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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 03 March 2010

Fetching water, cleaning knives, shovelling out a privy, setting fires - how did servants make sense of the tough menial duties in the 18th-century home? During that time they made up the largest occupational group in the British state, and the historian Caroline Steedman argues that servants' resentments and personal philosophies had a huge impact on the development of the English character and the British nation state. Laurie Taylor discusses a neglected corner of social history with Caroline Steedman and Amanda Vickery.

Laurie also hears about the working class at Britain's elite universities; Diane Reay tells him about her research into state-educated working-class children studying at Oxbridge.

  • Carolyn Steedman

    Carolyn Steedman, Professor of History at the University of Warwick

    Labours Lost: Domestic Service and the Making of Modern England
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    ISBN-10: 0521736234
    ISBN-13: 978-0521736237

    Find out more about Carolyn Steedman
  • Amanda Vickery

    Amanda Vickery, Professor of Modern British History at Royal Holloway, University of London

    Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England
    Publisher: Yale University Press
    ISBN-10: 0300154534
    ISBN-13: 978-0300154535

    Find out more about Amanda Vickery
  • Diane Reay

    Diane Reay, Professor of Education at Cambridge University

    Paper ‘Strangers in paradise’? Working Class students in Elite Universities
    Diane Reay; Gill Crozier; John Clayton (authors)
    Sociology, Vol. 43, No. 6, 1103-1121 (2009)
    DOI: 10.1177/0038038509345700

    Find out more about Diane Reay


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