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Forgotten Household Crafts Hardcover – 2 Aug 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: DK; 01 edition (2 Aug. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405322225
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405322225
  • Product Dimensions: 17.7 x 2.6 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,195,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


This may be just the thing for your coffee table--especially if it's an antique or homemade one. (The Greenville News) John Seymour takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the worlds of traditional craftspeople... (Country Home) Each segment presents a text lavishly illustrated with DK's traditional verve; no one who dips into the wealth of information available here will remain ignorant of the how-tos of his forebears. (Richmond Times Dispatch) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

John Seymour was an active campaigner for the countryside and the environment and is the acknowledged founding father of the self-sufficiency movement. Students still come from around the world to learn first hand about his lifestyle and philosophies at the centre that he established in southern Ireland. He died in 2004.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Just dropped in from the US to check for another of John Seymour's books and was surprised to find this classic had not yet been reviewed by readers in the UK! Sadly, only occasional used copies are available here now. I do hope this will reprint.
This is a truly rare, charming and simple book capturing lost details of the lives our grandparents and ancestors lived closer to the land. Do not be misled by the title into thinking this is just about housekeeping. Much more is included than you would guess, inlcuding keeping livestock and bees, providing water, ale, beer, wine and cider making, cheese making, textiles, chimney sweeping, gas and electrical lighting, stoves, bathrooms - everything to do with home life in old times. The text is personally and charmingly written but what holds my interest for hours with this book is that the text is accompanied by many, many well done and accurate drawings and pictures of authentic old equipment! Now I can really SEE and understand how things were done, and picture exactly how my ancestors lived - and what so many of those odd looking antiques are. Just the page on irons must have twenty drawings of old irons and equipment. The many types of tools and untensils and also the ways grandmother used to feed her family ever fascinate me but I had never seen a picture of a 'wooden moliquet' used to froth the milk and eggs that made hot chocolate. I did not know there were so many shapes and types of bobbins and spangles for lace making. Under cider and ale making you will find a rare drawing of the names and sizes of barrels - who any longer recalls that a puncheon was exactly 72 gallons! Or have you ever actually seen how people cleaned their chimneys with bunches of holly twigs? Well, there is just too much more to tell you.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the most fascinating book I have ever read; it brings the past back to life in a way quite unlike any other. It carries enough detail to be used as a manual for those wishing to revive some of the lost arts, or to provide an insight into just how and why things were made, used and designed the way they were. This is accomplished whilst being concise and general enough to be a very interesting and provocative read.
The sheer breadth of scale is amazing for such a small book - everything is covered from boat building to thatching, from blacksmithing to dry stone walling and everything in between. If I only owned a single book, it would be this one.
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Format: Hardcover
....with an updated introduction.

'Forgotten Household Crafts, recaptures the self-sufficient life of a bygone age.'

From the introduction:
'..this book describes the art of housewifery through the ages, buy it is not just a `museum on paper'. Many of the activities may be seldom practised nowadays - some of them are sadly dead and gone - but many of them are living activities and several of the skills that seemed to be dying are now being revived, for many people have passed right through the pimply-adolescent stage of post-industrial civilisation.
They have tired of the take-away way of living and the machines-for-living way of living.....this book records the past, and that in itself can be quite a useful thing, but it has been written also to inspire and instruct us for the future. For I am convinced that the future does not lie in the direction of fish fingers, and telly snacks, and `Formica' and other plastic rubbish. It lies in the recreation of the real homes....'

Written with the typical John Seymour charm, this delightful book of forgotten skills is illustrated throughout in black and white.
A marvellous source for school projects when Grandma's recollections are not enough to fill two A4 sheets - but, overall, it makes us realise just how lucky we are that technology has answered some of the more arduous of chores, especially in the Laundry Craft section:

'In these days of turbo-boost washing machines and tumble driers, it is difficult to appreciate just how arduous doing the laundry was in the last century. Washing machines were not generally available until the 1880s and even then much energy was required to operate them, as they were hand cranked.
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By Woody 16 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 Sept. 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I would rate this book with six stars if they would let me. Having seen the original on holiday in the hosts library, I wanted one and find it absolutely fascinating. Needless to say I am a practical person and have great respect for those old craftsmen and women who performed wonders with the most basic of tools. We are sadly lacking today in true skills, with the DIY era providing so many easy options. How many of us could produce what they produced 150 years ago, with no electricity and with the simple tools they used? Hurrah for those devoted folk who take time to learn these old crafts and arts which incidentally included cooking. The TV series Victorian Farm and the like do show some of these crafts but this book covers so many I am amazed they are in one volume. Also, this book can be obtained for less than a pound, plus postage, if you look on line.
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