A Trip Through Time #3

a trip through time

The meme, A Trip Through Time, hosted by The Absent Historian is posted biweekly on a Friday. On the meme I will be taking a look at everything history related.

This week I am going to be taking a Andrew Marr’s The Making of Modern Britain: From Queen Victoria to VE Day which is a history book I am currently reading and share a few of my favourite quotes and facts from the book. Andrew Marr also did an accompanying TV series for the BBC which is meant to be really informative and interesting, if you’re not a fan of reading history books but like a documentary, I’d check it out!

andrew marr

METAPHOR.

The war drew a kind of snarling bulldog mask across the face that the British people presented to the outside world. Behind that mask, however, many thousands were having second thoughts. – pg. 190

This was a kind of Liberal Stalinism, except that profits continued to be made and it was rather more effective than its successor. – pg. 165

Andrew Marr is quite a fan of his metaphorical style writing, particularly when it comes to talks of war! It makes for a certainly interesting read and a much easier reading style than some history books (which almost certainly make you sometimes want to bash your head against a wall and crawl under your desk in defeat!).

Both these quotes are talking about the first world war, and at first how the British presented themselves, and secondly the method in which they took to in terms of changing the very foundations of industry to increase output for the war. This obviously (as many of you are probably aware) involved bringing women into the work place, and bringing almost 3 million workers under government control so they could more precisely control the war effort. Under Lloyd George the munitions industry became much more efficient in his rule as practical dictator.

Feminism.

Despite the end of the the Edwardian era being a time when women were not very powerful and did not yet have the vote (1917: 8.4 million women aged 30+ would be eligible to vote) there are some very important changes and women in this era. There were quite the eccentric individuals, women who chose to speak out and there were both both Suffragettes (WSPU) and Suffragists (NUWSS) unions which were important. Women ventured into the work place, started changing their fashion to accommodate working, so wearing trousers, shorter skirts, bras which were less constrictive than corsets. Contraceptive usage became more common and babies born out of wedlock were known as ‘war babies’ and the mothers were seen as ‘war heroes’ because so many men left to fight rather than being able to marry.

Parkhurst%20arrest

Emmeline Pankhurst (leader of the Suffragettes arrest).

Besides the obvious leaders and the Pankhurst family (the very popular militant women), there were other individuals who were equally strong women that I read about. My personal favourite for her mere audacity and outrageousness has to be:

Lilian Lenton, who was a suffragette that nearly died when being force fed because the tube was accidentally pushed into her windpipe and it caused her to nearly die from septic pneumonia because of the food in her lung. However, my favourite part about her was that she was a devoted arsonist and had a programme whereby she would burn two buildings a week. Quite the radical activist!

Conclusion

Overall, The Making of Modern Britain has lots of different elements that came together to make a really informative, interesting read. I definitely recommend it if you are curious about the end of the Victorian era through to WWII in terms of British history and lots of little anecdotes, quotes from politicians/literary/public figures that give you a greater insight to the period.

I’ll leave you guys with a quote from Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary during WWI which is a rather poignant, thought-provoking notion in regards to the consequences of WWI and how it left Europe.

The lamps are going out all over Europe and I doubt we shall see them lit again in our lifetime. –pg. 111.

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3 Comments

Filed under A Trip Through Time

3 responses to “A Trip Through Time #3

  1. When I was younger I was a Pankhurst fangirl! I know when I went to England for the first time I was REALLY excited to get a photo next to a monument of them..I thought the idea of throwing stones through a window to get attention to cause was cool for some reason..as I am older I tend to idolize more those who used nonviolent methods to get their ideas across LOL
    Yeah..I was super cool LOL

    • Livvy @The Absent Historian

      Haha. Well we all change as we grow up. I appreciate them for what they did and the kind of efforts they went to, but really they did not paint a very good light on the female suffrage campaign which is a problem. However Emmeline Pankhurst did tend to work with lower class families and help the ordinary people. I guess there are two sides to them all, they’re a bit of a kind of marmite person! haha. But still, getting a photo with the statue is pretty cool! 😉

  2. What little I know of history is what I’ve gathered from my high school history text books and historical fiction. Ah also, TV shows like Reign so it’s no surprise that my history knowledge is riddled with lots of blanks and inaccuracies. But I’m definitely fascinated by the subject.

    This post reminds of one of my recent reads, The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan(have you read it?)-Not sure how accurate this one is but the protagonist reminds me of Emmeline Pankhurst!

    I’d love to see a A Trip Through Time post on the Regency Era! 🙂

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