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Larkin was right, more or less

Michael Mason, 5 June 1997

Fertility, Class and Gender in Britain 1860-1940 
by Simon Szreter.
Cambridge, 704 pp., £50, January 1996, 0 521 34343 7
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... It threatens their generalising if the resemblances between events are just accidental. Simon Szreter’s remarkable and very important book argues, in effect, that coincidence has deceived the historians of family sexuality in the period 1860-1960 – and moreover that sometimes the historians connived in their own deception. The birth-rate ...

Successive Applications of Sticking-Plaster

Andrew Saint: The urban history of Britain, 1 November 2001

The Cambridge Urban History of Britain. Vol. III: 1840-1950 
edited by Martin Daunton.
Cambridge, 944 pp., £90, January 2001, 0 521 41707 4
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... and far worse than London, were the new industrial ones. Analysing fertility and mortality rates, Simon Szreter and Anne Hardy judge that in places such as these the 1830s and 1840s were probably the ‘worst ever decades for life expectancy since the Black Death’; and they repaint the ever pathetic picture of ‘relentless youthfulness’, of a ...

Short Cuts

Tom Crewe: The p-p-porn ban, 4 April 2019

... uselessly anguished. This in turn tallies with the accounts given by the contributors to Simon Szreter and Kate Fisher’s endlessly fascinating oral history, Sex before the Sexual Revolution: Intimate Life in England, 1918-63 (2010), who testified to an opaque regime of sexual knowledge, structured by gender and class distinctions, with ...

Swiping at Suburbs

Andrew Saint: The course of British urbanism, 31 March 2005

Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City 
by Tristram Hunt.
Weidenfeld, 432 pp., £25, June 2004, 0 297 60767 7
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... not only those Manchester horror-mongers, Southey, Carlyle and Engels, but modern scholars such as Simon Szreter, who has picked over the demographics and concludes, of the early 1840s, that industrialisation had ‘actually set back standards of living’ and caused ‘a massive reversal of previous improvements in life expectancy’. Despite the mammoth ...

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