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Books on Social History


The Diary of a Nobody

The Diary of a Nobody was written by George and Weedon Grossmith in the late nineteenth century. Although this is a work of fiction, I have included it in this article on Social History books because it does give the reader some idea of what life was like at that time.

The diary belongs to a fictional character named Charles Pooter who is a lower middle class, middle aged man who lives with his wife Carrie. They have one grown up son , Lupin, who falls on hard times and has to move back into the family home during the course of this diary. Pooter and his son do not see eye to eye on many subjects including work and other people.

Throughout the book we learn about the people who are connected to the Pooter family including friends, family, tradesmen and work mates.

Life in Britain 1880-1919


Life in Britain 1880-1919

Life in Britain 1880-1919 shows how people were living during that time. There are unique photographs on each page showing people from all walks of life going about their daily life . There are pictures and information on farmers, slum dwellers, the poor people, middle class people , the gentry and even royalty. This book shows how life , working conditions, living conditions and spare time activities changed for the general public during those years.


Postcard from the past

Here is a proper walk down memory lane if you are of an age where you can remember going on holiday and sending postcards to friends and family. This book was compiled by Tom Jackson who is a collector of postcards.

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Each page in this book has a picture of a postcard with a few words written underneath it. The written words are actually taken from the original message on the back of the postcard. Some of them are really funny and this is the sort of book that you can keep coming back to after reading it for the first time.

Most of these postcards were sent during the 1960s and 1970s .This was part of a way of life that is gone forever now because most people do not send postcards anymore. The postcards mainly have pictures of beaches, seaside towns, the countryside and cities. It would be interesting to visit these tourist attractions today and see how much they have changed.


On Holiday

On Holiday was written by Paul Atterbury who is a well known antiques expert here in the UK. Paul is also a collector of holiday and tourism ephemera and many of the images in his book are taken from his own collection. Some of the photographs are from his own family photograph album, showing pictures of his relatives in various holiday destinations. many of these photos were taken before he was born. The chapters in this book cover the early and middle years of the 20th Century.

I have included On Holiday as part of this article because all the images are taken from real sources. They include; advertising, souvenirs, brochures, travel posters, books ,magazines alongside the lovely photos. You can see from the images how holidays, clothes, hairstyles, food and transport all changed over the years.


The British Season

I have included `The British Season' in this article on social history books because it shows the reader how many of the better off members of public spent their summers. This book was published in 1994 by the Royal Mail. At the front of the book there is a small collection of postage stamps that were brought out during this year.

The chapters in this book tell us about the many events that are held during the British summer including, flower shows, horse racing events, exhibitions, other sporting events alongside stately home and more common attractions that are open during the summer.

The British Season is somewhat different from the other books featured in this article in that there are no real life images. There are no photographs or picture of real people, but the book does contains many lovely watercolour paintings with one full page picture of each event or venue. These illustrations do have people in them and you can see what sort of clothes the people would wear on these occassions.

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