Women in the business of waking up industrial Britain

Today, most of us cannot imagine waking up at the desired hour without our alarm clocks and smartphones. Clearly, such devices add to the convenience of our lives. But how did people wake up when alarm clocks did not exist or were not affordable to ordinary people? How did people ensure that they were not late for work? The answer is with the aid of “knocker ups”. Knocker ups were human alarm clocks –they were employed by clients who needed

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Peter K. Andersson, Real Victorians and False Margins

This post accompanies Peter K. Andersson’s Journal of Victorian Culture 2015 ‘How Civilised were the Victorians’. This article can be downloaded here. An increasing interest in  “history from below” among Victorian scholars can be detected when looking at the contents of periodicals and books. The Journal of Victorian Culture is at the forefront of this evolution with articles on blood-sports, rat-catchers and the material culture of everyday city life. But although an ambition to encompass the “voiceless masses” has never

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Ushashi Dasgupta, The Roaring Streets: Voices From Below in Literary Studies

Ushashi Dasgupta is a DPhil student at St John’s College, Oxford. She is researching the significance of tenancy and rented spaces – lodgings, boarding-houses, hotels, taverns – in the literary imagination, with a particular focus on Dickens and his circle. Ushashi Dasgupta can be contacted via email at ushashi.dasgupta@sjc.ox.ac.uk The inaugural BAVS Talks were held in May, at the Oxford Centre for Research in the Humanities. During these talks, Helen Rogers spoke about the manner in which interest is turning, once

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Vicky Holmes – Lodger in the Bedroom

Vicky Holmes – University of Essex This post accompanies Vicky Holmes JVC 2014 article ‘Accommodating the Lodger: The Domestic Arrangements of Lodgers in Working-Class Dwellings in a Victorian Provincial Town’, which can be downloaded here. In my article, ‘Accommodating the Lodger: The Domestic Arrangements of Lodgers in Working-Class Dwellings in a Victorian Provincial Town’, I attempt to locate the lodger and reappraise our understanding of their position in working-class homes, including their place in the family’s bedroom.Despite the idea that the

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