12 October 2011

Internet Archive resources

At Saturday's BIFHSGO meeting I was asked how to find a book on the Internet Archive that had been a resource for one of last month's conference talks. It had been mentioned by Helen Osborn, a description of life in the London Borough of Lambeth at about the time of the 1911 census. The book, "Round About a Pound a Week", documented the lives of an ordinary working man's family.

Search the Internet Archive texts at http://www.archive.org/details/texts

It's well worth exploring the Internet Archive, and other sources for out of copyright digitized books, for descriptions of times gone by. Another book I came across is "From Crow-scaring to Westminster" describing the life experiences of Norfolk born George Edwards [1850 – 1933]. Edwards started life as an ag lab and the first three chapters of the book give a vivid impression of conditions under which he laboured as child and youth.

"At the next wheat-sowing I was again put to scaring crows, and when this was finished I was set to work cleaning turnips, and what cold hands I had when the snow was on the ground ! And what suffering from backache ! Those who know anything about this class of work may judge how hard it was for a child of six and a half years."

So much for the good old days!

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