` History of Women’s Right to Work Act ‘

A Woman's Work

A Woman’s Work (Photo credit: jumpinjimmyjava)

#AceHistoryNews says following on from `International Woman’s Day‘ l thought this post about `Women’s Right to Work’ was apt.

Firstly this act changed the previous legal situation, in which all property automatically transferred to the control of a husband on marriage.

It granted some limited separate protection to a married woman’s property and also permitted women to retain up to £200 of their own wages or earnings.

Similar changes did not take effect in Scotland until 1877.

“PLEASE NOTE WELL SOME PARTS OF THIS ARTICLE AND POST ARE COPYRIGHTED AND ARE MARKED”

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International Woman's Day :*Denomination: 60 F...

International Woman’s Day :*Denomination: 60 Filler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Families and households:

Because of high birth rates and improving life expectancy, Victorian families were generally large. The growth of residential domestic service, even low down the social scale, and the prevalence of lodgers, especially in towns, meant that many households were further swollen in size and complex in formation.

Although households consisting of more than two generations or containing more than one husband/wife partnership had never been common in Britain, there was a tendency, especially in textile districts, for grandparents to live in households containing young children, particularly where mothers were working outside the home.

…many households were dependent upon female earnings, especially those households run by widows.

Many young people, especially young women, migrated to towns and cities in search of work as the possibilities of agricultural employment declined. Migration was facilitated by family and other connections: communities were recreated in towns and cities through local concentrations of settlement of particular ethnic, religious, regional or familial groups and by the possibility of finding accommodation through lodging or domestic service in the homes of contacts of this kind.

Most households necessarily drew income from a number of sources, with many women and juveniles adding to wage earning even if their employment was usually more intermittent and low-paid than that of adult males. Although the male breadwinner wage was increasingly regarded as the ideal and even the norm, in practice many households were dependent upon female earnings, especially those households run by widows.

As the mid-Victorian boom got under-way the demand for female and juvenile labour expanded, particularly where new technologies or patterns of work were resented by skilled men. Cheap female and immigrant labour was often used to undercut male workers. Urbanisation created manifold opportunities for female employment despite the regulation of hours and conditions of work for women and juveniles in certain sectors, and the coming of compulsory education after 1871. Thus most women in Victorian society, in the two-thirds of the population below the upper and middle classes, worked for wages. But in what occupations and how much?

The evidence of women’s work:

Two Victorian woman at work in a hat factoryWorkers in a hat factory  ©One of the greatest problems facing the historian of women’s work is the absence of reliable information. The census enumerators’ books are the most obvious source, especially for the period after 1841 when occupations were included; but in practice such information is vastly more accurate for men than for women for several reasons. Firstly, contradictory and inconsistent instructions were given about how to classify women’s work, particularly where this involved home-working or consisted of helping in a family run business (such work was sometimes deliberately excluded from the record). Furthermore, women’s work was often part-time, casual, and not regarded as important enough to declare.

Women may have also have preferred to keep their income-earning a secret from their husband.

Sometimes it was illegal (as with prostitution) or performed in unregulated sweatshops (a further reason for failure to record). Women may have also have preferred to keep their income-earning a secret from their husband. An occupational designation, for whatever reason, meant something very different for men than for women.
With the emphasis primarily upon their role as wives and mothers, women workers did not usually see their occupation as a centrally defining characteristic of their lives, and therefore frequently failed to declare it.

Business records can be used to supplement the census and to give an indication of the gender-specific nature of employment and wage earning in certain firms and regions. But the survival of wage books is generally poor and biased in favour of larger firms in the regulated sector – for example factory textile employment, where wages and employment levels were generally much higher than the norm.

Trade directories are another useful source but suffer from the fact that they were published irregularly, and record not employment but the names of business proprietorships. Household budgets have recently been used for research on women’s work. They have the advantage that they generally record all incomes, including poor relief and self-provisioning, allowing one to assess the contribution of women and juveniles to the family economy. Their disadvantage is that they have patchy survival over time and region, and they have varying levels of detail, accuracy and comparability because they were compiled for differing purposes.

The varieties of women’s work:

Two Victorian woman working on the stitch work of a womans dressWorking in the rag trade  ©What do we know from the difficult evidence about patterns of women’s work over time and in different regions and sectors of the economy? The most obvious feature of women’s work was its importance to most families, its variability across time and space and its persistent association with certain trades and sectors.

Female employment in the 1850s, 60s and 70s appears to have been higher than any recorded again until after World War II. Family budget evidence suggests that around 30-40 per cent of women from working class families contributed significantly to household incomes in the mid-Victorian years. This might have been even higher during the industrial revolution decades, before the rise of State and trade union policies regulating female labour and promoting the male breadwinner ideal.

Domestic service of all kinds was the single largest employer of women ...

As in earlier centuries, the bulk of waged work for women appears to have been found in trades associated with female skills or proclivities, particularly where these were also casual and low paid.
Domestic service of all kinds was the single largest employer of women (40 per cent of female occupations stated in the census of 1851 in provincial cities and 50 per cent in London). The textile and clothing sectors came a close second. Women were also found in large numbers in metal wares and pottery and in a variety of petty trades, especially in towns: confectionery, brewing and other provisioning, seam-stressing, laundry work, cleaning and retailing. Because many sectors which employed large numbers of women were concentrated in certain regions of the country (as with the cotton and woollen industries of south Lancashire and west Yorkshire), the statistics of female labour force participation varied across the country.
Women and the family firm:

Outside the working classes the traditional view of Victorian women is that they were little involved in business or enterprise and that their lives were largely devoted to the private sphere of domestic and family life. Certainly the cultural and evangelical ideals of the period placed women on a pedestal of moral probity, motherhood and domestic orderliness. There is some evidence that middle class women in some sectors of the economy did increasingly withdraw from direct involvement in family firms in the mid-Victorian period, whilst the legal status of married women and their limited property rights made it difficult for them to operate in business on their own account at least before the 1880s.

…the stereotype of the middle-class woman as the angel in the house can easily be overplayed.

 However, the stereotype of the middle class woman as the angel in the house can easily be overplayed. Widows and spinsters were rarely in a position to rest on their laurels or be ladies of leisure. Many of the former carried on family businesses after the death of their husbands, whilst the significant surplus of spinsters in Victorian society found work as governesses or in trades which were regarded as suitable for women such as millinery and inn-keeping, grocery retailing and other victualling.
Both widows and spinsters were prominent in property ownership and in financing businesses as sleeping partners. The typical firm in the 19th century was a small family partnership. Because of this many opportunities existed for wives and daughters to be closely involved. There is evidence of their important roles, especially behind the scenes: in retailing, book-keeping, correspondence, dealing with clients, arranging deals.
Women’s work, industrialisation and gender:

A photograph showing a Victorian woman working on making hat boxesMaking hat boxes  ©The nature of industrialisation was much influenced by the prevalence of women’s work and by the wider role of women in Victorian society. Women were prominent in many sectors which underwent considerable technological and organisational change partly because employers at first found it easier to recruit women and juveniles to new practices in the face of opposition from established, unionised or skilled adult male workers. Women provided a flexible, cheap and adaptive workforce for factories and sweatshops, and had feminine skills associated with some of the most rapidly expanding consumer goods industries at the forefront of industrialisation such as textiles, pottery, clothing and victualling. Some new technologies were adapted and modified with young female workers in mind, while the cheap labour of women and children could also hold back mechanisation in favour of traditional labour intensive methods.

Women provided a flexible, cheap and adaptive workforce…

Regional and sectoral variations in the extent to which women were involved in waged work had a major impact upon regional differences in gender relations within families and communities, and upon the complexion of local politics and trade unionism. Women’s wage-earning ability often gave them more influence over wider familial and community decision-making. This included decisions about consumption, and has been held partly responsible for the increasing independence and fashion consciousness of young women, and the rise in mass spending on household goods, clothing, furniture, curtains and foodstuffs. The more women worked for wages the less time they had to produce their own goods for the home.
A double burden:

A Victorian wife keeps house for her on looking husbandVictorian working women bore the brunt of household duties (Punch cartoon, 1894)  ©In areas where many women, including married women, worked full-time for wages (for example in some of the cotton textile towns of the north-west such as Preston) there may have developed greater sharing of housework between men and women, and a more prominent role for women in local politics. However, there are more examples where working women shouldered the double burden of waged work and the bulk of household responsibilities, and where their role in politics remained marginal.

…working women shouldered the double burden of waged work and the bulk of household responsibilities…

As the 19th century progressed, there was a greater prevalence of gender-specific employment which was often used to enhance control and discipline in the workplace.
Supervisory roles were almost exclusively taken by men, and men also came to operate the most expensive and sophisticated machinery and to monopolise the high status and higher paid jobs even in textiles.
The expansion of heavy industries such as iron, steel, mining, engineering and ship building in the later century also created sectors which employed almost exclusively male labour, which were associated solely with male attributes and which endorsed the male breadwinner ideal. Thus a hardening of gender assumptions in the nineteenth century was closely associated with corresponding changes in the workplace.
Find out more:

Books

Women’s History in Britain, 1850-1945 ed. June Purvis (London UCL Press 1995) A collection of essays covering a range of topics from women’s work and the family to education, health, sexuality and politics.

Women, Gender and Industrialisation in England, 1700-1870 by Katrina Honeyman (Basingstoke Macmillan, 2000) A concise volume good on gender, class and industrialisation.

The First Industrial Woman by Deborah Valenze (Oxford OUP, 1995) Good on the implications of shifting employment patterns, agricultural work and domestic service.

A History of European Women’s Work, 1700 to the present by Deborah Simonton, (New York Routledge, 1998) Good for the longer time perspective and for European similarities and contrasts.

Links:

The Womens’ Library An organisation of historians of women in Britain promoting research and writing on women’s history. This website also contains a number of very useful links to other websites associated with the history of women.

Spartacus Schoolnet A website directed at schools containing biographies of key women in the history of the British women’s movement.

Places to visit:

There a several museums which help to recapture the nature of Victorian society and the place of women within it, most obviously the Victoria and Albert Museum in London which has wonderful collections of art and artefacts reflecting the nature of the middle and upper-class Victorian home. Smaller museums yield information and evidence of women’s work and their patterns of dress and consumption. Most notably Quarry Bank Mill at Style, Cheshire; the textile museum in the Halifax Piece Hall; and Platt Hall Museum, Manchester.

The new industrial and commercial middle classes of the Victorian era were great patrons of the arts, and some British provincial art galleries contain major collections of the sorts of works which they commissioned as well as work depicting domestic interiors and women. Amongst the best of these art galleries are the Birmingham City Art Gallery and the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

Consult some primary sourcesT detailing the nature of women’s work and household activities such as business records, census enumerator’s books, trade directories, household budgets and private diaries. Details of business records relating to women in the West Yorkshire textile industries can be found in The West Riding Wool Textile Industry: a catalogue of business records by Pat Hudson, (Edington, Pasold, 1976). Other guides to archive holdings can be found on the websites of most major repositories. Many collections of working class autobiographies have been published and include several written by women. For a guide see for example, The Autobiography of the Working Class: an annotated critical bibliography vols 1-3 ed. by J. Burnett, D. Vincent and J. Mayall, (Hassocks Harvester 1984, 1987, 1989).

Examining surviving Victorian housing from outside and from within can be very revealing particularly if these can be matched to information from Census returns. It is possible to reconstruct Victorian households at each census point and to imagine where each household member resided within the house. In many major cities there are now organised walks which are helpful in tracing Victorian history and women’s history trails. Details of these can usually be obtained from local history libraries.

About the author:

Pat Hudson is Professor of History in the School of History and Archaeology at Cardiff University. She specialises in the impact of economic and social change within different local and regional, economic, social and cultural settings. Her books include The Industrial Revolution (London, 1992).

 

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The Magna Carta 1215

English: John of England signs Magna Carta. Im...

English: John of England signs Magna Carta. Image from Cassell’s History of England – Century Edition – published circa 1902 Scan by Tagishsimon, 23rd June 2004 Português: João Sem Terra Assina a Carta Magna. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceHistoryNews says On June 15, 1215, in a field at Runnymede, King John affixed his seal to Magna Carta. Confronted by 40 rebellious barons, he consented to their demands in order to avert civil war. Just 10 weeks later, Pope Innocent III nullified the agreement, and England plunged into internal war.

Magna Carta, 1297:   Widely viewed as one of the most important legal documents in the history of democracy. On display in the West Rotunda Gallery at the National Archives. Presented courtesy of David M. Rubenstein.
Magna Carta

“The democratic aspiration is no mere recent phase in human history . . . It was written in Magna Carta.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1941 Inaugural address

Although Magna Carta failed to resolve the conflict between King John and his barons, it was reissued several times after his death. On display at the National Archives, courtesy of David M. Rubenstein, is one of four surviving originals of the 1297 Magna Carta. This version was entered into the official Statute Rolls of England.

Enduring Principles of Liberty:

Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. It is concerned with many practical matters and specific grievances relevant to the feudal system under which they lived. The interests of the common man were hardly apparent in the minds of the men who brokered the agreement. But there are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day:

“No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.”

“To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice.”

Inspiration for Americans:

During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution (“no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”) is a direct descendent of Magna Carta’s guarantee of proceedings according to the “law of the land.”


More Magna Carta Resources

You can view a short video about the Magna Carta conservation treatment and the Magna Carta encasement.

You can read a translation of the 1297 version of Magna Carta, which was issued as part of Edward I’s Confirmation of the Charters.

“Magna Carta and Its American Legacy” provides a more in-depth look at the history of Magna Carta and the influence it had on American constitutionalism.

You can also view a larger image of the Magna Carta.

 

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History of Food – Weights and Measures – Part Four

A baby bottle that measures in all three measu...

A baby bottle that measures in all three measurement systems—metric, imperial (UK), and US customary. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

British (Imperial) measures

Note that measurements in this section are in imperial units

Traditional British measures distinguish between weight and volume.

  • Weight is measured in ounces and pounds (avoirdupois) as in the U.S.
  • Volume is measured in Imperial gallons, quarts, pints, and fluid ounces. The Imperial gallon was originally defined as 10 pounds (4.5359 kg) of water in 1824, and refined as exactly 4.54609 litres in 1985. Older recipes may well give measurements in cups; insofar as a standard cup was used, it was usually 12 pint [~285 mL] (or sometimes 13 pint [~190 mL]), but if the recipe is one that has been handed down in a family, it is just as likely to refer to someone’s favourite kitchen cup as to that standard.
Table of volume units
Unit Ounces Pints Millilitres Cubic inches US ounces US pints
fluid ounce (fl oz) 1 120 28.4130625 1.7339 0.96076 0.060047
gill 5 14 142.0653125 8.6694 4.8038 0.30024
pint (pt) 20 1 568.26125 34.677 19.215 1.2009
quart (qt) 40 2 1,136.5225 69.355 38.430 2.4019
gallon (gal) 160 8 4,546.09 277.42 153.72 9.6076
Note: The millilitre figures are exact whereas the cubic-inch and US measure figures are to five significant digits.
Note 2: The Imperial Gallon is equal to 10 lbs of water.

American cooks using British recipes, and vice versa, need to be careful with pints and fluid ounces. A US pint is 473 mL, while a UK pint is 568 mL, about 20% larger. A US fluid ounce is 116 of a US pint (29.6 mL); a UK fluid ounce is 120 UK pint (28.4 mL). This makes an Imperial pint equivalent to 19.2 US fluid ounces.

On a larger scale, perhaps for institutional cookery, an Imperial gallon is eight Imperial pints (160 imp fl oz, 4.546 litres) whereas the US gallon is eight US pints (128 US fl oz, 3.785 litres).

The metric system was officially adopted in the UK, for most purposes, in the 20th century and both imperial and metric are taught in schools and used in books. It is now mandatory for the sale of food to also show metric. However, it is not uncommon to purchase goods which are measured and labeled in metric, but the actual measure is rounded to the equivalent imperial measure (i.e., milk labeled as 568 mL / 1 pint). In September 2007, the EU with Directive 2007/45/EC deregulated prescribed metric packaging of most products, leaving only wines and liqueurs subject to prescribed EU-wide pre-packaging legislation; the law relating to labelling of products remaining unchanged.

A 20 US fl oz (591 mL) bottle that displays bo...

A 20 US fl oz (591 mL) bottle that displays both US and Metric units. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Special instructions

Volume measures of compressible ingredients have a substantial measurement uncertainty, in the case of flour of about 20%. Some volume-based recipes, therefore, attempt to improve the reproducibility by including additional instructions for measuring the correct amount of an ingredient. For example, a recipe might call for “1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed”, or “2 heaping cups flour”. A few of the more common special measuring methods:

Firmly packed
With a spatula, a spoon, or by hand, the ingredient is pressed as tightly as possible into the measuring device.
Lightly packed
The ingredient is pressed lightly into the measuring device, only tightly enough to ensure no air pockets.
Even / level
A precise measure of an ingredient, discarding all of the ingredient that rises above the rim of the measuring device. Sweeping across the top of the measure with the back of a straight knife or the blade of a spatula is a common leveling method.
Rounded
Allowing a measure of an ingredient to pile up above the rim of the measuring device naturally, into a soft, rounded shape.
Heaping / heaped
The maximum amount of an ingredient which will stay on the measuring device.
Sifted
This instruction may be seen in two different ways, with two different meanings: before the ingredient, as “1 cup sifted flour”, indicates the ingredient should be sifted into the measuring device (and normally leveled), while after the ingredient, as “1 cup flour, sifted”, denotes the sifting should occur after measurement.

Such special instructions are unnecessary in weight-based recipes.

Ace History News – Related Articles:

https://britainshistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/history-of-weights-and-measures/

https://britainshistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/history-of-trading-standards-weights-and-measures-part-two/

https://britainshistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/history-of-money-weights-and-measures-part-three/

 

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History of Trading Standards – Weights and Measures – Part Two

"The Proclamation regarding Weights and M...

“The Proclamation regarding Weights and Measures A.D. 1556” by Ford Madox Brown, a mural at Manchester Town Hall. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A BRIEF HISTORY OF TRADING STANDARDS

Part TwoWEIGHTS AND MEASURES

The earliest assessment of weight was simply the load which a person could carry. Measures of length, and thus area, were also assessed in relation to the body – the foot, a hand or a pace. Accurate measurement was only required by rulers who would weigh the treasures in the Royal strong room, whilst for ordinary people trade continued by barter.

The oldest known weights date back to around 8000 B.C. and by 3000 B.C., trade weighing had begun. This spread from the Indus civilisation and by 2500 B.C. the whole Babylonian and Egyptian empires were weighing goods for trade transactions. With the development of coinage around 700 B.C. the need for accuracy and standardisation became more important.

In England various systems of weights have come and gone. Different systems were used in different areas and in different trades. By Tudor times no fewer than six different measures of the pound weight were in use, according to what was to be weighed and in which industry.

In the field of length measurement there were similar variations. In the Thirteenth Century four different measures of the foot were in use in England and Wales, according to the area where they were used and whether they were used for building or land measurement.

Over the following centuries a slow process of standardisation followed with Monarchs and Parliament passing statues with the aim of producing conformity and accuracy. Standard weights and length measures were produced and maintained to provide accurate standards against which copies could be assessed.

Standards Plaque by Steble Fountain. Liverpool

Standards Plaque by Steble Fountain. Liverpool (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the 1790’s in France the Metric system was introduced both for weighing and measuring. This system, based on natural constants, was adopted by 18 countries in 1875. In 1897 the Metric system became legal for trade use in Great Britain.

Today the United Kingdom, along with the United States, are the only major trading nations not solely using the Metric system. This however is changing. Already pre-packed goods are sold in Metric units, and by the beginning of the next millennium only a few transactions, such as the sale of pints of beer, will be in Imperial units.

FOOD AND DRINK

Apart from the systems of weights and measures the area of trading standards work with the longest history of regulation has been the composition and sale of food and drink.

The Assize of Bread and Ale of 1266 regulated the weight of the Farthing Loaf, and the quantity of a Penny of Ale according to the price of the ingredients. Bakers or Brewers who gave short measure could be fined, put in the pillory or flogged.

Over the following centuries, further legislation was enacted covering the selling of a variety of foodstuffs such as wine, cheese, fish, salt and tea. These acts covered the quantities products were to be sold in, and the measures to be used. Further acts covered the checking of equipment and weights used in trade transactions.

Legislation was also passed to ensure the quality of foodstuffs and outlaw adulteration. Unscrupulous producers and traders would add sawdust to bread dough, grease to coffee and even sulphuric acid to vinegar. Where adulteration resulted in widespread serious illness or even death the tradesmen could be executed.

English: BIPM logo

English: BIPM logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, mill owners were complaining their workers were performing badly due to the poor quality, adulterated food. This again led to legislation being passed throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Today the quality, weight and description of foodstuffs are covered by a wide range of laws. Trading Standards Officers inspect factories and retail outlets to ensure standards are maintained.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

From the 1960’s onwards legislation was passed concerning consumer safety and consumer protection. This legislation includes the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 which prohibits false descriptions about goods and services; The Consumer Credit Act 1974 which regulates the provision of credit, and the Consumer Protection Act 1987 which covered the safety of consumer goods and also dealt with misleading prices.

In the 1990’s legislation has largely been from the European Parliament or has enacted European Directives. This has included the General Product Safety Regulations which has the requirement that consumer products are safe.

ADMINISTRATION

In the Middle Ages, enforcement of weights and measures, and food statutes was in the hands of the Monarch’s local agents. This could mean the local courts, magistrates or sheriffs. Trade Guilds often regulated food transactions in order to control quality.

In 1340 the post of the Clerk of the Market was established. The post-holder in each town was responsible for ensuring that all false weights and measures were destroyed.

Acts of Parliament in 1834 and 1835 established the post of Inspector of Weights and Measures, and the Adulteration of Food and Drugs Act 1872 created the position of Food Sampling Officers.

Today Inspectors of Weights and Measures, or Trading Standards Officer as they are now known, are employed by Local Authorities.

Thank you to West Yorkshire Trading Standards for supplying this information.

Related Article: Part One: https://britainshistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/history-of-weights-and-measures/

 

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Rare Sheet Music Dating Back Until the 15th-Century Found in Herefordshire Archives

A RARE sheet of music dating back hundreds of years has been discovered at the county’s records office.15th-Century Music Sheet

The historical document, believed to be from the 14th or 15th century, was discovered as final preparations are made to move thousands of documents to a new archives centre on Hereford’s Rotherwas Industrial Estate.

The current office in Harold Street, St James, will close temporarily on January 1 to allow contents to be cleaned and re-packaged ahead of the move.

The contents for cleaning include 17,500 boxes and 5,000 maps.

Anyone wishing to carry out research at the office can do so from November 4 to 9 and from December 9 to 14.

These dates will be the last chance to view records until the new centre opens, unless visitors pay a small fee.

Councillor Roger Phillips, Herefordshire Council cabinet member for enterprise and culture, said: “The archives and records staff have a monumental task ahead of them in order to correctly prepare thousands of important historical documents ahead of their move to the new centre.

“During the process so far, a number of fascinating documents have been discovered, including a rare sheet of medieval music, and it is imperative that we preserve these documents for future generations.

“If you have an interest in archiving, we need volunteers to help with the immense task of cataloguing and preparing the county’s records.”

 

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Trick or Treating in the UK

Almost all pre-1940 uses of the term “trick-or-treat” are from the western United States and Canada. Trick-or-treating spread from the western United States eastward, stalled by sugar rationing that began in April 1942 during World War II and did not end until June 1947. 

Magazine advertisement in 1962

Early national attention to trick-or-treating was given in October 1947 issues of the children’s magazines Jack and Jill and Children’s Activities, and by Halloween episodes of the network radio programs The Baby Snooks Show in 1946 and The Jack Benny Show and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in 1948. Trick-or-treating was depicted in the Peanuts comic strip in 1951. The custom had become firmly established in popular culture by 1952, when Walt Disney portrayed it in the cartoon Trick or Treat, and Ozzie and Harriet were besieged by trick-or-treaters on an episode of their television show. In 1953 UNICEF first conducted a national campaign for children to raise funds for the charity while trick-or-treating

Despite the concept of trick or treating originating in Scotland in the form of guising, the use of the term ‘trick or treat’ at the doors of home owners was not common until the 1980’s. Guising is devoid of any jocular threat, and according to one BBC journalist, in the 1980’s it was still often viewed as an exotic and not particularly welcome import, with the BBC referring to it as “the Japanese knot-weed of festivals” and “making demands with menaces”.  In Ireland before the phrase “trick or treat” became common, children would say “Help the Halloween Party”. Very often, the phrase “trick or treat” is simply said and the revellers are given sweets, with the choice of a trick or a treat having been discarded.

English: A typical Halloween "trick or tr...

English: A typical Halloween “trick or treat” party in Dublin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 GUISING

In Scotland and Ireland, “guising” — children going from door to door in disguise — is traditional, and a gift in the form of food, coins or “apples or nuts for the Halloween party” (in more recent times chocolate) is given out to the children dressed up in various costumes. The tradition is called “guising” because of the disguises or costumes worn by the children. In the West Mid Scots dialect, guising is known as “galoshans”.  Among the earliest record of guising at Halloween in Scotland is in 1895, where masqueraders in disguise carrying lanterns made out of scooped out turnips, visit homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money. Guising also involved going to wealthy homes, and in the 1920s, boys went guising at Halloween up to the affluent Thornton Hall ,South Lanarkshire.  An account of guising in the 1950s in Ardrossan, North Ayrshire, records a child receiving 12 shillings and sixpence having knocked on doors throughout the neighbour-hood and performed. There is a significant difference from the way the practice has developed in North America with the jocular threat. In Scotland and Ireland, the children are only supposed to receive treats if they perform for the households they go to. This normally takes the form of singing a song or reciting a joke or a funny poem which the child has memorized before setting out. Occasionally a more talented child may do card tricks, play the mouth organ, or something even more impressive, but most children will earn plenty of treats even with something very simple. Often they won’t even need to perform. While going from door to door in disguise has remained popular among Scots and Irish at Halloween, the North American saying “trick-or-treat” has become common.

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Snapshot of History -The British Overseas Territories

English: All territories held by the British E...

English: All territories held by the British Empire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the height of its power in the late 19th century, the British Empire had acquired about one-quarter of the world’s land area, including territories with large indigenous populations in Asia and Africa. Some colonies have since gained independence, but Britain continues to control the administration and legislature of 14 colonies known as the British Overseas Territories. As they are found on or near every continent, the sun still never sets on the British Empire. What are the 14 colonies?

 

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