drawing on the Conservative Party archive at the Bodleian Library, this lavishly illustrated book charts 100 years of political advertising, lampooning opponents from Lloyd George to Tony Blair. Its ten chronological chapters chart the political history of Britain, changing ideologies and social attitudes, and fashions in advertising. A foreword by communications guru Maurice Saatchi discusses the posters from a design perspective.
‘I Was Transformed’
Frederick Douglass: An American Slave in Victorian Britain
In the summer of 1845, Frederick Douglass, a young slave catapulted to fame by his bestselling autobiography, arrived in Liverpool for a two-year tour of Britain and Ireland. Drawing on a wide range of sources on both sides of the Atlantic, this absorbing history explores the ‘liberating sojourn’ that bought Douglass’s freedom, paid for by British supporters. It charts his return to the USA as an international celebrity, and his later life through the Civil War and its aftermath.
From Pre-Raphaelites to Punk
London has always been home to outsiders, people who can't – or won't – abide by the rules of respectable society. This entertaining, anecdotal history charts two centuries of Bohemianism, including such colourful characters as Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley, the Bloomsburyites and Bright Young Things, and Dylan Thomas boozing through the Blitz. It is also a guide to the places where Bohemia flourished: the Café Royal, the Colony Room and the Gargoyle Club.
Bobby on the Beat
Memories of a London Policeman in the 1960s
Honest, entertaining and packed with colourful stories, this memoir of the author’s time as a copper on the beat in Limehouse provides a real flavour of the life and crimes of London’s East End during the 1960s. Laced with tough cockney humour, it presents a rogues’ gallery of pickpockets, conmen, informants, gangsters and pimps, against a rich backdrop of docklands pubs, markets and cafés.
From Crimea to Afghanistan: the Real Lives of Women Behind the Men of Uniform
Through the centuries, army wives have had to contend with anxiety, separation, injury, bereavement, post-traumatic stress, and the struggle to maintain a normal home life in abnormal circumstances. Using interviews, letters and diaries, this remarkable history gives them a voice, sometimes for the first time. It traces their experiences from the Crimean War – the last in which wives followed their husbands to the front – to the new breed of independent women supporting their men through the war in Afghanistan.
1956: The World in Revolt
In January 1956, the home of Martin Luther King, the leader of the Montgomery Improvement Association, was bombed; by December, the black citizens’ campaign had ended segregation on the city’s buses. In this survey of 1956, Simon Hall describes how frustration with the post-war order caused ordinary people across the world – in places as far-flung as Algeria, Eastern Europe, South Africa, Cyprus and Cuba – to speak out, take to the streets and sometimes die in the bid for greater freedoms.
Ancestors in the Arctic
A Photographic History of Dundee Whaling
Drawn from the collections of Dundee Art Galleries and Museums, this volume of early photographs shows the sailing ships and the highly skilled crews of the Dundee whaling industry, often set against the dramatic ice seas and landscapes of the Arctic. Offering insights into an almost forgotten aspect of Dundee’s history, the book demonstrates the importance of whaling for the city between the mid 18th century and the First World War.