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Fish and Chips, and the British Working Class, 1870-1940 [Paperback]

John K. Walton
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 32.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Dec 1994
Unlike other institutions of central importance to working-class life, the fish-and-chip trade has not yet been rescued from what the author of this book regards as the massive condescension of posterity. In attempting to begin this process, he traces the origins of what was by 1914 an important national industry, setting the economic, social and political context of the trade, charting its spread and analyzing its sources and methods of supply. The book explores themes like: recruitment patterns of decentralized, provincial trades; methods of working; the role of women in the food industry of the period; and the aim, and effectiveness, of trade organizations. It also provides a survey of the effect of convenient, cheap, ready-cooked food on working-class diet, health, lifestyle, economy and politics.

Product details

  • Paperback: 206 pages
  • Publisher: Continnuum-3PL; New edition edition (1 Dec 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071852120X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718521202
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.7 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 938,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


Extract in BBC History Magazine

About the Author

John K. Walton is at the University of Lancaster.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An attractive and nostalgia-tinted book. Britain, like Japan, has a high coastline-to-area ratio, and therefore it's not surprising both countries have fishy elements in their cultures. (Compare the US, with a more beefy culture!) This book stops in the Second World War, and the author is thus spared the details of the 'Common Market' and its deliberate killing off of the British fishing industry. Interesting bit of harmless cultural history. (Note for American readers: in Britain, 'chips' are what you call 'French fries')
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Salt & Vinegar As Well, Please!! 12 April 2008
By Stan
A British staple which we all take for granted, but who would have thought that Fish & Chips were so vital in the twists and turns of British History during a 70-year period which opened with a brash Britian striding the world with its Empire and ending with Albion literally against the wall and fighting for survival? It is never easy to say just how significant fish and chips were at certain pivotal points during this period, such as its influence on Britain's entry into World War I or in influencing British attitudes at the formation of The League Of Nations or the Treaty of Versailles (to name just a few), as sadly so many source documents are now lost or remain classified, but so far this book presents a highly satisfactory, rounded picture of the relationship between potato, fish and proletariat. I am a little disappointed that no mention has been made of trends in using ancillaries such as vinegar, ketchup,and salt and pepper with the fish and chips, but no doubt Mr Walton is working on this as I write and I look forward to his findings. It is perhaps as well that fish & chips are not much eaten in America; who knows how US history would have been changed in the same historical period and what part they could have played in moments such as The Wall Street Crash or The New Deal? A book is crying out to be written to see if, say, the Hot Dog or Devil's Food Cake have had such a similar cultural imprint at these moments. Alternatively, it may be worth studying the influence of the Chicken Tikka Masala on the development of Thatcherism in 1980's Britain. Rise to the challenge, Mr Walton!
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