Much has been written about the mortality of our ancestors, and we know about high infant mortality rates and how illnesses or accidents that today could be easily treated once left our ancestors at a high risk of dying early. This doesn’t mean that everyone died young, of course, but it is still surprising to read of individuals who lived to what would be considered even today as a ripe old age. These individuals escaped the diseases and illnesses that waylaid others to live long lives, and often merited them mention in their local newspapers – their longevity in itself being newsworthy.
On 3 July 1931 the Rugby Advertiser recognised the work of Agnes Loomes JP ‘as an infant welfare pioneer’. It noted that as ‘honorary secretary and joint organiser’ Agnes had experienced ‘years of anxious labour and personal sacrifice’ which was ‘untiredly and ungrudgingly given’ to establish the Fletton Voluntary Infant Welfare Association. </p> <p>Agnes Marshall Grey was the daughter of Rugby farmer James and his wife Isabella. In 1901 she moved to Fletton, Huntingdonshire, to take up the position of headmistress at the newly opened Fletton Board School.
In a London laboratory in 1928 a chance event took place that changed the course of medicine. A bacteriologist at St Mary’s Hospital in Praed Street, London had returned from a period of leave when, while talking to a colleague, he noticed something on an agar plate. There was a zone around a fungus growing on the petri dish in which the bacteria was not multiplying. The doctor, Alexander Fleming, isolated the mould and identified it as belonging to the Penicillium genus and taking an extract from the mould, he named its active agent as penicillin. Fleming realised that penicillin had an antibacterial effect on bacteria known as staphylococci as well as on other ‘gram-positive’ pathogens. Fleming’s name would be forever linked to this discovery even though it took a decade before it could be purified for its first clinical use.
As we saw in the February issue, the sale and use of many Indian cottons were prohibited 1721–1780, but calicoes and colourful printed chintzes for garments and furnishings remained fashionable in Georgian Britain, especially among the expanding middle classes. Many were smuggled in, but markets were shifting and by the mid-1700s demand favoured plain Indian cloth finished (printed) in Europe. English manufacturers began to produce printed fustians (fabrics with a cotton weft and linen warp), and by the late 1700s pure cotton textiles.
This book is innovative. A plethora of genealogy books primarily assume that family history research is by adults, for adults, marking family history as an ‘adults only’ sphere of life. This book establishes a new dimension in family history research. It is written in the belief that engaging in family history is a venture for all of the present-day family, regardless of age and, sometimes, because of age. To assist those of all ages who venture into this wider domain of family history the book is laden with practical examples.
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