Family, Gender & Childhood – Writing Lives

Family, Gender & Childhood

There is a large scholarship on the working-class family. Here is a sample divided into sections on ‘Working-class Families’, ‘Childhood’, ‘Men’ and ‘Women’. Please contact [email protected] with further suggestions.

Working-Class Families

Burnett, John ed. Destiny Obscure: Autobiographies of Childhood, Education, and Family from the1820s to the 1920s. London:  Alan Lane, 1982.

Cuming, Emily. Housing, Class and Gender in Modern British Writing, 1880-2012. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Eley, Geoff. ‘The Family is a Dangerous Place: Memory, Gender and the Image of the Working Class.’ Ed. Robert Rosenstone. Revisioning History, Princeton NJ: Princeton UP, 1993.

Holmes, Vicky. In Bed with the Victorians: The Life-Cycle of Working-Class Marriage, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

Hudgins, Nicole. ‘A Historical Approach to Family Photography: Class and Individuality in Manchester and Lille, 1850-1914’ Journal of Social History 43.3 (2010): 559-86.

Strange, Julie-Marie. Death, Grief and Poverty in Britain, c. 1870-1914. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005.

Strange, Julie-Marie, ‘“Only A Pauper Whom Nobody Owns”: Re-assessing the Pauper Grave, c. 1880-1914’, Past and Present, 178 1, 2003, 148-175.

Strange, Julie-Marie, ‘“She Cried a Very Little”: Death, Grief and Mourning in Working-Class Culture, c. 1880-1914’, Social History, 27 2, 2002, 143-61.

Tebbutt, Melanie. ‘Imagined Families and Vanished Communities: Memories of a Working-class Life in Northampton’ History Workshop Journal 73.1 (2012): 144-169 doi: 10.1093/hwj/dbr025

Vincent, David. Bread, Knowledge and Freedom: A Study of Nineteenth-Century Working-Class Autobiography. London: Methuen, 1981.

Vincent, David. ‘Love and Death and the Nineteenth-Century Working Class.’ Social History, 5.2 (1980): 223-247 ()



Davin, Anna. Growing up Poor: Home, School and Street in London 1870-1914. Cambridge: Polity Press, London: Rivers Oram Press, 1996.

Humphries, Jane. Childhood and Child Labour in the British Industrial Revolution Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010 (Introduction: )

Seabrook, Jeremy. Working Class Childhood. An Oral History, Victor Gollancz, London, 1982.

Steedman, Carolyn. The Tidy House: Little Girls Writing London: Virago, 1982

Todd, Selina. ‘Breadwinners and Dependants: Working-Class Young People in England, 1918-1955’. International Review of Social History.  52:1 2007: 57-87.

Tebbutt, Melanie. Being Boys: Youth, Leisure and Identity in the Inter-War Years Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2012.

Yeo, Eileen Janes. ‘”The boy is the father of the man”: Moral Panic over Working-class Youth, 1850 to the present.’ Labour History Review.  69:2 2004 185-99.


Barringer, Tim J. Men at Work: Art and Labour in Victorian Britain New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 2005

Beaven, Brad, Leisure, Citizenship and Working-Class Men in Britain, 1850-1914 Manchester: Manchester UP, 2005

Broughton, Trev and Helen Rogers, eds. Gender and Fatherhood in the Nineteenth Century. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2007.

Strange, Julie Marie. ‘Fatherhood, furniture and inter-personal dynamics in working-class homes, 1870-1914.’ Urban History 40.22 (2013), pp 271-286

Strange, Julie Marie. ‘Providing, fatherhood and technologies of attachment, 1870-1914. Historical Journal  55.4 (2012), pp 1007-1027

Ying, Lee, Masculinity and the English Working Class: Studies In Victorian Autobiography and Fiction London: Routledge, 2007.


August, Andrew. Poor Women’s Lives: Gender, Work, and Poverty in Late-Victorian London Madison, Wisconsin: Fairleigh Dickinson UP

Chinn, Carl. They Worked All Their Lives: Women of the Urban Poor in England, 1880–1939 Manchester: Manchester UP, 1988

Davies, John. ‘Mothers and Daughters: Working-class Women, Liverpool 1900-1940 – an Oral History.’ Northwest Labour History Journal 33 (2008): 37-43.

Davies, Margaret Llewelyn, ed. Life as We Have Known It. By Co-operative Working Women. 1931. London: Virago, 1977.

Davies, Margaret Llewelyn, ed. Maternity Letters from Working Women. 1915. London: Virago, 1978.

Evans, Tanya and Patricia Thane. Sinners? Scroungers? Saints? Unmarried Motherhood in Twentieth-Century England. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012.

Gomersall, Meg. Working-Class Girls in Nineteenth-Century England: Life, Work and Schooling. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1997.

Hall, David. Working Lives: The Forgotten Voices of Britain’s Post-War Working Class. London: Bantam Press, 2012.

Howarth, Janet. “Classes and Cultures in England After 1951: The Case of Working-Class Women” Classes Cultures and Politics: Essays on British History for Ross McKibben eds. Griffiths, Clare V.J; James J. Nott, and William Whyte. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (2011) 85 – 101.

Huneault, Kristina, Difficult Subjects: Working Women and Visual Culture, Britain, 1880-1914. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002.

Linke, Gabriele. “Recent Scottish Working-Class Autobiography” Social Semiotics 22.2 (2012): 201 – 216. DOI: 10.1080/10350330.2012.665242

McCrindle, Jean and Sheila Rowbotham, Dutiful Daughters. Women Talk about their Lives. Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1979.

Purvis, June. Hard Lessons: The Lives and Education of Working-Class Women in Nineteenth-Century England. Oxford: Polity Press, 1989.

Roberts, Elizabeth. A Woman’s Place: An Oral History of Working Class Women 1890-1940. Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, 1995.

Rose, Sonya. Limited Livelihoods: Class and Gender in Nineteenth Century England. Berkeley: California UP, 1993.

Ross, Ellen. Love and Toil: Motherhood in Outcast London, 1870-1918. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Rowbotham, Sheila. ‘”Shush Mum’s Writing”: Personal Narratives by Working-class Women in the early days of British Women’s History.’ Socialist History 17 (2000): 1-21

Steedman, Carolyn. Landscape for a Good Woman: A Story of Two Lives. London: Virago, 1986.

Tebbutt, Melanie. Women’s Talk? A Social History of Gossip in WorkingClass Neighbourhoods, 1880-1960. Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1995.

Todd, Selina, ‘Poverty and Aspiration: Young Women’s Entry to Employment in Inter-War England’, Twentieth Century British History 15.2 (2004): 119-42.

Todd, Selina, ‘Young women, work and leisure in interwar England.’ Historical Journal 48.3 (2005): 789-809.

Todd, Selina, Young Women, Work, and Family in England 1918-1950. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005.

Woodworth, Christine. ‘Cleaning House: Working-Class Women and Suffrage Drama’. Theatre Annual. 59 (2006): 19-38.



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