Urban Allotments – historical havens during times of national crisis

JC Niala, University of Oxford Jc.niala@stcatz.ox.ac.uk @jcniala The significance of the allotment in urban English history is inconsistent. In general, the allotment space is treated as marginal, yet simultaneously they remain inextricably linked to popular imaginations of significant periods of history, such as the Second World War. This link resurfaced with COVID-19 and is reflected … Continued

Still Seeing Things

Freya Taylor and Louise Bell, Glasgow Women’s Library @FreyaMay3 @LouBell This blog explores the ‘(Still) Seeing Things’ project run by the Glasgow Women’s Library (GWL). We’re lucky to have perspectives from two volunteers: one (Freya) who was involved in the project in its initial format and helped bring it online during lockdown; and another (Louise) … Continued

Making a stand with Mary: Precarious Employment in Pandemic Times

Kate Brooks, Bath Spa University K.Brooks@bathspa.ac.uk We are pleased to share this blog by Kate Brooks, the winner of the 2020 SHS Postgraduate Prize. In 1851, Joseph Lowe was working as a barber in Willenhall, Staffordshire, with four children and a house servant named Jane. Willenhall was an overcrowded, impoverished district, known for locksmithery and … Continued

Children, Covid-19 and Parental Responsibility

Dr Deniz Arzuk, University College London @denizarzuk https://changingchildhoods.com/ On June 1st, after 10 weeks of lockdown, primary schools in England have reopened for children in Years 1, 6, and Reception. Yet, the initial reports suggest that turn-out is low, and parents are still unconvinced and hesitant to send their children back to school. This is … Continued

Death in the archives

Kate Brooks, Bath Spa University We may never know the exact number of deaths caused by this pandemic, not just because of Government obfuscation. Establishing a definitive cause of death is not as straight forward as it may seem, and the current debates about numbers can be read as yet another iteration of an almost … Continued

DIY facemasks and the domestication of personal protection in the First World War

Dr Michael Reeve, Bishop Grosseteste University/Leeds Beckett University @DrMichaelReeve As a historian of wartime resilience, I have found it difficult not to draw parallels between aspects of the current public health crisis and elements of my own research into public safety and early forms of civil defence during the First World War. Though such parallels … Continued

A good send-off in the strange new world of Covid-19

Dr Helen Frisby, independent historian Helen.Frisby@uwe.ac.uk Just over twelve months ago, fuelled by coffee, toasted bagels and an impending deadline, I noted in the concluding chapter of my book Traditions of Death and Burial how, over the past millennium: The ideal (if not always the practice) of a ‘good’ death nonetheless has remained remarkably consistent … Continued

A Call to Knitting Needles

Dr Vivien Newman, First World War Women  @worldwarwomen On 20 April, The Shields Gazette reported that ‘residents are knitting hearts to cheer up patients being treated for coronavirus in intensive care’. This reminded me of knitting in World War One. In 1914, Secretary of State for War Lord Kitchener issued a Call to Knitting Needles. … Continued