Filed under womens issues

Railway Navvies

This book by Terry Coleman shines a light on the private lives of these hard working and hard drinking men, and the – often unfortunate – women who became their partners. These men seem to have had a rather mixed reputation, as I have read of them being romantic characters, in their colourful vests and kerchiefs … Continue reading

Scottish Witches

Here’s another piece from Social Life of Scotland  in the 18th century: “Many other matters came under e cognisance of the ever bush ecclesiastical authorities.Most conspicuous of these were charges of “trafficking with Satan.” Superstition was spread amongst all classes; there was not an event of their lives, from birth to death, which was free … Continue reading

Botany Bay Man

My latest favourite book is Paupers & Pig Killers by the Rev William Holland, who comes across as a thoroughly decent chap, with an often  wicked sense of humour and his family, though well off by the standards of many in his parish of Stowey in Somerset, also spread manure on the fields and was … Continue reading

Late Marriages

In places like Middlesborough, where most of the work was for men at the ironworks, women were in a minority and seldom single. There is also an assumption that people lived short lives, the ‘average age’ of 35 often being cited, but they often saw old bones. This is from Lady Bell’s At the Works: … Continue reading

Workers and Reading

Lady Bell devotes a whole chapter of her At the Works to the subject of literacy, suggesting that the spread of literacy does not necessarily lead to the enjoyment of literature. At the time of the French Revolution, there was a great fear in Britain of the poor learning to read, but especially to write, … Continue reading

A Late Convenience

In Current Archaeology is a review of The English Railway Station which details the evolution from modified Georgian houses to the grand cathedrals we still use and love. But, since the original use of the railways was for freight rather than passengers, facilities we now take for granted were long coming : “Left luggage offices … Continue reading