Social & Industrial History
The Story of Civilian Volunteers in the First World War
The scale of support given by volunteers and charities during the First World War to troops, prisoners of war, refugees and the wounded is often overlooked. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children (but mainly women) from all backgrounds devoted time and energy to fundraising and practical help, many risking their lives on the front line. This history of their efforts, which involved the making and packaging of ‘comforts’, nursing, driving ambulances and entertaining, acknowledges their compassion and generosity.
A Colourful History of Cosmetics
From prehistoric body art and ancient Egyptian anti-ageing preparations, through lethal white lead and crocodile dung (both used to make the face paler) in Roman times, medieval pomanders and the painted faces of 16th-century aristocrats, to radium night cream in the 1930s, Susan Stewart traces the history of cosmetics and the ideals of beauty that inspired men and women to take such terrible risks in the fight against time and the wrinkle.
Moon Landings, The Kinks and the 1966 World Cup
Increasing disposable income, new technologies and social reform changed British life in the 1960s and made it an exciting time to be growing up. This round-up of 1960s culture describes what life was like for many British children, at home and at school, and recalls the entertainments that made the period so memorable, from books, comics, toys and TV programmes to pop music and fashion.
‘I Was Transformed’
Frederick Douglass: An American Slave in Victorian Britain
In the summer of 1845, Frederick Douglass, a young slave catapulted to fame by his bestselling autobiography, arrived in Liverpool for a two-year tour of Britain and Ireland. Drawing on a wide range of sources on both sides of the Atlantic, this absorbing history explores the ‘liberating sojourn’ that bought Douglass’s freedom, paid for by British supporters. It charts his return to the USA as an international celebrity, and his later life through the Civil War and its aftermath.
Voices of the First World War
A crucially important port during the First World War, the city of Liverpool also reflected the domestic political problems of the day with industrial unrest and Irish home rule both pertinent topics for the large working class and Irish populations. Through letters and diaries, this book highlights the experiences and attitudes of people living and working in the city during the period as well as Merseysiders serving abroad.
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.
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.
Behind the Counter
Shop Lives from Market Stall to Supermarket
Pamela Horn tells the story of the people who worked in the retail trade from the beginning of the 18th century to the 1960s, a period which saw growing urbanization and more and more people dependent on shops. Using diaries and memoirs, the study investigates working life in corner shops, 'high class' grocers, co-operative stores, drapers' shops and department stores, offering a lively insight into social change and working conditions, and into our changing relationship with shops and shopping.
Everyday Life in Tudor London
Stephen Porter describes the practicalities and personalities of Tudor London; from 1485, when the victorious Henry Tudor arrived after Bosworth with an army so unruly, the Mayor proclaimed a curfew, to 1600, by which time overcrowding and congestion in the city streets had led to parking restrictions. With a wealth of detail, Porter evokes a bustling trading city, the hub of England's political and cultural life, and home to royalty, rogues, churchmen, tradespeople and, by all accounts, beautiful women.
The Unconventional King
Edward II, who ruled from 1307 until 1327, when he was forced to abdicate, was undeniably a failure as a king and as a war leader. Kathryn Warner's biography accepts Edward's many failings, but seeks to provide a fuller portrait than the usual portrayal of the wayward and ineffectual ruler. She explores Edward's personality and contemporary perceptions of him, demolishes the myths, and reveals an erratic person, who was born into an hereditary monarchy and had no choice but to be king.
The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp
In the late 19th century, a young Welsh tearaway boarded ship for America, where he lived as a hobo, jumping freight trains and living in doss-houses. After losing a leg in a railway accident, he returned to Britain, determined to make his living as a writer. His autobiography, reprinted here with a new introduction, became an instant classic. Its vivid picture of life on the road and understated account of his own adventures still make gripping reading today.
London's Great Plague
With extracts from his diary, this book traces the course of the Great Plague in London as experienced by Samuel Pepys: from October 1663 when he first mentions that there is news of plague in Amsterdam; through the summer of 1665 when over 6,000 people were dying every week; to the Great Fire that destroyed both London and the disease in the city in September 1666.
Spangles, Tiddlywinks and The Clitheroe Kid
Childhood in the 1950s was very different from what it is today. With no video games, few televisions and no ready meals, children played conkers, climbed trees, constructed go-karts and built dens on bomb sites. This book recaptures that lost era, bringing to life the experiences of home and school, childhood illnesses, simple toys, sweets, comics, films and music of the period, along with games such as 'It' and 'Knock Down Ginger'.
What the Suffragists Did Next
How the Fight for Women's Rights Went On
The suffragists of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) - as distinct from the suffragettes - did not disband in 1917 when the vote was given to some women. Although franchise had been their primary goal, they had other aims for women. This book looks at the lives of eight suffragists and how they continued the struggle for equality in various fields, among them Eleanor Lodge in higher education, Ellen Wilkinson in Socialist politics and Dr Isabel Emslie Hutton in medicine.
A Century in the Making
This history of the Women’s Institute in England and Wales begins with the foundation of the first branches in 1915, when, having won the right to vote, ex-Suffragists sought to give women new confidence and better education. Curtis describes the WI’s growth into a significant women’s movement and shows how it has continued to evolve since the worldwide success of the film Calendar Girls helped it shed the ‘jam and Jerusalem’ image. (Previously sold in Postscript as The WI: A Centenary History).
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.
Witchcraft and Witch Hunting in the West
Why were witch hunts so prevalent in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries, apparently a period of increasing confidence and rationality? This study explores the motivations – social, personal and political – behind accusations of witchcraft; contemporary beliefs about ‘assaults of Satan’; and connections between witch trials and the medieval persecution of heretics. The author also describes more recent responses to fears of satanic influence and identifies the lessons we can still learn about the need to re-examine our preconceived ideas.
The People's History of Native Americans
Discovered after the death of the distinguished American historian Page Smith (1917–1995), and published posthumously, this volume was intended as the final part of Smith's People's History of America. The narrative traces the Native American story from the first encounter with Europeans to the end of the Indian Wars at Wounded Knee in 1890, but rather than a comprehensive history, Smith aims to explore the nature of the interchange between white settlers and the indigenous peoples of North America.