callmemadam (callmemadam) wrote,
callmemadam
callmemadam

Nostalgia with ‘The Button Box’ by Lynn Knight



How clever an idea is this? In The Button Box: Lifting the Lid on Women’s Lives Lynn Knight, beginning with her Grandma’s button box, describes the clothes worn by members of her own family and all the sewing, altering and mending that went on. From this family story she develops a history of women’s clothes, fashions (not at all the same thing), domestic lives and working conditions. For instance, a linen button, taken from the box, leads to an account of what they were used for, how they were made and what life was like for the women who made them. This is social history anyone can enjoy; it’s as easy to read as a novel. I very much like the way quotations from novels are used to illustrate a point.

For people of a certain age (me), there’s a lot of nostalgia in the sections dealing with the fifties onwards. Cuticura! I can’t even remember what it was (something for nails, I imagine), yet the name leapt off the page at me. Paper nylon petticoats! Coty L’Aimant! I even wore that myself in the sixties. Lynn Knight is very good at describing women’s longing for clothes they can’t have/afford, especially in wartime. She is in no doubt that clothes *matter*.



This is my Grandmother’s button box, possibly my great grandmother’s. I had great fun wasting time going through it to see if I could match any of the buttons shown on the book’s endpapers.



Answer: not many exact matches but some jolly ones. Don’t you wonder about the clothes they once adorned?



I bought this hardback book from Amazon for £3.99 (I see the price has now gone up slightly). Quite a bargain.
Tags: history, housekeeping, knitting, lynn knight, sewing
Subscribe

Recent Posts from This Journal

  • At last: The Chalet School prospectus

    As previewed here. The Chalet School is situated by the side of the Tiern See (or Tiernsee) in the beautiful Austrian Tyrol (or Tirol). The lovely…

  • Hurricane, Bob Dylan

    One of Bob’s best songs, from one of his best albums. This song includes one of his most outrageous rhymes, which has been in my head since I first…

  • How news works

    The entire England ODI squad has to self-isolate after some positive testing. A team put together in two days has two good WINS over Pakistan and it…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 11 comments

Recent Posts from This Journal

  • At last: The Chalet School prospectus

    As previewed here. The Chalet School is situated by the side of the Tiern See (or Tiernsee) in the beautiful Austrian Tyrol (or Tirol). The lovely…

  • Hurricane, Bob Dylan

    One of Bob’s best songs, from one of his best albums. This song includes one of his most outrageous rhymes, which has been in my head since I first…

  • How news works

    The entire England ODI squad has to self-isolate after some positive testing. A team put together in two days has two good WINS over Pakistan and it…