Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Stepping back...

I have spent the last few days in the 1920s and 30s.

I found this book in a junk shop at the weekend - The Home of To-day, published in Britain in 1930 by Daily Express publications, full of useful tips for the newly married.
I read Agatha Christie mysteries at the age of ten and have devoured everything written by or about the Mitford girls so I'm in heaven. I am sneezing constantly (the dust I suppose) but can't seem to put it down.

Want to know how to host a garden party, a simple little recipe for Liver a la Francaise or how to manage your maid? It's all here.

Descriptions of the very latest in modern kitchens. Gas or electric ovens? My dear, how smart. 

Quite a few pages on the sometimes vexing relationship between maid and mistress.
"Any normal maid will appreciate a pretty, well equipped room and since pretty things do not cost any more than dull ones, and are just as useful, there is no reason why a girl should not have the pleasure of a nice room, the possession of which will go far towards making her happy and contented." 

Bachelor men are not forgotten. "Unless he is really forlorn and lonesome, he will have some sort of a housekeeper or landlady to look after his everyday needs, brush his carpets, make his bed and perhaps, mend his socks."

Doses of cod liver oil, poultice and hot mustard baths seem to cure a lot of ills and  there's  the rather alarming advice to take precaution against the sun by protecting skin with a layer of olive oil.

There are three pages on the intricacies of calling cards - three pages and I am still not sure of the rules! And of course there's how to sit, converse and dress.

"Women in higher grades of life wear plain, tailored garments while shopping in the forenoon, and smart frocks at afternoon functions. Evening dress has its own rules. Jewels may then be worn to an extent only limited to good taste."

"Becomingness is the first consideration to a wise woman when selecting a dress... but anything very daring or conspicuous should be avoided."

I'm afraid I could become quite the crashing bore reading bits of this aloud to anyone who will listen.

First image from here


  1. Oh what a gorgeous book. Times have certainly changed. My husband's Nana used to have a book about marital relations written in the 1940s. She must have bought it before she was married. Fascinating stuff in this day of anything goes...

  2. Oh that's fantastic Ann. I also love the 20's & 30's. Love Agatha Christie, old B&W movies, I loved 'The Mitford Girls' and 'The Great Gatsby' etc so I would also enjoy this book. I love finding out how our Great Grandparents lived!
    Thanks for sharing & also for your lovely comment today! Jxx

  3. How absolutely gorgeous! I'd love to read it. I'd especially love to read that bit about how to manage a maid. I have such trouble with mine! They keep disappearing! LOL!

  4. That's my kind of book..I love reading about social etiquette in different eras..Rachaelxx


Thanks for taking the time to write, Ann x


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