Social & Industrial History
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.
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.
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’.
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.
The Secret World of the Victorian Lodging House
Throughout the burgeoning cities of Victorian Britain, lodging houses provided shelter to those who flocked from the countryside in search of work. Crowded, insanitary and often disreputable, they aroused the horror of respectable society, and were viewed as hotbeds of crime and disease. Drawing on contemporary accounts, newspaper reports and court cases, this fascinating social history shines a light into the shadowy world of itinerant labourers, criminals, street entertainers, peddlers, prostitutes, abandoned children, and families fallen on hard times.
A History of Adoption in England and Wales
Gill Rossini traces the social history of adoption from the ‘fallen woman’ and makeshift arrangements for unwanted children and orphans of the 19th century, through the 1926 Adoption of Children Act to the shift in attitudes that followed the NHS release of the contraceptive pill in 1961. Rossini’s study uses real stories; deals with topics such as charitable institutions, baby farming, the First World War, and the 1945 illegitimate baby boom; and ends with a guide to resources for researching an adoption.
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 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.
Conscientious Objectors of the Second World War
Refusing to Fight
More than 63,000 people registered as conscientious objectors (COs) during the Second World War. Drawn from all walks of life, their number included prominent citizens such as the playwright Christopher Fry and the composer Michael Tippett. In this history, Ann Kramer draws on interviews, newspaper accounts, letters and diaries to describe how they came to the decision to take a stand against war, the process of being designated a CO and the ostracism, abuse and even imprisonment that often followed.
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.
The Home Front in the Great War
Aspects of the Conflict 1914–1918
The Great War was the first to have a deep impact on every aspect of civilian life. This book examines its effects on society at home, from recruitment drives and rationing to Zeppelin raids and the return of wounded servicemen. Drawing on personal accounts and newspaper and magazine articles, and extensively illustrated with period photographs, it explores the war's effects on industry, employment, labour relations, the press, the class system and the role of women. First published in 2003.
The Home Front
Sheffield in the First World War
Sheffield's factories played a key part in producing weapons for the First World War, but the conflict was brought home to the city not just by the challenges of the home front but by a direct Zeppelin attack in 1916. This book focuses on the human experience of the period, from nursing the wounded and housing PoWs to conscientious objectors.
Life in the Georgian Court
When Queen Anne died in 1714, George, Elector of Hanover, acceded to the British throne. Organized in four main acts – Childhood, Marriage, Scandal and Death – rather than as a comprehensive history, this is a collection of true stories from the Georgian era. Romantic, tragic, eccentric and sometimes gory, the tales are engagingly told, revealing the real people beneath the wigs and pomp of the period, and complemented by a useful timeline and a section of black-and-white portraits.
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.
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.
A Pauper's History of England
1,000 Years of Peasants, Beggars & Guttersnipes
Rather than viewing history from the perspective of the rulers, Peter Stubley reveals what life was like for the poor as England developed from a feudal society into a world power. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary sources, this book vividly recreates the grinding existence of labourers, paupers and beggars from the Norman Conquest to the Victorian era, via the Peasants’ Revolt, the Civil War, Gin Alley and the Luddite riots.
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 through 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.
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 relatives 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.
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.
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.
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.
Growing Up in the Not-So-Friendly 'Baby Boomer' Years
Many Baby-Boomers view their childhoods nostalgically as a time when the young were allowed to roam free, untrammelled by concerns for safety. This book takes a cool look at the facts to reveal that life was far more hazardous and unpleasant for a child then than it is now. Even with far fewer cars on the roads, for example, more than 45 times as many children were knocked down and killed in 1965 than today.
Digging in the Dark
A History of the Yorkshire Resurrectionists
‘It is nature that teaches us to use the bodies of the dead to preserve the bodies of the living,’ argued a solicitor’s clerk found guilty of body snatching in 1831. He is just one of the Yorkshire grave-robbers, from many walks of life, who appear in this compendium of grim tales. Johnson vividly describes the resurrectionists’ macabre methods, the violent public protests against their activities and the private anguish of their victims’ families.