Search results

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.

Class, gender, and nation in popular film and fiction in interwar Britain

Popular culture became a crucial aspect of the rising consumer society in the interwar Britain. Romantic exchanges and happy endings were a defining trait of bestselling novels and popular films in 1920s and 1930s Britain. This book ties contemporary concerns about ex-soldiers, profiteers, and working and voting women to the heroes, villains and love-interests that occur in several films and novels. It addresses the role of the hero as a character who embodies traits collectively valued by readers and the audience. In books and films like Sorrell and Son, the pre-war masculine role model was re-established as patriotic soldier, breadwinner and pater familias. The male villain is the opposite of this value set, and in works such as Bulldog Drummond, he is concerned with profit and the undermining of the national economy and social well-being. The female love-interest often occupied a fairly dynamic role in bestselling novels and hit films. Women in A Star Is Born and Queen Christina are shown as giving up their careers for love and forsaking wealth and power for love. Villainesses, by contrast, seek wealth, status and power at all costs. Censorship of films by the British Board of Film Censors and of literature by the Home Office in interwar Britain contributed to the construction of a popular narrative formula. Censorship aimed to produce an idealised vision of man's and woman's place within the economy and nation. The troubles of the real world were not to have a significant place in film or fiction.

Abstract only
Advertising, affluence and transatlantic relations, c. 1951–69

Advertising agencies were important conduits through which the norms of American consumption travelled eastwards across the Atlantic. This book explores the institutional developments in British advertising and the wider shape of the market for advertising services in the 1950s and 1960s. It details the growing internationalism of the advertising industry in Britain, including the increased presence of US-owned agencies in London and deals with the concern with the apparent 'Americanization'of British commerce. Considering its relationship with its parent company, the book explores the dynamics of Anglo-American advertising relations within the J Walter Thompson (JWT) company. It looks at the uses and development of market research within JWT London and allied companies, and examines the techniques that were used to generate ways of understanding the 'mass housewife'. It was the legacy of British documentary film making which helped to give a distinctive British character and feel to many of the early TV commercials produced in the 1950s and 1960s. The book explores the ways in which TV advertising focused on commercials which promoted washing powders, washing machines and convenience foods. It considers the reception of advertising by cultural critics and by those concerned with the broader governance of commercial life and consumption. The advertising people offered a positive and spirited defence of the role they performed and the pleasures of mass consumption in the age of affluence. For critics, advertising was seen as a harbinger of American 'hard sell' techniques of salesmanship within British business.

Life changes in England since 1700

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.

This book provides a detailed consideration of the history of racing in British culture and society, and explores the cultural world of racing during the interwar years. The book shows how racing gave pleasure even to the supposedly respectable middle classes and gave some working-class groups hope and consolation during economically difficult times. Regular attendance and increased spending on betting were found across class and generation, and women too were keen participants. Enjoyed by the royal family and controlled by the Jockey Club and National Hunt Committee, racing's visible emphasis on rank and status helped defend hierarchy and gentlemanly amateurism, and provided support for more conservative British attitudes. The mass media provided a cumulative cultural validation of racing, helping define national and regional identity, and encouraging the affluent consumption of sporting experience and a frank enjoyment of betting. The broader cultural approach of the first half of the book is followed by an exploration if the internal culture of racing itself.

How private transport changed interwar London

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.

Theatre and society in nineteenth-century Britain

This book brings together political and cultural historians, theatre and performance scholars, and specialists in the study of popular culture. The essays offer a series of shared and interdisciplinary approaches to the material and conceptual dimensions of ‘performance’ as an analytical category in order to analyse the cultural work of the theatre in the wider realm of public political life in nineteenth-century Britain.

A social history

Darts offered an opportunity to make the English pub appear more respectable. This book examines the development of darts in the context of English society in the early twentieth century. It reveals how darts was transformed during the interwar years to become a popular recreation in England, not just amongst working class men and, to a lesser extent, working class women but even (to some extent) among the middle and upper classes. The book also considers the growth of the darts manufacturing industry and assesses the overall effect the growing popularity of darts had on interwar society and popular culture, with particular reference to the changing culture and form of the English public house. After reconstructing the origins of darts in England, it attempts to eradicate myths and fabrications which have until now distorted the history of the game. The book also examines the inter-war English public house in the context of the expansion of mass leisure. It reveals the threats to the brewing industry from new leisure choices and groups pressing for the improvement or alternatively the total banishment of the public house. The book also identifies the organisations, such as the National Darts Association (NDA), which developed darts as a new form of mass leisure. From small beginnings as part of the toy and fancy goods industry of the mid-to-late Victorian period, the book traces the emergence of the dartboards and related products. Finally, it examines darts as a cultural phenomenon of the 1930s.

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.

A transnational perspective

This collection of essays examines the history of urban leisure cultures in Europe in the transition from the early modern to the modern period. The volume brings together research on a wide variety of leisure activities which are usually studied in isolation: from theatre and music culture, art exhibitions, spas and seaside resorts, to sports and games, walking and cafés and restaurants. The book develops a new research agenda for the history of leisure by focusing on the complex processes of cultural transfer that were fundamental in transforming urban leisure culture from the British Isles to France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Austria and the Ottoman Empire. How did new models of organising and experiencing urban leisure pastimes ‘travel’ from one European region to another? Who were the main agents of cultural innovation and appropriation? How did entrepreneurs, citizens and urban authorities mediate and adapt foreign influences to local contexts? How did the increasingly ‘entangled’ character of European urban leisure culture impact upon the ways men and women from various classes identified with their social, cultural or (proto)national communities?

Accessible and wide-ranging, this volume offers students and scholars a broad overview of the history of urban leisure culture in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe. The agenda-setting focus on transnational cultural transfer will stimulate new questions and contribute to a more integrated study of the rise of modern urban culture.