We all know something of the rationing, Make Do and Mend and Utility initiatives that shaped dress and many facets of everyday life throughout and after the Second World War, but what of Home Front fashion during the Great War? While the British government did not directly intervene to control civilian clothing production and purchases as it did in the 1940s, throughout the First World War many of our female ancestors struggling without male support endured not only reduced incomes, but also escalating prices, dwindling clothing supplies, and often longer working hours. Making ends meet and keeping up appearances while facing increasing challenges were vital for maintaining standards and presenting a respectable, capable image.
There are many different records and resources which can be useful when it comes to building an accurate picture of our ancestors and their lives. One particularly intriguing way, that many of us may not think of using, is to refer to the early telephone subscriber directories such as those from the very beginning of the 20th century. These have now been made fully searchable on TheGenealogist’s website, www.thegenealogist.co.uk.
Before the 20th century, the mere idea of a woman officially serving in the Royal Navy would have been laughed at. However, this didn’t stop some women trying. Hannah Snell, for example, successfully impersonated a man and joined the Royal Marines as far back as 1747, where she remained undetected on board naval ships for three years. It is also known that during Nelson’s era a blind eye was often turned to women living on naval vessels as the partners
“Peter was a very nice little boy, but he had one great fault; he was greedy, and he was specially greedy about chocolates." This short story, from a 1941 issue of the Liverpool Evening Express, was a rewriting of Alice in Wonderland, the newspaper making it a cautionary story about a greedy little boy who ‘could keep on eating chocolate all day long’. In this nightmarish tale, the boy, Peter, was taught a lesson about greed and consumption – something deemed necessary during the increasingly difficult war years, but also a reflection of the great hold that one particular, sweet, substance had on children in Britain.
The Museum of London has opened a major exhibition about the Great Fire of London, which took place 350 years ago next month. Fire! Fire! combines a variety of sights, sounds, smells, textures and interactive exhibits to immerse visitors in the events leading up to, during and after the Great Fire of London in 1666.
The Church of England – now part of the worldwide Anglican Communion – has its origins in Henry VIII’s break from the Roman Catholic Church in the 1530s, but has since maintained its position as via media between Catholicism and those Protestant churches that broke away during the seismic changes brought by the Reformation. Henry’s daughter, Elizabeth I, did not take the title of Supreme Head of the English church, nor did she wish to ‘make windows into men’s souls’ as far as people’s beliefs were concerned. Hence the Anglican Church occupies a middle ground, retaining an ordained clergy and the concept of apostolic succession, yet separate from papal Roman Catholicism.
For over 500 years, between the 14th and 19th centuries, the Justices of the Peace were the embodiment of government for most of our ancestors. The records they and other county officials kept are invaluable sources for local and family historians, and Stuart Raymond's handbook is the first in-depth guide to them. He shows how and why they were created, what information they contain, and how they can be accessed and used.
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