CATEGORY   Social History

Hardcover, 190 pages, 246 x 188 mm, 280 black-and-white period photographs and printed ephemera, 1982

Allen & Unwin ISBN 978-0-046-30009-8

Rural Life in Victorian and Edwardian England
Sadie Ward
with Jonathan Brown, John Creasey, Patricia Davison and David Eveleigh

Between the middle of the nineteenth century and World War I, life in the English countryside increasingly felt the impact of the industrial revolution. Rural industries gave way to mass production of consumer goods; improvements in transport led to a wider spread of influence from the towns and to depopulation of the countryside; wholesale distribution replaced the village economy; early farming machinery, quaint though it seems today, profoundly changed the centuries-old, labour-intensive peasant economy.

This attractive and highly readable book shows the effects of these changes on the face of the countryside and on the lives of country dwellers: the intriguing patchwork of old and new in the domestic life, agriculture, industries, shops and markets, transport, community services, recreation and social events of rural England.

The text is accompanied by contemporary photographs which graphically reveal this vanished age to the modern reader and by illustrations of useful artefacts from the period, many of which are now avidly collected as ‘bygones’. A large number of the illustrations are drawn from the unique collection at the Museum of English Rural Life, University of Reading.