Social & Industrial History
In Darkest England, and the Way Out (1890)
A runaway bestseller when it was published in Britain in 1890, this book by William Booth (1829–1912), the founder of The Salvation Army, deals with the serious social problems of late 19th-century Britain: unemployment, poverty, vice, crime and drunkenness. Booth shows how existing social agencies had failed and he sets out a solution, his own ‘scheme for salvation’. Reprinted in 1974 with a new foreword and introduction. No jacket.
A History of Crime in England (1873–76)
Luke Owen Pike (1835–1915) was a barrister and an historical researcher in the Public Records Office, and his history of crime from Roman times to 1874 draws on his legal expertise and his access to historical documents. In great detail, he shows how ‘the definition of crime was being gradually evolved during the slow march of history’. Reprint edition. No jackets.
The History of Gambling in England (1898)
After an introduction that surveys the history of gambling from ancient Egypt to medieval England, John Ashton gives a remarkably detailed account of this ‘disease that is most contagious’, including individual gamblers and notorious wagers, horse racing, gambling clubs, lotteries, financial ‘bubbles’ and life insurance. Reprint edition. No jacket and off-mint .
Memoir of the Life of Elizabeth Fry (1847)
Born into a Quaker banking family, Elizabeth Fry (1780–1845) worked tirelessly for the reform of prisons and asylums. This memoir, first published in 1847, is largely composed of extracts from her journals and letters, edited and with a linking narrative by two of her daughters. The original two volumes are bound as one in this reprint edition. No jacket and off-mint.
Sixty Years in Waifdom
or, The Ragged School Movement in English History
Organized into the Ragged School Union with Lord Shaftesbury as President in 1844, the ‘ragged schools’ aimed to teach and relieve the distress of Britain’s street children. In this 1904 account, Montague looks at the schools’ role within 19th-century society and argues that, by providing education and basic amenities, they also helped prevent violent uprisings against the class inequality of the era. Reprinted with a new introduction in 1970. No jacket and slightly off-mint.
How to Behave Badly in Renaissance Britain
Nothing reveals as much about a society as its bad behaviour, and if Shakespeare’s England is remembered for courtly ceremony, it was also an age of brawling, boozing and badmouthing. Drawing on contemporary behaviour manuals, court cases and sermons, Ruth Goodman, the presenter of Victorian Farm, reveals what most upset and infuriated our forebears. Her entertaining survey dishes the dirt on ninny-hammers, wittols, stinkards and draggletails, and offers practical advice on how to handle yourself in a fight.
Same Sex Love 1700–1957
A History and Research Guide
Family history is often seen as concerned with the traditional heterosexual unit. But what of ancestors who were attracted to same-sex partners? This first history of gay relationships aimed specifically at family historians offers valuable insights into those often seen as outcasts. Empathetic and meticulously researched, it charts the ways in which gay men and women lived their lives, from the Mollies and Sapphists of Georgian England to the Wolfenden Report of 1957.
Breach of Promise to Marry
A History of How Jilted Brides Settled Scores
Hiding from daylight in her mouldering wedding dress, Dickens’s Miss Havisham is the classic literary image of the jilted bride. But thanks to the 18th-century law of breach of promise, many women had more attractive options. This entertaining social history uncovers more than a thousand cases in which wronged fiancées employed no-win-no-fee lawyers to gain substantial financial redress for their disappointment – and adventuresses extracted money from men ‘they cannot possibly want as husbands’.
Corsets & Codpieces
A Social History of Outrageous Fashion
With tales both tragic (the 2,500 deaths from crinoline fires in 1864) and amusing (the horse that ate the stuffing from a race-goer’s bustle), Bowman takes readers on a lively journey from Roman times to 1940s Britain, examining some of the more unusual trends that have been deemed fashionable at one time or another. From the style that was invented to mask disease, to a 1920s hairdo that ended relationships, there’s more to fashion that first meets the eye.
Tales from the Big House: Normanby Hall
400 Years of its History and People
Normanby Hall has been the seat of the Sheffield family since it was built in the 1820s. In this social history, Stephen Wade charts the hall’s role in local industry and during two world wars, when it was used as a military hospital and a personnel base. The tales of the resident family, guests and staff include that of the charismatic Lady Grosvenor, who astonished servants by arriving in a gypsy caravan.
The Thames Ironworks
A History of East London Industrial and Sporting Heritage
Located in the heart of London’s Docklands, the Thames Iron Works pioneered metal-hulled ships in the mid 19th century, providing employment for much of the East End. Though it closed in 1912, its spirit lives on through the company's football team, which became West Ham United.
Life in the Victorian Kitchen
Culinary Secrets and Servants' Stories
Life in a 19th-century kitchen could be tough and exacting, and staff below stairs needed a broader range of skills than ever before, as new and exotic ingredients were arriving from around the Empire. Using case studies and detailed research, Karen Foy examines Victorian cuisine through the seasons (with some recipes), and discusses useful tools and the sourcing of ingredients as well as introducing early cookery writers, including Catherine Dickens.
Britain's Secret Army: The Munitions Women of World War II
With the outbreak of war in 1939, many factories were turned over to the war effort, while new ones were quickly built to manufacture munitions. Millions of women worked arduous shifts, day and night, dealing with dangerous materials, often after being forced to leave home and live in uncomfortable and unfamiliar surroundings. Based on extensive interviews, this book recounts the experiences of nine 'bomb girls', revealing the hardships that they endured and their often-unrecognized contribution to the Allied victory.
Voices from the Past
In the full knowledge that hostilities would end at 11am, some units were still sent into battle on the morning of 11th November 1918, and some soldiers were reportedly keen to fire the very last shots. From the first attempts to negotiate a peace to the final battles and the moment of ceasefire itself, this book tells the story of the conclusion of the First World War through contemporary newspaper reports and the words of politicians, military leaders and ordinary soldiers.
Growing Up in the Not-So-Friendly 'Baby Boomer' Years
Looking back to children’s education, play, home life and health in the 1950s, Simon Webb paints a grim picture of childhood, often at odds with baby boomers’ own memories of those years. Drawing on documented evidence and examples, he discusses topics including sexual abuse, juvenile crime, playground hazards, and fears about the new media of television and comics in the post-war decade, arguing that children’s lives today are far safer, healthier and happier.
Madness in Civilization
A Cultural History of Insanity from the Bible to Freud, from the Madhouse to Modern Medicine
The many different manifestations of mental illness are the subject of this panoramic work of social history. Its eminent author provocatively argues that we remain far from understanding the roots of madness and that modern psychiatry has much to learn from the responses of past societies. Scull explains how madness has been understood, through the lenses of medicine, pharmacology, religion and psychology, as a frightening challenge to the social fabric, and as a profound influence on the arts.
The Country House at War
Fighting the Great War at Home and in the Trenches
In August 1914, few realized the effects that war would have on every part of society. Simon Greaves explores the experiences of the men and women who lived and worked at properties that are now part of the National Trust. Drawing on unpublished letters, diaries and memoirs, and illustrated with period images, the book evokes life at stately homes as they became military hospitals and training camps – and the fate of those who left them to fight in the trenches.
The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion
The mid 20th century saw the emergence of a cohort of fiercely intelligent women writers in the United States. This collective biography profiles Dorothy Parker, Zora Neale Hurston, Susan Sontag and Joan Didion, among others, and assesses their influence on American cultural and intellectual life.
The Human Age
The World Shaped By Us
Diane Ackerman may rue the destruction of the natural world, yet she is thrilled by human ingenuity and here contemplates nascent technologies – including those for body heat recycling, 3D-printed human tissue and carbon capture – that may yet save our planet and our species. Slightly off-mint.
The Story of Civilian Volunteers in the First World War
The scale of support given by volunteers and charities during the First World War to troops, prisoners of war, refugees and the wounded is often overlooked. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children (but mainly women) from all backgrounds devoted time and energy to fundraising and practical help, many risking their lives on the front line. This history of their efforts, which involved the making and packaging of ‘comforts’, nursing, driving ambulances and entertaining, acknowledges their compassion and generosity.
Health and the City
Disease, Environment and Government in Norwich, 1200–1575
In 1559, the physician William Cunningham published The Cosmographical Glasse, focusing on Norwich as an exceptionally ‘healthfull and pleasant city’. Isla Fay’s book explores the philosophy that linked a city’s location and landscape with its health, and the practical realities of Norwich’s ‘vibrant, native culture of urban hygiene’.
Tracing Your Ancestors' Lives
A Guide to Social History for Family Historians
Once you have tracked down the names, dates and places in your family tree, this handbook will help you to explore further by investigating the day-to-day experience of your forebears. It contains advice on the best sources and methods for research into British social history and presents a variety of case studies that illustrate topics of special interest to family historians, such as economic and demographic change, domestic life and education.
Pie ’n’ Mash & Prefabs
My 1950s Childhood
Rendered homeless during the Second World War, Jacobs’ family was living in ‘temporarily’ in a Hackney prefab when he was born in 1947. This memoir interweaves stories from his formative years with social history of the Fifties and Sixties – from conkers to the Cuban Missile Crisis, rationing to rock ’n’ roll – as he fondly recalls a way of life that has vanished for ever.
What Every Woman Should Know
Lifestyle Lessons From the 1950s
Using photographs and facsimile pages from the Daily Mail archives, this richly illustrated volume reveals how women’s attitudes were shaped in the Baby Boom era. Divided into sections on Fashion, Health and Beauty, and A Woman’s Work, the selection includes advice on finding an affordable fur stole, what a working girl should eat and how to apply fake sun-tan, as well as problem letters from unhappy housewives and advertisements for labour-saving devices that could prove their salvation.
Rebuilding Post-War Britain
Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian Refugees in Britain, 1946–1951
After the Second World War, 25,000 Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians, displaced by conflict and invasion, were recruited to fill labour shortages in Britain. Drawing on interviews and documentary sources, Emily Gilbert brings this little-known episode to life, and charts the refugees’ contribution to British society.
The Georgian Art of Gambling: Being A Miscellaneous
Collection of Fashionable Card Games and Diverse Pastimes
Claire Cock-Starkey's miscellany of Georgian pastimes – and addictions – covers everything from cards in the drawing room to wagers on cock-fighting and the ruination of gambling-addicted aristocrats.
Ending the African Slave Trade
After the Acts of 1807 and 1833 that abolished slavery across the British Empire, the Royal Navy patrolled the African coast to enforce the law; yet there were still slave markets around the Indian Ocean in the 1860s. This book tells of four British naval officers who took direct action – against Admiralty guidelines which advised adjudication rather than violence – to free captives and disrupt the slave trade along the coasts of Africa and Arabia.
The Perilous Catch
A History of Commercial Fishing
After an introduction describing some of the worst fishing disasters around the coasts of Britain during the last two centuries, the maritime historian Mike Smylie traces the history of commercial fishing from prehistoric and medieval weirs to today’s super-trawlers. Meticulously detailed, the book covers every aspect of fishing from mud-horse fishing on the Somerset mudflats to open-sea trawling, changes in boat design and safety, women in the industry, and the lives of fishermen and their families.
Britain Yesterday & Today
Like their modern counterparts, Britons of the 19th century visited the seaside, ate fish and chips, attended football matches and cheered royal processions, but today these activities look rather different and other aspects of British life have changed beyond recognition. This collection of photographs compares images of similar scenes, a century or more apart, to present a nostalgic look at the changing times and the unchanging traditions of British life.
Bombsites and Lollipops
My 1950s East End Childhood
Austerity Britain meant food shortages and few luxuries for most citizens, but Jacky Hyams was treated to black-market delicacies and lavish holidays thanks to her father's illegal betting activities. This memoir recalls the incongruity of that affluent lifestyle amid the slums of Hackney, and Jacky's progress from school in the East End to office jobs in the West End and entertainments in the Soho of the early 1960s.
A Nun's Story
The Deeply Moving True Story of Giving Up A Life of Luxury in A Single Irresistible Moment
Shirley Leach grew up surrounded by comfort and privilege, enjoying horse-riding, tennis and parties, and felt shocked when she received a calling from God to become a nun. Nevertheless, a few months later she had become Sister Agatha. Her faith in this life-changing decision never faltered, and at the age of 85, she looks back over her remarkable life.
The World Corrupted: From Slavery to Obesity
How did a commodity that was once the prized monopoly of kings become an essential ingredient of everyday life and then the cause of a global health epidemic? James Walvin traces the history of how the demand for sweetness has been met, from early Mediterranean sugar plantations, to the immense human and environmental cost of the Caribbean plantations and the slave system, the industries that followed, and the dawning awareness of the obesity problem.
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.
The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker
The Story of Britain Through its Census, Since 1801
At the start of each decade since 1801, the national census has offered a snapshot of the British Isles. Drawing on this resource, as well as letters, newspaper reports and other documents, Roger Hutchinson tells the stories of the nation’s men and women in the context of contemporary events – from the Napoleonic Wars, through the Industrial Revolution and two world wars, to the age of the internet – and highlights the valuable contribution of the census to the history of modern Britain.
Making Monte Carlo
A History of Speculation and Spectacle
Monaco was an obscure, impoverished principality until, in 1855, it legalized gambling, and Monte Carlo was born. Blending research, storytelling and scandal, this account describes how princes, profiteers and press agents created the first modern casino resort, how it flourished in the Belle Époque and how, after the First World War, it was reinvented for the Jazz Age. Its cast of characters includes Karl and Harpo Marx, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Picasso and Cole Porter.
A Downstairs View of Twentieth-Century Britain
From the quintessential liveried servant of 1900 and the 10,000 'maids-of-all-work' invited to tea by Queen Alexandra to celebrate the King's coronation in 1902, to modern au pairs and domestics, this authoritative social history gathers the 'voices, heard and unheard, published and unpublished, of domestic servants' to offer an engrossing account of the social changes that have taken place in the British home over the last century.
The True Story of Life Behind the Counter
In the 1960s, over a million women worked in shops, nearly a fifth of the female workforce. The number had grown steadily from the early 19th century as industrialization had drawn people to the cities and created a demand for, and supply of, consumer goods. Originally published to accompany the BBC TV series, this book explores the life of the shopgirl from the strict propriety of Victorian department stores to the boutiques of the 1960s.
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.
Slap and Tickle
The Unusual History of Sex and the People Who Have It
This irreverent guide takes a peek at a perennially fascinating subject. A romp through the biological mechanics and history of human intercourse is spiced up with intimate true stories, public scandals, censorship, sex toys, fetishes, and a concise glossary of filthy language. Eclectic, entertaining and original, it reveals everything you always wanted to know about sex – and quite a few things you probably didn’t. Sexually explicit.
The Old Boys
The Decline and Rise of the Public School
To many, public schools are an anachronistic bastion of privilege. This book charts a colourful history of schoolboy revolts, eccentric heads, scandal, decline and renewal, to argue that, on balance, their contribution to national life is a positive one. Slightly off-mint.
No Milk Today
From doorstep delivery and money collection to amorous liaisons and dog attacks, this nostalgic social history takes an affectionate look at a great British institution, examines the changes that have taken place over the years, and laments the demise of the industry. Rich with stories and reminiscences, the book documents and celebrates the figure who not only delivered milk but also acted as community worker, handyman and family friend.
Out of Time
1966 and the End of Old-Fashioned Britain
Peter Chapman was 18 years old in 1966, the year of Harold Wilson, the seamen’s strike, London ‘swinging’ to a soundtrack of Beatles and Rolling Stones, and England’s victory in the World Cup. Chapman, whose hopes of being a professional footballer had been dashed, but who would become an outstanding football journalist, gives a vivid picture of the lost world of Britain in the Sixties from the perspective of his world in Islington, north London.
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.
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.
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.
Divorced, Beheaded, Sold
Ending an English Marriage 1500–1847
How could English people end unhappy marriages before divorce was readily available? As the colourful stories in this book reveal, the options ranged from quietly but bigamously remarrying to selling an unwanted wife to the highest bidder at market. The author also examines a 1594 case in which neighbours helped a woman retrieve property from her husband, and occasions when wives successfully sued for legal separation. The appendix focuses on Henry VIII's marital arrangements.
How British Aristocrats Staked a Claim to the American West 1830–1890
From the 1830s onwards, a succession of British aristocrats headed for the American West, taking with them their valets, their dogs – and their prejudices. This sparkling account describes the newcomers' experiences as they crossed the country to meet Native Americans, hunt buffalo and build cattle empires. Packed with lively incident and colourful personalities, it also charts their reception by Americans often less than pleased at the return of their former colonial overlords.