The dinner would be on the table when he walked in the door; his wife, immaculately presented would be waiting cheerfully, ready to act on his every whim - or so we are told. Drawing on interviews, archives and newspapers, social historian Virginia Nicholson reveals otherwise, as she pulls back the covers on the life of women in 1950s Britain.
Allowing individual women to tell their stories - from a beauty queen, a miner's wife, and a Teddy girl to educated (but isolated) suburban housewives, and two famous Margarets (one a princess, the other a prospective politician), this is an engaging nostalgic commentary on how life used to be and invites reflection on how far (or not) we have come since washing machines and the pill arrived on our doorsteps.
A hard long read. Well researched. Some members related well to this book.
Those with English backgrounds loved it - a fascinating "doco" read. Others not interested.
Our group mostly found this book long and hard to keep engaged with.
This book gave a lot of discussion to our group - all 76+ and grew up in the 40s, 50s and 60s, so were able to get a lot from the book. Two ladies didn't read it - wasn't their 'read'. Hence the score was lower than the 4 that most gave the book.
Thanks to lockdown, no meeting so no discussion. A couple of comments were that it was enjoyable, if a bit long. Could identify with a lot of restrictions our mothers accepted, and some that we also know.
Our group enjoyed this book.
An interesting account of women's lives in the 1950s. For myself who had an English childhood in the 50s, there were many familiar names and events to connect with.
A great discussion with mixed views. Some loved it and could relate to the way of life and expectations of the era. The different backgrounds and family dynamics were realistic - life was like that. Some felt that because they knew life was like that, it didn't hold their interest but all agreed on the huge movement in how women have managed to push through the discriminatory expectations and traditions - we considered the 'then' and the 'now'.
Some of our group found this book really interesting though a little long, and others couldn't get into it.
Much discussion ensued around the issues in the book. Most thought it was very thoroughly researched with a lot of detail, but it was more reflective of our mothers' lives and not so much of ours.
Everyone found the book fascinating. It generated such a lot of discussion - some of us grew up in those years and others remembered their parents or older sisters. We found the author didn't talk much about the women who were working - nurses, teachers - how they managed their responsibilities and lived their lives. Overall it was an interesting and informative read.
Very good social commentary of the time.
This book dealt with a period most of our group remembered well, so much of the material was familiar. We felt it would be most interesting to social historians who are a little younger than we are. It is long, detailed and well researched.
Only one person really liked the book. Most found it boring and repetitive. However there was a very good discussion, and it made us think.
Great discussion followed the reading of this book. Enjoyed by all, but then we are a mature group! (70-80)
Provided lively discussion. We all still feel we have a long way to go yet.
Sadly this was not enjoyed and nobody found time to finish it.
Generally we enjoyed it. Many memories of our youth and appreciation of the women who have gone before us.
The group found it an interesting read and it was a good book to pickup, read a chapter, then put down. We admired the incredible amount of research the author had done to get a cross section of society. Members felt it related well to childhood memories and for some, the early experiences of their marriages. Being a rural group, they felt what applied to Britain in the 50's continued well into the 60's here. A lot of very interesting discussion about the roles of women then and now. A strongly recommended read.