Patricia and Robert Malcolmson speak at the Nelson Public Library on Tuesday.

Social history examined at Nelson library

The diaries of famous people are popular reading, but it’s the diaries of ordinary folk that historians look to for details of our past.

The diaries of famous people are popular reading, but it’s the diaries of ordinary folk — sometimes living in extraordinary times — that historians look to for elusive details of our past. Social historians Patricia and Bob Malcolmson offer a glimpse into the role of personal journals in our understanding of history in a special presentation on Tuesday, October 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Nelson Public Library.

Books authored by the Malcolmsons include (by Bob) Popular Recreations in English Society 1700-1850 (1973) and Life and Labour in England 1700-1780 (1981); and (by Patricia) English Laundresses: A Social History 1850-1930 (1986) and Me and My Hair: A Social History (2012).

Their latest book, Women at the Ready: The Remarkable Story of the Women’s Voluntary Services on the Home Front, was released in the summer. During the past decade they have been active in editing for publication of some the best diaries held in the Mass Observation Archive at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England.

The Malcolmsons have edited three volumes of the diaries of the remarkable and prolific literary housewife Nella Last, who lived in the shipyard city of Barrow-in-Furness: Nella Last’s Peace (2008), Nella Last in the 1950s (2010), and The Diaries of Nella Last: Writing in War and Peace (2012).

“I like to feel the beat of life,” Last wrote in 1941, and in her engaging writings she makes the reader feel it, too. With keen editing to best illustrate both the person and the times, the Nella Last series is an excellent example of the Malcolmsons’ expertise.

The Nella Last diaries inspired a BAFTA award-winning TV drama. The presentation will be of interest for anyone with an interest in reading and writing history.

Just Posted

Nelson considers amnesty on parking fines

Drivers with backlogged fines would have until January to apply

Check This Out: The future just keeps getting friendlier

Anne DeGrace is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Nelson PublicLibrary. Check This Out runs every other week.

EDITORIAL: Federal NDP challenges evident on Kootenay campaign trip

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh tours the Kootenays in support of local MPs, proportional representation

Gabriel Macdonald to perform at Capitol Theatre

Vocal quartet Vivace includes singer who grew up in Nelson

Playmor Junction Big Band to perform at SD8 schools

Concerts will be held at W.E. Graham, Trafalgar and J.V. Humphries

Feds give formal notice for law to end Canada Post strike

Trudeau government ready to legislate employees back to work after five weeks of rotating strikes

Getzlaf lifts Ducks to 4-3 win over skidding Canucks

Vancouver now winless since Nov. 8

Pressure builds for B.C. to recognize physicians assistants

“We can make a difference and I think we’re being overlooked.”

Senators urge Trump to expedite congressional vote on USMCA

The 12 Republican senators are warning of the dangers of getting the trade pact approved in 2019

Bill just one tool to deter foreign interference in Canadian elections: Gould

Bill C-76 is just one means to deter outside interference in Canadian elections

Hunters fined $14,000 for illegal harvesting

Guns, carcasses seized after two bighorn sheep killed out of season on mining property

Investigation into B.C. legislature officers began in January

RCMP brought in months after former prison administrator started

Legal challenge filed over high-stakes competition to design $60B warships

The federal government had originally said it wanted a “mature design” for its new warship fleet, which was widely interpreted as meaning a vessel that has already been built and used by another navy.

‘There has to be accountability’: victims of sterilization demand action

Morningstar Mercredi says she woke up from a surgery at 14 and immediately broke down when she discovered the baby she once felt inside of her was gone.

Most Read