Holding the Home Front
The Women's Land Army in the First World War
Within days of the start of the First World War there were calls for women to come to the fields, but it would be almost three years before the Women’s Land Army was formally established. Using previously unpublished accounts and photographs, this social history examines how the movement impacted agriculture at a time of national crisis and examines the rhetoric surrounding it, the political purpose that shaped it and the experiences of those who worked for it.
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 Drawing on unpublished letters, diaries and memoirs, and illustrated with period images, the book evokes life at stately homes as they became military hospitals and training camps,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 Conquest of Death
Violence and the Birth of the Modern English State
‘By the seventeenth century the detection, conviction, and punishment of illegitimate lethal violence were firmly and irrevocably tied to the central government.’ Matthew Lockwood’s study shows how definitions of legitimate and illegitimate violence were negotiated in coroners’ courts from the late 15th century and gradually gave government the power to enforce a monopoly of violence – a basic prerequisite of a modern state.
The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in France, 1917–1921
Women Urgently Wanted
Documenting the experiences of the WAACs who served in France, this study follows the women from enrolment to demobilization, notes the part they played in the Spring Offensive of 1918 and the Armistice, and analyses how the army, the general public and the press viewed them.
Victorians and Edwardians Abroad
The Beginning of the Modern Holiday
The Polytechnic Touring Agency (PTA) was created in 1888 to cater for the growing numbers of lower middle-class people who could for the first time afford to holiday abroad. From the PTA archive at the University of Westminster, this book uncovers the recollections of those who enjoyed ‘Poly holidays’ before 1914. Illustrated with postcards, photographs and promotional items, it records their train journeys to Paris, Switzerland and Italy, and reveals a penchant for mischievous fun.
The Lengthening War
The Great War Diary of Mabel Goode
Having lived in Germany for a time before the outbreak of the First World War, middle-aged, middle-class diarist Mabel Goode knew 'the enemy nation' as many Britons did not, which adds an extra dimension to her contemporary account of the years 1914–1916. She records enrolment, rationing, the collapse of domestic service and the growth of war work, the Zeppelin attacks over Yorkshire, the ever-mounting casualty lists and a growing disillusionment with a lengthening conflict.
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.
Eggs or Anarchy
The Remarkable Story of the Man Tasked with the Impossible: To Feed a Nation at War
Battling unscrupulous dealers, blockades and sinking ships, Minister for Food Lord Woolton was tasked with feeding the nation during the Second World War. Despite Churchill’s misgivings, Woolton – a working-class boy turned business tycoon – rose to the challenge, making a huge contribution to the war effort and improving the health of the nation to boot. Award-winning food writer William Sitwell draws on personal letters and diaries to reveal this previously untold story.
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.
Beside the Sea
Britain's Lost Seaside Heritage
The building of the railways made seaside holidays a possibility for workers in Britain's industrial cities and transformed a host of small coastal towns into glamorous entertainment centres. Using archive photographs and ephemera and the memories of people who worked and holidayed in places such as Margate, Scarborough and Blackpool, this nostalgic history recalls the culture of donkey rides, lidos and variety shows that was the pleasure of millions until air travel drew people away from the traditional resorts.
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.
Peace and War:
Britain in 1914
This discerning cultural history presents a portrait of a nation on the eve of war. While it details the social and political issues of the day, including the Ulster crisis, suffragettes, labour disputes and the anxiety of approaching war, it also highlights the nascent modernism of contemporary artists and poets, including Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis, who anticipated the end of the Edwardian era and the ‘cosy certainties’ that belied the social conflicts of a troubled Britain.
Secret Histories of Britain's Rebels and Revolutionaries
Alarmed by the French Revolution, the rulers of Georgian Britain established a network of spies and informers to infiltrate and monitor radical groups at home. Drawing on official records and contemporary accounts, this compelling history probes the shadowy world of government agents pitted against Irish rebels, Luddites, the Pentrick uprising of 1817 and the 1820 plot to murder the cabinet. The book recreates a climate of fear and repression, in which even peaceful reformers risked arrest.
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.
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.
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.
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 improvization, 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.
The Servants' Story
Managing a Great Country House
This recreation of what it was like to live and work as a servant in a grand household during the mid 19th century is based on the Sutherland Collection, the papers of the Leveson-Gowers family, once the largest private landlords in the United Kingdom. While Trentham, their house in Staffordshire, stands in ruins, the family archive is extraordinarily intact, affording a detailed picture of the social structure, administration and working conditions within the highly complex community of Trentham.
We'll Meet Again
Britain at War
With advances in camera technology, photojournalists were able to record everyday life during the Second World War with much more flexibility than ever before and the home front provided them with unforgettable visual material. From bomb destruction and ration queues to evacuees and women working in heavy industry, this collection of 350 photographs from the Daily Mail archive contains many arresting images and portrays a remarkable sense of cheerfulness in the face of adversity.
Going beyond the familiar stories of children in wartime, usually dominated by evacuation, Longden deals with children as active participants in the Second World War. He tells the stories of child soldiers who lied about their age to enlist, but also of the Royal Navy's 14-year-old boy buglers serving on battleships, teenagers in the Merchant Navy, Boy Scouts and Girl Guides helping victims of the bombing, and the children who stayed in the cities during the Blitz.
Jack Tar's Story: The Autobiographies and Memoirs
Examining the autobiographical writings of antebellum American sailors, and how they remembered and interpreted experiences such as the War of 1812 and British impressment, this study explores contested meanings of manhood and nationalism in the early republic.
A Cultural History of Dustmen, 1780–1870
In this first study of the cultural representation of the dust trade during the 19th century, Brian Maidment shows the ways in which London dustmen were associated with ideas of contamination, dirt, noise and violence. He uses literary, dramatic and graphic evidence to explain how the image of the dustman emerged from late 18th-century assumptions about his work and habits, and discusses Dusty Bob's appearance in the work of Victorian caricaturists, social analysts and writers, notably Mayhew and Dickens.
Dogs of Courage
When Britain's Pets Went to War 1939–45
From 1939, when people were advised that if they couldn't send their pets to the country in wartime, 'it really is kindest to have them destroyed', to the Dickin Medals awarded at the end of the war, Clare Campbell tells the story of the dogs' war effort, whether conscripted to serve on the battlefields as messengers or mine detectors, or as rescue dogs working in the rubble of bombed buildings, sniffing out survivors on the home front.
The Debs of Bletchley Park
and Other Stories
Bletchley Park may be famous for the exploits of Alan Turing and the team operating his first 'computer', but at the peak of its operations Station X employed as many as 12,000 people, two-thirds of whom were women. From language students to society debutantes and even a former ballerina, this book explores the extraordinary secret life of these women during the Second World War and the significant contribution they made to the Allied victory.
The Summer of '45
Stories and Voices from VE Day to VJ Day
The events of the months between the fall of Germany in May 1945 and the surrender of Japan in August would dictate the world order for generations. Combining archive material and original interviews with eyewitnesses, this people's history tells the story of civilians, soldiers, victors and vanquished across the globe during a fateful summer – from the VE celebrations in London and the continued fighting in the Pacific to the elation of VJ Day and the terrible aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The Trampled Wife
The Scandalous Life of Mary Eleanor Bowes
Mary Eleanor Bowes (1749-1800), direct ancestor of the Queen, was heiress to 'all the wealth of the north', but her life was anything but smooth and sweet. After an unhappy marriage to the 9th Earl of Strathmore, she fell into the cruel hands of an adventurer who resorted to extreme behaviour to get his hands on her money. Derek Parker tells an extraordinary true story of greed, blackmail, duelling, kidnapping and adultery that is more gripping than an historical novel.
The Workers' War
British Industry and the First World War
Despite early optimism that the First World War would be swiftly concluded and cause little disruption to British life, the long struggle in fact turned British industry on its head, encouraging technological and organizational advances and a rethinking of traditional gender roles as women took the place of men in the factories. This book examines how different industries coped with the demands of the war and the heroic efforts made by ordinary men and women to keep industry moving.
Britain and Oil in the Twentieth Century
Until the discovery of North Sea oil in the early 1970s, Britain had virtually no known oil of its own. Yet by 1914, British or part-British companies were producing oil in Persia, Russia, Romania, Mexico, Peru, Burma, Borneo and the USA. This history explains how that happened and how the two main companies, BP and Shell, remained world leaders in the oil industry, and examines how the industry has evolved and its role in the Second World War and crises such as Suez and the Arab-Israeli wars.
South African Pioneer, Poet and Abolitionist
The remarkable career of Thomas Pringle (1789–1834) began in Enlightenment Edinburgh, where he established himself as a poet and founding editor of Blackwood’s Magazine. This lively, authoritative biography tells how, in 1820, he led a party of settlers to South Africa, where he co-edited the Cape’s first independent newspaper and became a staunch champion of the rights of both settlers and dispossessed indigenous people, before returning to Britain to become Secretary of the Anti-Slavery Society.
How Britain Kept Calm and Carried On
Real-Life Stories from the Home Front
The 'Keep Calm and Carry On' poster was never used during the Second World War; people in Britain had kept calm and carried on without being told. Anton Rippon first started collecting these first-hand accounts of life on the home front in 1978, when memories of the war were relatively fresh. Above all, their strange, sad or downright funny stories illustrate the indomitable spirit and humour of the British people during the war years.
Life and Culture in the West, 1918–1938
Europe emerged from the First World War broken and traumatized, its beliefs shattered by four years of carnage. This wide-ranging history charts the social, political and intellectual climate of the age, as citizens of the West turned their energies towards the hedonism of the Jazz Age while artists, scientists and philosophers grappled with the question of how to live without certainties, and sinister new ideologies emerged from the wreckage of the old order.
Informal Justice in England and Wales, 1760–1914
The Courts of Popular Opinion
Examining ‘unofficial justice as visited upon malefactors by the collective actions of private citizens’, Stephen Banks gives a scholarly account of public shaming rituals, or ‘rough music’, and the punishments imposed for crimes such as wife-beating or informing.
Tales of the Flesh in the Age of Decorum
Lady Flora Hastings’s belly, Charles Darwin’s beard, George Eliot’s hand, Fanny Cornforth’s mouth and Sweet Fanny Adams: though close studies of these five famous or controversial body parts Hughes aims to understand ‘what it meant to be a human animal in the 19th century’.
From Downing Street to the Trenches
First-Hand Accounts from the Great War, 1914–1916
This collection adds some of the most eloquent voices of the age to the body of eyewitness evidence of the First World War. Drawn from the manuscript collection of the Bodleian Library in Oxford and covering the first two years of the conflict, from the front line to the Cabinet Office, the correspondents and diarists include Margot Asquith, Lewis Harcourt, TE Lawrence, WB Yeats and a young Harold Macmillan.
Waiting for War
After the declaration of war in September 1939, Britain waited tensely for an invasion that never came. Drawing on unpublished letters, this narrative history presents the stories of ordinary people as the lights went out, theatres closed, food and petrol were rationed and thousands of women and children were evacuated. Against the backdrop of the invasion of Poland and the disastrous Norway campaign, it captures the uneasy mood of the ‘Phoney War’ that ended with the fall of France.
Marcel Krueger’s grandmother, Cäcilie Barabasch was from a farming family in what is now Poland but was then East Prussia. In the severe cold of January 1945, aged around 20, Cäcilie was ‘mobilized’ and taken by the Red Army to the Soviet labour camps in the Urals, where she remained for five years before returning to Germany. Marcel Krueger tells her story and his own, as he retraces her journey by road and rail across today’s Poland and Russia.