School Songs and Gymslips
Grammar Schools in the 1950s and 1960s
With tales from the days of indoor sandals and navy knickers, Latin verbs and transistor radios, semolina pudding and O Levels, this light-hearted social history is based on the experiences of pupils from 18 schools around the country and describes how things were for grammar school girls – at school and at home – between about 1955 and 1965.
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’.
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.
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.
Sex and Punishment
Four Thousand Years of Judging Desire
Sex is one of the most powerful human drives, and societies have sought to regulate it since the dawn of history. Meticulous, scholarly, yet laced with spicy anecdote, this chronological survey ranges from the brutal impalement of an adulteress in Mesopotamia to the trials of Oscar Wilde. Peopled with transvestites, rent boys, royal mistresses and gay charioteers, it demonstrates how what is 'normal' in one age is forbidden in another, exposing the futility of such attempts to constrain human sexuality.
Factory Production in Nineteenth-Century Britain
This anthology brings together writings that suggest the scope of responses – from wondrous celebration to apocalyptic horror – elicited by the advent and establishment of the factory system in 19th century Britain. Addressing complex questions about the possible effects of mass production on human life and labour, the collection includes important works by Adam Smith, Ruskin, Carlyle and Morris alongside extracts from lesser-known factory tourists' tales and inspectors' reports, a Luddite pamphlet and a cotton mill worker's autobiography.
Ribbons Among the Rajahs
A History of British Women in India Before the Raj
During the 18th and early 19th centuries, legions of women made the long, costly and hazardous journey to India, some accompanying husbands, others seeking a husband or employment, others still from a sense of adventure; but while the women of the Raj are familiar from literature, these pioneers are generally forgotten. Between the voyage out and their deaths in India, Patrick Wheeler’s social history offers an account of everyday life for these ‘Indian British’ women during the pre-imperial era.