Social & Industrial History
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.
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.
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.
Greasepaint and Cordite
The Story of ENSA and Concert Party Entertainment During the Second World War
During the course of the Second World War, the Entertainments National Services Association put on countless productions for the troops across the world, offering everything from music hall turns to Laurence Olivier. The enormous number of shows meant that the talent was spread thinly and performances were often delivered in difficult circumstances and inhospitable climes. Drawing on interviews with surviving ENSA performers, this book tells the colourful story of this most unusual and complex theatrical enterprise.
Britain's Great War Experience
Life at Home and Abroad 1914–1918
Beyond the horrors of the Western Front, the First World War sent Britons to the far corners of the globe and affected all aspects of life on the home front. This portfolio of contemporary photographs, documents, letters and ephemera (first published as The Worst Ordeal in 1994) takes the broadest view of the conflict – from the experiences of soldiers, sailors and airmen and their families to dealing with strikes, volunteer work, rationing, conscientious objectors and the Irish rebellion at home.
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.
When Schooldays Were Fun
A Lighthearted Look at 'the Best Days of Our Lives'
In spite of the hard benches, stodgy food and iron discipline that feature prominently in people's memories of education in Britain before about 1970, schooldays from this period are nevertheless often fondly remembered. Covering a period from about 1900 up to the 1970s, this nostalgic miscellany of archive photographs, literary references, poems and first-hand accounts recalls the eccentric teachers, interminable lessons, withering school reports and punishing sporting trials that were once the daily lot of British schoolchildren.
A Surprising History
This book seeks to show that throughout history royal prayers have had a place at the heart of a nation's life, and that monarchs continue to play a pivotal role in protecting the interests of their people today. Chapters discuss royal prayers at times of national tragedy or emergency, prayers to launch ships, prayers of remembrance, of patronage, and of support for endeavours of science or exploration. An appendix contains the Collects of each branch of the Armed Forces.
From Aldershot to Aden: Tales from the Conscripts, 1946–62
Retaining conscription after the Second World War, Britain required all young men to serve for 18 months (and after 1950, two years) unless employed in an exempt trade. Through interviews with 27 men across all the services and throughout the period of National Service, this book characterizes the experiences that shaped a generation, from fighting in Korea, Malaya, Kenya and Egypt to whitewashing coal in the local barracks.