Afternoon tea, the Women's Institute, Mrs. Beeton, department stores, suburbia, seaside holidays, and cycling clubs—all are preserves of the great middle class. But where did the middle classes come from? And what makes a person middle class today? Although the term is part of our everyday language, the middle class has not been a feature of the British social scene from time immemorial. Drawing on the memories and life stories of individuals and families, as well as the words of distinguished historians and social commentators, this fascinating portrait of a people traces the roots of middle-class values in Victorian England through to the great educational reforms of the 20th century. Panoramic and personal, this book provides a compelling picture of this influential social group and looks at what their future might be.
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Simon Gunn is a Principal Lecturer in History at Leeds Metropolitan University and author of the widely praised THE PUBLIC CULTURE OF THE VICTORIAN MIDDLE CLASS (MUP 2000). Rachel Bell was the series producer for BBC Bristol's MIDDLE CLASSES AND ARISTOCRACY.Review:
'Based on a major BBC television series, MIDDLE CLASSES: THEIR RISE AND SPRAWL is a scintillating exploration of the mock-Tudor and net-curtained world of the English bourgeoisie.'Travis Elborough, WATERSTONE'S BOOKS QUARTERLY Simon Gunn and Rachel Bell have done lots of regional radio interviews including: BBC RADIO WALES, BBC GMR, BBC MIDLANDS LATE SHOW, BBC RADIO LEEDS, BBC RADIO BRISTOL, BBC WILTSHIRE SOUND, BBC RADIO SOLENT and BBC RADIO KENT. Frank McLynn in the SUNDAY EXPRESS (23/6) has given the book a 4-star review: '[The authors'] mix of anecdotes, case studies, and abstract discussion turns out to
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