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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nelson outdoor photo exhibit reflects physically distanced life

Portraits of a Pandemic runs until Oct. 15 at Lakeside Park

West Kootenay mother searching for son missing since Sept. 1

Police are investigating the disappearance of Cory Westcott

CBC host to discuss the future of libraries

Nelson library hosts an online event with Nora Young Oct. 6

MP Morrison faults federal Throne Speech as new Parliament session begins

Kootenay-Columbia representative criticizes a lack of focus on jobs, support for resource sector

From The Heart, a next chapter in Kootenay youth making a difference

Andrea Mann talks about the follow up to last year’s project

B.C.’s top doctor thanks supporters after revealing threats over COVID-19 measures

Dr. Bonnie Henry says COVID-19 has caused some people to lash out in anger and frustration out of fear

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Lumber hitting record high prices due to low supply and high demand

B.C.’s forest industry hasn’t been able to keep pace with the COVID-19 building boom

‘Monkey Beach’ supernatural film adaptation premiers at VIFF

Based on Kitamaat author Eden Robinson’s debut, mystical novel

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C.-born Trybe social media app’s award system connects with Nickelback singer

Rock stars, jet planes, scooter tricks and the creation of a new platform ready for launch

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

B.C. VOTES 2020: Speculation tax misses speculators, B.C. Liberals say

Andrew Wilkinson, John Horgan clash over housing costs, solutions

Most Read