Social & Industrial History
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. In vivid prose, 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.
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.
Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes
The Story of Women in the 1950s
What did it feel like to be a young woman in the 1950s? Virginia Nicholson examines the pressures under which women lived in a post-war culture characterized by sex discrimination, inhibition, conservatism and hierarchy, and in thrall to the ideals of marriage, home and the perfect wife. With the emphasis on real women's experience, she explores topics from coronation fever, through 'how to get your man' manuals, housework and paid employment to the pervasive fear of atomic war. Slightly off-mint.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
'You've Never Had It So Good!'
Recollections of Life in the 1950s
With full employment, a boom in car sales, and washing machines making housework less of a chore, life in the 1950s certainly seemed better than ever before. Following a theme, such as family life, childhood or the rise of television, each chapter in this compendium brings together recollections of those who lived through the decade, remembering everything from sweet rationing to the meagre contents of a Christmas stocking, and how to find Indian spices.
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.
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.
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.
Stars in Battledress
A Light-Hearted Look at Service Entertainment in the Second World War
Many of the stars of post-war British entertainment cut their teeth in Army entertainment; established artistes as part of ENSA and, braving the front lines, Stars in Battledress using talent drawn from the serving ranks. This book recounts the stories of such members as Charlie Chester and Spike Milligan as well as tales of the post-war Combined Service Entertainment in which Frankie Howerd and Stanley Baxter learned their trade.
London and the Making of the Permissive Society
Did sex really begin, as Philip Larkin wrote, in 1963? This groundbreaking cultural history challenges the orthodox view and uncovers the first stirrings of the sexual revolution amid the austerity of fifties London. Conducting the reader on a peephole tour from Whitehall to the fleshpots of Soho, it shows how a series of scandals involving murder, espionage, prostitution, blackmail and homosexuality reshaped public and private behaviour, and captures a key moment in the making of modern Britain.
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.
Our Land at War
A Portrait of Rural Britain 1939–45
Duff Hart-Davis examines how, in farms and villages, forestry land and country estates, the 'old ways' of Britain's countryside were challenged by the demands of war. As well as the profound impact of the need to grow more food and the loss of workforce as young men enlisted, the book examines the effects of the new role of women, the Land Girls and Lumber Jills, the requisition of land and houses, and the arrival of evacuees, Americans and prisoners of war.
A Royal Christmas
With privileged access to the Royal Archives, Jeremy Archer has uncovered personal accounts of the royal family at Christmastime. His anthology reveals how monarchs have celebrated the festival -from 1066, when William I was crowned on Christmas Day, to the Queen's Christmas broadcast 2011. In themed chapters, Archer quotes at length from his royal sources as he explores Christmases at home and abroad, in times of crisis and conflict, and family rituals of feasts, pastimes and the exchange of gifts.
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.
Physick and the Family
Health, Medicine and Care in Wales, 1600-1750
How well equipped was the early modern household to prepare medicines? Who was responsible for caring for the sick, both at home and in the community? Drawing on largely unexplored source material, as well as a number of different approaches and methodologies, Withey offers new insights into the early modern experience of illness, medicine and care through a study of the medical history of 17th-century Wales.
When the Children Came Home
Stories from Wartime Evacuees
On 1 September 1939 Operation Pied Piper began, evacuating one and a half million children, pregnant women and school teachers from Britain's industrial cities, beyond the reach of the Luftwaffe. It was a varied experience - children went to British foster families or abroad; some stayed weeks, others years; while some enjoyed it, others hated it; and homecoming was not always easy. Using interviews and memoirs, Julie Summers weaves together evacuees' stories to give a children's perspective on wartime Britain.
Conflict in Early Modern England
Described by one reviewer as 'wonderfully mischievous', this study argues against the view that people in early modern England assumed patriarchy to be natural and necessary, and that the 'public man', 'private woman' distinction explained the political subordination of women. Showing how conflict rather than patriarchal accord was pervasive in households as husbands, wives and servants struggled for authority, Herzog conjures up 'a social world full of ornery, funny, sickening, and lethal controversies about gender, misogyny, public and private'.
The Books of Assumption of the Thirds of Benefices
Scottish Ecclesiastical Rentals at the Reformation
The late medieval church was the wealthiest single landowner in Scotland, with an annual income ten times that of the crown. Compiled for the crown – and the tax-gatherer – the Books of Assumption surveys the incomes of church properties in Scotland (except Argyll and the Isles) in the 1560s. Presented here in calendared form, it provides an enormous amount of data on the church's income and expenditure and the society in which it played such an important part.
A Centenary History
Formed during the First World War to improve the nation's food supply, the Women's Institute has been a pillar of British society for a century. This history describes how its founders aimed to raise the confidence of women, providing opportunities for public speaking and organization; how it responded to the challenges of the Second World War and a new wave of feminism in the 1960s; and how its fortunes were revived by the spectacular success of the Calendar Girls.
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.
Nanny Knows Best
The History of the British Nanny
This cultural history of the British nanny explores the difficult role they have always had in family life, as more than an employee but not quite part of the family. It reveals the origins of the British tradition of employing nannies, and the changes over time in our taste for this method of childcare. The scholarly text is informed by many personal stories of nannies, mothers and children, and a final chapter examines the portrayal of nannies in fiction and film.
Life in Shakespeare's London
The career of England's greatest playwright is inextricably linked with the history of its capital. Drawing on Shakespeare's works and other contemporary sources, Globe paints a vivid picture of Elizabethan London. It tells how James Burbage carried the timbers of his Shoreditch theatre across the river to build the Globe among the brothels of Bankside, how it burned down during a performance of Henry VIII, and how it rose again 300 years later.
When Daddy Came Home
How War Changed Family Life Forever
Summer 1945. The men were coming home, and life would return to normal... or would it? Drawing on many interviews, this social history shows how hard families found it to adjust. Couples who had been apart for years were confused by their changed roles; children were reunited with fathers they hardly knew; and some men, traumatized by experiences they could not bring themselves to speak of, were angry and distant.
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.