Social & Industrial History
Britain in Pictures: ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s
(three volume set)
Compiled from The Press Association’s archives, these visual histories of Britain in the mid 20th century evoke the spirit of each decade through reportage photographs of prominent personalities, events and scenes of everyday life, arranged chronologically and accompanied by detailed captions. The titles included in this set are: The 1940s (Read more...) The 1950s (Read more...) The 1960s (Read more...)
Britain in Pictures: ‘70s, ‘80s
(two volume set)
Compiled from the Press Association’s archives, these visual histories of Britain in the 1970s and 1980s evoke the spirit of each decade through reportage photographs of prominent personalities, events and scenes of everyday life, arranged chronologically and accompanied by detailed captions. The two items included in this set are:The 1970s (Read more...) The 1980s (Read more...)
An English Odyssey
The Pendleburys of Lancashire and London: Nine Generations of a Working Family
The Pendleburys were an English family of alehouse keepers, cotton workers, parish clerks, soldiers, washerwomen and warehousemen, whose genealogical records can be traced back to the 1600s. This history, written by a descendant of the family, follows their fortunes from the social and religious turmoil of the 17th century through the cotton boom of 18th-century Lancashire to the unforgiving streets of Victorian London.
From Cabin 'Boys' to Captains
250 Years of Women at Sea
For centuries the sea was considered a male preserve. Using interviews and unpublished sources, this book traces the lives of women seafarers, from 18th century pirates such as Anne Bonney, and girls disguised as cabin boys, to the cruise-liner and container-ship captains of today.
A Powerful True Story
Returning to Ireland after 50 years, Gordon Lewis began to investigate the secrets of his childhood, only to be told not to go ‘digging up that old stuff’. Brought up in the 1950s in a secretive Catholic hostel for unmarried women, he had little idea of the hardships his mother had suffered, or her determination to keep her child, in defiance of an intolerant society.
Memories of a Rascal's 1950s Childhood
With a turbulent home life, the young Peter Stockley found adventure and a sense of belonging with his gang, ‘the Scallywags’. Free to roam Liverpool’s streets, they explored bombed-out houses, swam in rat-infested canals and hung on to the backs of speeding lorries. Although some of Stockley’s adventures had serious consequences, this nostalgic memoir tells his story with wit and humour. Slightly off-mint.
The Forgotten Children
Fairbridge Farm School and its Betrayal of Britain's Child Migrants
Between 1938 and 1974, thousands of British children were sent to Australia for a better life. Drawing on survivors’ testimonies, this exposé uncovers the grim reality that met them: inadequate education, poor quality food, and physical and sexual abuse.
Bandaging the Blitz
Phyll Macdonald-Ross was a trainee nurse at Hackney Hospital in London’s East End when war was declared in September 1939. Her memoir recalls the rigid discipline and hard work of nursing, and the harrowing experience of tending the injured and dying during the Blitz in London, but also friendship and mischief, and the beginning of a lifelong love affair. The story was presented in 2015, Phyll’s 95th year, by her grandson ID Roberts.
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.
Glad Tidings of Struggle and Strife
A History of Protest Christmas Cards
Yuletide greetings from the Spanish Civil War and Korea; the Three Wise Men stopped by border patrols; Tony Blair with a sleigh distributing missiles over the desert; David Cameron in a sleigh distributing parcels of cuts ... Presenting some 250 cards from their own collection, Llew and Pam Smith offer an unusual history of British political life, traced through the ways in which political parties, unions and protest groups have spread their message using Christmas cards.
Moustaches, Whiskers & Beards
The extravagant whiskers of prominent Victorians such as Charles Darwin and WG Grace seemed impossibly archaic until the recent 'hipster' fashion reinvented the wearing of long beards for young men for the first time since the hippies of the 1960s. This book traces the history of fashions in facial hair from the ancients to the present day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Oldest Hatred
John Mann, the Labour MP, has brought together essays, speeches and articles by a variety of public figures who have spoken against anti-Semitism and racism, from George Washington's letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport (1790) and Émile Zola's defence of Dreyfus in 1898 to a campaign speech by Barack Obama in 2008. Among another 30 writers represented are Maxim Gorky, Elie Wiesel, John F Kennedy and Winston Churchill, and for each author Mann provides a substantial historical introduction.
'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.
Miller of Dee
The Story of Chester Mills and Millers, their Trades and Wares, the Weir, the Water Engine and the Salmon
Corn mills on the River Dee by the King’s Pool were built in the eleventh century and that part of Chester and Handbridge became one of the most important medieval and post-medieval industrial sites in Britain. In this illustrated industrial history, Roy Wilding presents a detailed look at the many wares besides flour – leather goods, paper, snuff and needles – that were produced by the mills; and he also describes fishing in the Dee.
A Dance Through Time
Images of Western Social Dancing from the Middle Ages to Modern Times
Where depictions of peasant revels may be exuberant and unfettered, the stately codes of formal dance before the modern era created a tension between sobriety and decorum and underlying emotion or sexual tension. This art history curates images of dance from the Bodleian Library and explores their different meanings and themes, including how artists have conveyed the movement of dance technically and the social and historical information that can be gleaned from depictions of dancing, instructional illustrations and satirical sketches.
Horse-Drawn Transport in Leeds
William Turton, Corn Merchant and Tramway Entrepreneur
Although steam power was transforming the nation's transport in the 19th century, the horse-drawn tram survived in cities long enough to be replaced in most areas by electric traction, rather than by steam. This history examines the introduction of these early urban transport systems from the 1870s through the career of Yorkshire entrepreneur William Turton, who founded the Leeds Tramways Company and ran horse tramway services in major cities across the north of England.
A History of the Liverpool Waterfront 1850–1890
The Struggle for Organisation
In an age before steam had ousted the clippers and Liverpool’s quays were still a forest of masts, the city’s 18,000 dock workers – many of them of Irish descent – began to organize themselves into trades unions. Extensively illustrated with historic prints and photographs, this groundbreaking study charts the struggles of these workers to improve their conditions and build self-reliance in the face of increasing mechanization, and vividly recreates the hustle and bustle of the Victorian waterfront.
Letters to the Midwife
Jennifer Worth (1935–2011) based her hugely successful books, Call the Midwife, Shadows of the Workhouse and Farewell to the East End, on her own experiences in the East End in the 1950s. This book contains letters from all sorts of people – from other midwives to lorry drivers – responding to the books and telling their own stories. There are also writings by Jennifer herself, a biographical introduction by family members and a foreword by Miranda Hart.
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.
The Justice Women
The Female Presence in the Criminal Justice System 1800–1970
Today we are accustomed to seeing female police officers, barristers and judges, but this only came about through more than a century of struggle. This absorbing book traces the history of the fight for equality and professional status through the lives of pioneering women in the legal system. They include Edith Smith, the first woman police officer to be sworn in, Lilian Wyles, the first female chief inspector, and the remarkable judge Rose Heilbron.
A 1960s East End Childhood
To anyone who remembers playing in traffic-free streets or watching the moon landing on TV, Webb's memoir will be a nostalgic trip back to childhood in the 1960s in London's East End. To anyone younger, it is a picture of life in a different world, where bombsites and die-cast cars were the height of kids' entertainment and 'summer holiday' often meant staying with granny in Basildon.
Dole Queues and Demons
British Election Posters from the Conservative Party Archive
A unique blend of graphic design, bold artwork and cunning psychology, election posters are an unsung art form. Drawing on the Conservative Party archive at the Bodleian Library, this lavishly illustrated book charts 100 years of political advertising, lampooning opponents from Lloyd George to Tony Blair. Its ten chronological chapters chart the political history of Britain, changing ideologies and social attitudes, and fashions in advertising. A foreword by communications guru Maurice Saatchi discusses the posters from a design perspective.