Social & Industrial History
Nanny Knows Best: From Mary Poppins to Supernanny
The History of the British Nanny
This cultural history of the British nanny explores the difficult role they have always had in family life, as more than an employee but not quite part of the family. It reveals the origins of the British tradition of employing nannies, and the changes over time in our taste for this method of childcare. The scholarly text is informed by many personal stories of nannies, mothers and children, and a final chapter examines the portrayal of nannies in fiction and film.
The Plagues of London
For more than 400 years from the mid-14th century, bubonic plague was Europe's most deadly disease, profoundly affecting people's outlook and behaviour across the continent. As an international seaport, London was especially vulnerable; its last and most serious outbreak in 1665 killed around one fifth of the city's population. Porter's vivid history uses the accounts of Londoners who lived through the plague to describe its effects on their daily life. Slightly off-mint.
Seadogs Aboard an English Galleon
English ships of the 1520s were built principally for coastal sailing but over the following century designs, and the life of the men aboard, changed rapidly as Elizabethan mariners ventured far beyond home waters. Drawn from accounts of hundreds of 16th century and early 17th century ocean voyages, including the words of Drake and Ralegh, this book explores how these intrepid seamen coped with tropical heat, violent storms, bad water, rotten food, disease, navigational problems and enemy fire.
The Remarkable Story of The Public Benefit Boot Company
Throughout much of the 20th century, Benefit Footwear was a nationwide brand with retail stores, repair shops and factories stretching from Newcastle to Cornwall. Illustrated with period advertisements and archive photographs of Benefit shops and factories, this history traces the company's rise, from a single shop opened in Hull in 1875, and its ultimate fall as it was absorbed into the British Shoe Corporation in the 1960s and the name disappeared from British high streets.
Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey
The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle
Almina Wombwell married the 5th Earl of Carnarvon in 1895. She brought with her a large dowry, as the daughter of banking tycoon Alfred de Rothschild. This is the story of her life at Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey was filmed, and especially the ways in which the First World War affected the fates of the family and staff alike. The author, the current countess, draws on the extensive family archive to write this engaging and personal history.
Life in Shakespeare's London
The career of England's greatest playwright is inextricably linked with the history of its capital. Drawing on Shakespeare's works and other contemporary sources, Globe paints a vivid picture of Elizabethan London. It tells how James Burbage carried the timbers of his Shoreditch theatre across the river to build the Globe among the brothels of Bankside, how it burned down during a performance of Henry VIII, and how it rose again 300 years later.
Lingo of No Man's Land
A World War I Slang Dictionary
'Gun fire – a term referring to morning tea.' Compiled by a Canadian soldier in 1918, this dictionary of First World War vocabulary ranges from dry officialese ('intense bombardment') to Tommies' vivid slang ('Boche', 'Blighty' and 'over the top'). While some of the terms are now forgotten, many have become so much part of the language that it seems surprising that they ever required explanation: camouflage, crater, grenade and reconnaissance, to name but a few.
When Daddy Came Home
How War Changed Family Life Forever
Summer 1945. The men were coming home, and life would return to normal... or would it? Drawing on many interviews, this social history shows how hard families found it to adjust. Couples who had been apart for years were confused by their changed roles; children were reunited with fathers they hardly knew; and some men, traumatized by experiences they could not bring themselves to speak of, were angry and distant.
The Secret History of the Blitz
Chancers, Outcasts and Unsung Heroes
For a Hampstead woman in 1940, the experience of a bomb landing nearby turned 'a horrid, sick sort of fear' into 'pure and flawless happiness'. Such contradictions are typical of the paradoxical effects of the Blitz, which united people in a so-called 'Blitz spirit' and relaxed the usual social strictures but also encouraged crime, racketeering and looting. This history from the author of the bestselling Forgotten Voices series examines the experiences of Britons faced with these unprecedented circumstances.
The Debs of Bletchley Park
and Other Stories
Bletchley Park may be famous for the exploits of Alan Turing and the team operating his first 'computer', but at the peak of its operations Station X employed as many as 12,000 people, two-thirds of whom were women. From language students to society debutantes and even a former ballerina, this book explores the extraordinary secret life of these women during the Second World War and the significant contribution they made to the Allied victory.
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.
The Summer of '45
Stories and Voices from VE Day to VJ Day
The events of the months between the fall of Germany in May 1945 and the surrender of Japan in August would dictate the world order for generations. Combining archive material and original interviews with eyewitnesses, this people's history tells the story of civilians, soldiers, victors and vanquished across the globe during a fateful summer – from the VE celebrations in London and the continued fighting in the Pacific to the elation of VJ Day and the terrible aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Ancient to Present
For centuries, women have cut, coloured and styled their hair to change their appearance and express their personality. This history charts the changing fashions in the art of hairdressing from ancient Egypt to the present. Including over 1,000 illustrations and photographs, it celebrates the elaborate arrangements of the Romans, the bejewelled coiffures of the Renaissance, the bobs of the 1920s and the sophisticated cuts of today's leading stylists such as Anthony Mascolo, who provides the foreword.
The End of the Debutantes
Until 1958 the daughters of Britain's aristocracy would curtsey to the Queen, a rite of passage that formed the highlight of a season of society parties in an elaborate, strictly controlled mating game. Part memoir, part social history, this book interviews the surviving debutantes to show how this arcane, archaic ritual was finally swept away, opening up their lives in new and unexpected directions.
The People Behind the Power
Steeped in authoritarianism, secrecy and corruption, Russia continues to baffle and frustrate the West. Why is it the way it is? Traversing this vast country from the violent Caucasus to Arctic Siberia, journalist Gregory Feifer interviews hundreds of people, from oligarchs to beggars on Moscow's streets, about everything from sex and vodka to Russia's relations with the world. What emerges is a picture of a society bursting with vitality under a tradition-bound leadership often on the verge of collapse. Slightly off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
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.
The Monster Evil
Policing and Violence in Victorian Liverpool
Victorian Liverpool was an international port and the second city of the British Empire; it also had a notorious reputation as being a place of violence and crime. Archer explores the historical basis of that reputation; how the city was policed; and the reality of crime - as committed by men, women or juveniles - in Liverpool between 1850 and 1900.
Voices from the Dark Years
The Truth About Occupied France 1940–1945
Active collaborators and resisters were equally small minorities of the French population during les années sombres – the dark years of the Second World War; most people simply did what they needed to to survive. Based on interviews and previously unpublished accounts, this book looks beyond the traditional narrative of a defiant nation to reveal stories of compliance and partnership with the new regime as well as resilience in the face of extreme hardship.
Shakespeare's Pub: A Barstool History of London
as Seen Through the Windows of Its Oldest Pub - The George Inn
The George Inn in Southwark can trace its history back to the 16th century, and possibly hundreds of years earlier under another name. Standing on a key thoroughfare near London Bridge, the pub has seen the comings and goings of pilgrims, clerks, sailors and coachmen, as well as Shakespeare and Dickens. This well-researched and very readable 'biography' of The George comes from a three times winner of Beer Writer of the Year. Previously in Postscript as Shakespeare's Local.
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 Great Plague
The Story of London's Most Deadly Year
Between the death of Goodwoman Phillips in Saint Giles-in-the-Fields on Christmas Eve 1664 and January 1666, the Great Plague killed almost 100,000 people in and around London. In this engrossing study, historian A Lloyd Moote and microbiologist Dorothy C Moote describe the progress of the epidemic and investigate how people lived through the catastrophe, how they decided whether to leave or stay in the city, and what resources they drew on to survive amid so much death and disorder.
A Country Miscellany
Gleaned from the pages of Country Life magazine, from 1889 to around 1950, this is a selection of articles and readers’ letters, with their original illustrations, discussing rural customs, history and curiosities. It includes tales of horse fairs and mummers, cheese-rolling and smuggling silk, the Cerne Abbas giant and Stonehenge, and practical aspects of country living such as hedging and ditching, dry-stone-walling and ‘the plough in wartime’.
A Country Miscellany for the Discerning
Being a gentleman takes more than dressing the part. Knowing which horse to back in the 3.15 at Sandringham, or what gun to take for an elephant or a duck, is also de rigueur. With wit and charm, these pages cover every aspect of adventure, manners and sporting excellence to which a true gent should aspire.
Letters to the Editor
A Miscellany from the Pages of Country Life
Few subjects arouse such strong feelings as the rituals of rural England, so it is no surprise that the letters pages of Country Life are a treasure trove of eccentric pursuits, well-meaning advice and splenetic outrage. Variety is to the fore in this collection, with topics as diverse as lizards as pets, whether dogs see ghosts, and shooting burglars.
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.
A Photographic History
South Asians coming to Victorian Britain tended to be soldiers or domestics serving the Empire or the elite seeking education, but later mass migrations from the subcontinent, East Africa and the Caribbean started to forge a uniquely British Asian culture. Mixing images of ordinary people facing the challenges of living and working in their new home with political figures, activists, pioneers and celebrities, this photographic collection charts the experiences of Asians in Britain from the late 19th century to the present day.
South Shropshire's First World War
On 4 August 1914 Ludlow's mayor stood on the Town Hall balcony and read the declaration of war to an expectant crowd. Illustrated with historic photographs, this book charts the war's impact on Shropshire towns and villages such as Bridgnorth, Clun and Much Wenlock: the men who fought; the women who replaced them on the farms; the training camps and convalescent homes; and civilian morale.
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.
English Country Houses
First published in 1941, with illustrations by Felicity Price-Smith, this brief survey of English country houses is by the writer and gardener Vita Sackville-West, whose family home was Knole House, one of the very finest. Arranged chronologically from Norman castles to Vanbrugh’s ‘monsters of construction’, the book emphasizes the country house as part of rural England, and how ‘its peculiar genius…lies in its knack of fitting in’. Reprinted in the In Arcadia series.
Crystal Palace Speedway
A History of the Glaziers
Having witnessed short-track motorcycle racing in Australia in the 1920s, two entrepreneurs brought the spectacle to London, building a track in Crystal Palace Park. This book tells the history of the early years of British speedway and the Crystal Palace Glaziers team, who raced at the circuit in the late 1920s and 1930s, and explains how poor management led to the closure of the track before the post-war speedway boom.
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 Children History Forgot
Young Workers of The Industrial Age
The dark truth behind the glittering displays of merchandise in the Great Exhibition's Crystal Palace was how those products – the glass, cutlery, lace, candles and cotton – were made by children of all ages labouring in the mines and factories of Georgian and Victorian Britain. This study looks at the various industries and occupations that used child labour, including agriculture and the infamous chimney sweeping, and describes the painfully slow struggle to improve working conditions and educational opportunities for the children.
Life in Victorian Bristol
Although Bristol was already a thriving port and elegant town by Georgian times, most of the framework of the modern city was laid out in the Victorian era, when rapid expansion saw the introduction of sewerage and gas networks, schools, and public institutions such as libraries and the art gallery and museum. Helen Reid presents a fascinating glimpse into the Victorians' world, using original photographs and extracts from books, letters, journals and newspapers.
The Trampled Wife
The Scandalous Life of Mary Eleanor Bowes
Mary Eleanor Bowes (1749-1800), direct ancestor of the Queen, was heiress to 'all the wealth of the north', but her life was anything but smooth and sweet. After an unhappy marriage to the 9th Earl of Strathmore, she fell into the cruel hands of an adventurer who resorted to extreme behaviour to get his hands on her money. Derek Parker tells an extraordinary true story of greed, blackmail, duelling, kidnapping and adultery that is more gripping than an historical novel.
The Making of Victorian Values
Decency and Dissent in Britain: 1789–1837
Ben Wilson explores 'the way the British went about moral rearmament' in the early 19th century. His focus is on the generation born in the aftermath of the American and French revolutions, and he begins with the libertine spirit inspired by Byron, Shelley and the Romantics. He then examines how 'an alliance of evangelical reformers and secular utilitarians' fought against forms of debauchery and vice to shape the moral, political and social character of 19th century Britain. Slightly off-mint.
Love and Madness in the Eighteenth Century
Here is an enduring tale with 'a heady combination of sex, murder and celebrity stalking': in April 1779 a young soldier, James Hackman, murdered the Earl of Sandwich's mistress before attempting suicide. John Brewer investigates the facts of the case and examines the great variety of interpretations of them - prurient, moralizing, gothic, political and romantic - in the ensuing centuries.
The Great Silence
Britain from the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age
From the moment the guns fell silent on 11 November 1918 to the burial of the Unknown Soldier two years later, Britain struggled to come to terms with its bitter victory. Millions were bereaved, thousands physically or psychologically maimed, and soldiers returned to face unemployment and social unrest. Through the day-to-day experience of figures ranging from the King and Queen to ex-servicemen, this sensitive account evokes the uneasy silence that reigned between the Great War and the Roaring Twenties.
Sweet Water and Bitter
The Ships that Stopped the Slave Trade
In 1807, the British Parliament abolished slavery throughout the Empire. The trade in human misery did not stop, however, as other countries - and illegal slavers - continued to abduct people from the coasts of West Africa. Combining meticulous research with narrative verve, this compelling book tells the story of how, in six decades of dramatic and daring action on the high seas, the Royal Navy's 'Preventative Squadron' liberated 150,000 Africans at the cost of 17,000 of its own men.