The importance of films in the cultural and social life of both Britain and the United States has long been recognized. Although radio survived in Britain more or less intact, by 1960 it too had taken second place to television as the prime domestic medium. This book begins by analysing the very different relationships between cinema and radio that emerged in Britain and the United States. It moves on to examine the ways in which cinema adapted radio programmes in the fields of comedy and detective fiction and then how radio dramatized films. When radio first took off in the United States in the late 1920s, it was regarded by the film industry as a rival, something to keep people at home and away from the cinema. But during the 1930s, Hollywood began to appreciate the value of radio in publicizing and promoting its films. The British broadcasting service was set up in 1922 with a monopoly and finance from a licence fee following negotiations between the Post Office, which controlled the air waves, and the radio industry, which manufactured the equipment. Radio in wartime was informational and inspirational. It provided news, entertainment, and propaganda. The book concludes with a look in detail at the ways in which the two media have dealt with three popular fictional characters, the Scarlet Pimpernel, Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes.
Amateur film: Meaning and practice 1927–77 traces the development of non-professional interests in making and showing film. It explores how amateur cinematography gained a following among the wealthy, following the launch of lightweight portable cine equipment by Kodak and Pathé in Britain during the early 1920s. As social access to the new hobby widened, enthusiasts began to use cine equipment at home, work, on holiday and elsewhere. Some amateurs made films only for themselves while others became cine club members, contributors to the hobby literature and participated in film competitions from local to international level. The stories of individual filmmakers, clubs and the emergence of an independent hobby press, as well as the non-fiction films made by groups and individuals, provide a unique lens through which contemporary responses to daily experience may be understood over fifty years of profound social, cultural and economic change. Using regional film archive collections, oral testimony and textual sources, this book explores aspects of family life, working experience, locality and social issues, leisure time and overseas travel as captured by filmmakers from northern and northwest England. This study of visual memory, identity and status sets cine camera use within a wider trajectory of personal record making, and discusses the implications of footage moving from private to public spaces as digitisation widens access and transforms contemporary archive practice.
This book explores the depiction of domestic life in British films made and released during the Second World War and the immediate postwar years. It closely examines the modes of address used to picture home in a selection of feature films including Love on the Dole, It Always Rains on Sunday, This Happy Breed, The Captive Heart, Spring in Park Lane, The Glass Mountain, Brief Encounter and The Small Back Room. Exemplary of popular modes of address shaping onscreen homes in this period, these films encompass realist mappings of industrial working-class homes, domestic landscapes infused with pastoral imagery, dream palaces offering escape and uncanny homes characterised by interiority and introspection. Picturing home explores how such depictions of domestic life engaged with modes of address established during the interwar years. These modes featured in Picture Post magazine’s photo-essays, illustrations of peaceful domestic interiors in Ideal Home magazine, displays at the Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition, advertisements for modern furnishings and fittings, and in women’s magazine stories – all of which conveyed ideas of conservative, domestic and suburban culture and modernity. Through a close analysis of the films in question and of extra-cinematic culture surrounding the suburban home, this book offers a new reading of British films in the 1940s as reimagining interwar visions of modernity, and, as such, looking to the prewar past while also laying claim to the postwar future.
The exhibition of films has developed from a lowly fairground attraction in the
1890s to the multi-million pound industry of today. This book charts the
development of cinema exhibition and cinema-going in Britain from the first
public film screening in February 1896 through to the opening of 30-screen
'megaplexes'. It recounts the beginnings of cinema and in particular
its rapid development, by the eve of the Great War, as the pre-eminent mass
entertainment. The book considers developments of cinema as an independent
entertainment, the positioning of cinemas within the burgeoning metropolitan
spaces, the associated search for artistic respectability, the coming of sound
and a large-scale audience. The period from 1913 to 1930 was one in which the
cinema industry underwent dramatic restructuring, new chains, and when Hollywood
substantially increased its presence in British cinemas. Cinema-going is then
critically analysed in the context of two powerful myths; the 'Golden
Age' and the 'universal audience'. The book also considers the
state of cinema exhibition in Britain in the post-war period, and the terminal
decline of cinema-going from the 1960s until 1984. It looks at the development
of the multiplex in the United States from the 1960s and examines the importance
of the shopping mall and the suburb as the main focus for these cinema
developments. Finally, the book discusses the extent to which the multiplex
'experience' accounts for the increase in overall attendance; and how
developments in the marketing of films have run in tandem with developments in
This is the first book about women’s advance into the man’s world of pub, club and beerhouse that examines drinking habits covering a century and more. Currently, historians view enduring changes in women’s drinking habits as a product of the last half of the twentieth century. Our present understanding of women’s drinking in the first half of the century is based on uncertain assumptions and limited statistical evidence. Scholars have ignored critical differences between pubs and beerhouses which shaped drinking habits. In estimating the proportion of women frequenting interwar licensed premises, scholars rely heavily on statistics from York, Bolton and London without scrutinizing their validity. Overlooking the lounge, a gender-neutral room introduced into interwar improved pubs, likewise creates misunderstanding. Women first began entering drink premises during World War I, and Progressive brewers protected and enlarged their numbers building or rebuilding reformed pubs with wider amenities, interiors without partitions and the lounge as a separate room. New drinking norms reinforced the image of middle-class restraint and respectability. Wine bars targeting professional women appeared from the mid-1970s, but women remained uninterested in drinking beer or frequenting pubs save for the decade from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s. Domestic drinking, already popular, soared from 1990 and reached nearly half of total sales. Women’s public drinking habits were revolutionized in the last quarter of the twentieth century. Female-friendly chains, style bars, clubs and wine bars gave women greater choices than traditional masculine boozers, which steadily contracted in numbers. Wine selections widened, notably from the New World, food became common and gay bars multiplied.
This book provides the first history of how we have imagined and used time since 1700. It traces the history of the relationship between work and leisure, from the 'leisure preference' of male workers in the eighteenth century, through the increase in working hours in the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, to their progressive decline from 1830 to 1970. It examines how trade union action was critical in achieving the decline; how class structured the experience of leisure; how male identity was shaped by both work and leisure; how, in a society that placed high value on work, a 'leisured class' was nevertheless at the apex of political and social power – until it became thought of as 'the idle rich'. Coinciding with the decline in working hours, two further tranches of time were marked out as properly without work: childhood and retirement. By the mid-twentieth century married men had achieved a work- leisure balance. In the 1960s and 1970s it was argued that leisure time would increase at a rapid rate. This false prediction coincided with the entry of married women into the labour market and a halt to the decline in working hours and in sectors of the economy a reversal of it. These two developments radically changed the experience of time and thinking about it. Time became equated with achieving a 'work-life balance' where 'life' was often unpaid childcare and domestic work.
In neighbourhoods and public spaces across Britain, young working people walked out together, congregated in the streets, and paraded up and down on the ‘monkey parades’. This book explores these sites of leisure and courtship – the streets, public and neighbourhood spaces of towns and cities across Britain – telling the story of young people and developing youth cultures from the perspective of their spatial occupation and behaviours. It argues that the beginnings of a distinct youth culture can be traced to the late nineteenth century, and that the street and neighbourhood provided its forum. The book draws together the actions of adults with the experiences of young people from the later years of the nineteenth century through to the interwar period, considering the continuities in young people’s leisure lives and reflecting on the development of an increasingly conspicuous youth culture that became more clearly linked to commercial leisure opportunities. Drawing on an extensive range of sources, from newspapers and institutional records to oral histories and autobiography, the book enriches our understanding of young working people by narrowing the focus on their spaces and sites of social interaction, and argues that exploring the relationship between the young working class and urban space allows for a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the lives of young people.
This book examines the relationship between class and culture in 1930s Britain. Focusing on the reading and cinema-going tastes of the working classes, it combines historical analysis with a close textual reading of visual and written sources to appraise the role of popular leisure in this decade. Drawing on original research, the book adds to our knowledge of working-class leisure pursuits in this contentious period.
The Experience of Suburban Modernity explores how the adoption of new forms of private transport transformed inter-war suburban London. It shows how London’s suburban middle classes used their newly found disposable income to enjoy driving, motorcycling and flying. The Experience of Suburban Modernity demonstrates that these new practices were welcomed by many, but met resistance to change from those who were dismayed by the accidents that resulted from increased mobility and the aesthetic and cultural changes that were the consequence of Americanization and suburban development. The book is divided into three sections. The first considers each of the private transport technologies in turn: the car, the bicycle and motorcycle, and the aeroplane and shows how they contributed to a sense of suburban modernity. The second section examines the infrastructure that supported these technologies and shows how they were interpreted in contested visions of the meaning of Englishness. The final section describes a set of journeys that demonstrate a condition of suburban modernity. These include the roadhouse, a site of Americanisation and transgression, new mobile practices of consumption, the embodied experiences of driving in a modern way, and the disastrous consequences of air and car accidents.
This book analyses the development of male leisure against the changing notions of citizenship which underpinned perceptions of British society during the period 1850-1945. It opens with an examination of the 'leisure' problem of the middle decades of the nineteenth century. After the defeat of Chartism and associated challenges to the employers' right to organise the workplace, factory owners, the clergy and philanthropists established schemes of rational recreation designed to attract and educate working-class males. The book explores how schemes of rational recreation attempted to create the model citizen and the impact of these strategies on male working-class leisure. Taking three influential leisure activities - drink, the music hall and association football - the book explores their impact on both concepts of citizenship and male leisure patterns. In addition, commercial leisure also highlighted the marked gender divides in leisure activities found within working-class households. The book investigates the generational issues that shaped male working-class leisure. The increase in non-apprenticed semi-skilled work, particularly in the 'new' industry regions, raised fears that monotonous working practices and new leisure activities were a dangerous social cocktail. Moreover the book investigates how, during the late Victorian and early Edwardian era, the problem of a 'degenerate' youth became entwined with anxieties over the future of empire. It further contextualises male leisure against the dominant concerns between 1918 and 1945. This era saw the suburbanisation of British cities, continued anxieties over male citizenry and increased international tensions that led to war.