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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Fings Ain't Wot They Used T' Be'
A book written with the authority of a participant and historian, Sheila Hardy's reproduction and recollection of life for a housewife in the 1950's is remarkable. I was born in 1950 and my brother in 1946. So much of the author's plight of the problems and discrimination are vividly recalled. Much of it was through necessity. Husband was the bread-winner, wife was the...
Published on 3 Dec. 2012 by ACB(swansea)

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3.0 out of 5 stars A light read
My parents married in 1956 and my mother was a '1950s Housewife' though one with a top-class degree from a Scottish University so perhaps not typical. She was definitely one of the brides-to-be who lived on breakfast cereal for months before her wedding in order to collect a full canteen of EPNS cutlery!
The book is a light but informative read supported by research...
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer


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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Fings Ain't Wot They Used T' Be', 3 Dec. 2012
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ACB(swansea) - See all my reviews
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A book written with the authority of a participant and historian, Sheila Hardy's reproduction and recollection of life for a housewife in the 1950's is remarkable. I was born in 1950 and my brother in 1946. So much of the author's plight of the problems and discrimination are vividly recalled. Much of it was through necessity. Husband was the bread-winner, wife was the domestic, totally reliant on the income from her spouse.

I recall lucidly the daily account of mother's humdrum routine. Early to rise, get the fire on, cook breakfast for husband ( out to market at 4.30am) and get the children ready for school. All before 8am. Walk the children to school ( when my brother was 8, he took me the two miles to school and back without fear). Mom went out shopping. Made the beds. No cars or buses. No supermarkets, filling a shopping bag with fresh goods. Dad was a butcher, fortunately, so post-war years saw meat. I'm not digressing, just consolidating the author's own experiences and memories. Evenings with sandwiches and then dad's cooked tea. Only saw him on Sundays when well-spoilt. Washing, ironing, cleaning without today's contraptions. Larder and no fridge, yet this was normality.

Sheila Hardy discusses all of this. She takes things beyond nostalgia ,because this was reality. (Looking back it must have been purgatory). The rapid changes that occurred with relaxation of shopping hours (how we hated Sunday School), television arriving (closed for most of the time at home). The stigma of 'living in sin' or 'having a baby out of wedlock' were taboo. My children ( all in their thirties) cannot conceive of, despite interest, the life my mother,( their grandmother) and her tales of what she went through, and my own grandmother was on a different planet. That was her lot (she was a suffragette), I found later she had 12 children ,no effective birth control and fostered more!

It took the 1960's and beyond to equalise rights of women, still being pursued. Hardy's book may seem unbelievable in 2012. It happened and the slow progress of a housewife and her perseverance is expertly written. Shame it has taken so long to progress, no doubt due to the masculine superiority! Essential reading to put a part of life's development into perspective. My reading is that the strength at home was the backbone of the woman ( mother in my case). Lose that and it's gone down the pan (outside of course). Hardy's book recalls the fun times, as do most children, with innocence leading to the more complicated times. Not so much grumpy, but never had it so good? No thank you, mother, but my brother and I had some great times. No regulations. I suppose no one of this generation or social class knew anything different? A read for all. Highly recommended and a great gift. Having read it, this is my mother's (aged 90) 'pick off the tree' as we call it. Headphones for a present would be appreciated by me as I've heard it and lived it many times. As a family these are entertaining, sometimes exaggerated (especially with my brother). My daughters are intrigued by the pre-war ,war and post-war years. Read the book as well. More illustrations would have been appreciated. This is how it was. The transition to 'modern' times was rapid as expectations increased. Wonderful.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting history but....., 15 Feb. 2013
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Mrs. V. Bradley "bookaholic" (Kidderminster, Worcs., England) - See all my reviews
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As a history of a 1950s Housewife the content was fascinating. But no illustrations? A glaring omission as far as I am concerned. To read page after page of print with nothing else to draw the eye or the imagination rapidly became a little tedious. Without the illustrations I felt the book became rather too scholarly and with much less general interest. A shame, because unless the reader who has never experienced life in the 1950s (or even if they have) they need something visual on which to pin their understanding.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 1950s Housewife, 20 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: A 1950s Housewife (Kindle Edition)
I loved reading this book as it brought back so many memories for me as I was a housewife in the 1950's.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A light read, 13 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: A 1950s Housewife (Kindle Edition)
My parents married in 1956 and my mother was a '1950s Housewife' though one with a top-class degree from a Scottish University so perhaps not typical. She was definitely one of the brides-to-be who lived on breakfast cereal for months before her wedding in order to collect a full canteen of EPNS cutlery!
The book is a light but informative read supported by research and personal accounts. There were only a few places where the women interviewed by the author were quoted extensively. I would have loved to hear more of their stories in greater detail. The detailed descriptions of life in the 1950s rings true in the main but the the author does make a lot of generalisations. For example she says electric sewing machines only came on the market after the 50s but I believe it was possible to retro-fit a motor to a standard Singer machine much earlier; my granddad had one which he passed to my mum who made all her clothes (and wedding dress!) on it. There is a lot about the crafts a young couple could do together and the pretty furnishings a new wife could make for the home but apart from mentioning turning sheets 'sides-to-middle' there is little about the boring mending which features in contemporary accounts.
I couldn't work out if this book was intended as a text book to dip into or a cover-to-cover read. When the author mentions the 'Diana' case study several chapters after this is featured you would need to have read the whole book to understand the reference; on the other hand some chapters, particularly the Honeymoon and Holiday sections, repeat themselves in places.
On the whole I would recommend this to anyone interested in the mid-century period.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic revisit to the 50s, 5 Feb. 2013
This review is from: A 1950s Housewife (Kindle Edition)
Very authentic account of the times.Will bring back memories to those who lived it and give a good insight to anyone interested in the era.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taken back to youth, 11 Mar. 2013
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My Mum had this for Christmas, she loved reading and reminiscing about her Teenage years. Well worth the money ...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A trip down memory lane, 13 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: A 1950s Housewife (Kindle Edition)
A lovely book both to remember and a good source of 1950 social history. Good details of how it once was.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow.....talk about nostalgia!, 22 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: A 1950s Housewife (Kindle Edition)
I didnt know if I would be able to relate to this book having born 1955 but I remembered so much about thee things talked it it was amazing!
I was able to relate to how my Mum coped with post war and how make do and mend wasnt something that just she did but it was a national thing!
Really great read and brought back many happy childhood memories.
I would recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good buy, 25 Jun. 2013
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So much I had forgotten. A fantastic view of only 60 years ago, and we think we have it hard now!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1950 Housewife., 14 Jan. 2013
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Mrs. M. E. Garaty (England) - See all my reviews
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What a lovely book. I am reliviing my youth and
early married years. It could be me the book is
about. I love it. Also explains our strict upbringing
compared with to-day.
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