‘Rip the feather bed open’: Domestic Violence and Working-Class Marriage in Victorian England

The week’s episode of A House Through Time ventures out of 10 Guinea Street to follow the story of its former maid-of-all-work, Hester, who upon leaving service found herself trapped in a violent marriage. For many such women, in a society that largely tolerated marital violence (to a point), their stories, like Hester’s, only comeContinue reading “‘Rip the feather bed open’: Domestic Violence and Working-Class Marriage in Victorian England”

The rights of the de facto husband: domestic violence in the landlady-lodger relationship in Victorian society

Much has been stated about the ambiguities existing in the landlady-lodger relationship, with the Victorian landlady acting, in part, as de facto wife. Yet, while the sexual aspect of such a relationship has been widely discussed, other “rights” of the lodger in terms of his status as de facto husband have been overlooked. Addressing this,Continue reading “The rights of the de facto husband: domestic violence in the landlady-lodger relationship in Victorian society”

The Remains of an Old Stump Bedstead

In my recent book – In Bed with the Victorians – I discussed the various beds inhabited by working-class husbands and wives after the event of marital breakdown. Having expanded my search beyond the borders of Suffolk and Essex for my forthcoming publication on bedsteads in the Victorian working-class home, I have uncovered a caseContinue reading “The Remains of an Old Stump Bedstead”

The ‘”Healthy” Metal Bedstead?

It has been while since I last wrote a blog post. Indeed, since my last post I have had a baby who is now a toddler. After exploring the life cycle of working-class marriage in the Victorian era through the beds they inhabited in my Palgrave Pivot In Bed with the Victorians, I am nowContinue reading “The ‘”Healthy” Metal Bedstead?”

Banana Boxes, Chest of Drawers, Eggs Boxes, and Gooseberry Sieves

  It has been quite some time since I have written a blog post, as writing ‘the book’ is taking priority at the moment. However, a BBC article today on the popularity of baby boxes has given me a perfect excuse to share an aspect of my book that I am currently working on: babies’Continue reading “Banana Boxes, Chest of Drawers, Eggs Boxes, and Gooseberry Sieves”

‘Why Charlotte?’ Unanswered Questions in the Inquests

Coroners’ inquests – both the surviving records and ensuing newspaper reports – are an invaluable source in opening up the homes of the Victorian working-classes. Through coroners’ meticulous investigations and the press fascination of all things death related, I have been able to uncover intimate details of domestic life and pry into the private spaceContinue reading “‘Why Charlotte?’ Unanswered Questions in the Inquests”

The Lodger’s Threshold

As I work on my latest conference paper, one of the questions I am considering is to what extent lodgers could define their own boundaries in someone else’s home. Lodgers were commonplace in the homes of the 19th-century working class and for the household taking in lodgers, Davidoff states, it ‘was a sign that theContinue reading “The Lodger’s Threshold”

The Unwelcome House Guest

Much of my research has revealed where additional inhabitants – lodgers, visitors, and extended family – slept at night in the homes of the late 19th century urban working class and rural labourers. Yet, one area I had been struggling to uncover is how householders felt about accommodating an extra body at night in whatContinue reading “The Unwelcome House Guest”

Sleeping in “his chair” – Spaces of Nocturnal Sleep

As I begin scrutinising some recently gathered 19th century coroners’ inquest reports for a study of sleeping arrangements in the homes of the working classes, one of the areas I am particularly interested in is the use of dayrooms and non-bedroom furniture for the purpose of night time sleeping. In my recent work on lodgers,Continue reading “Sleeping in “his chair” – Spaces of Nocturnal Sleep”

Accommodating Grandpa – A 19th Century Example

Co-residence with kin in old age past and present has been widely discussed by historians of old age, the family, and community, but one area that has hitherto remained somewhat of a mystery in co-residence situations is how, in the already cramped dwellings of the urban working-class and rural labourer, these elderly relatives were accommodated.Continue reading “Accommodating Grandpa – A 19th Century Example”