Guest blog: Old Leeds Cold Cures

Thanks for this guest reblog go to the author Ross Horsley who is the Librarian Manager in the Local and Family History Library and Information Service (Leeds City Council).
The Library’s excellent blog, ‘The Secret Library’, can be found here: http://secretlibraryleeds.net

Blanche L. Leigh was the wife of one of our professional grandsons, Percival Leigh (dentist).

Dr. Alison Kay

The Secret Library | Leeds Libraries Heritage Blog

Cough pills advert from the Leeds Mercury, November 1917 Cough pills advert from the Leeds Mercury, November 1917

When coughs and colds sweep the offices of The Secret Library – as they do around the beginning of every winter – it’s not a pretty sight. But we are, after all, a hardy bunch, accustomed to the draughts and drips of a 130-year-old building, so we soldier on. And one of our most invaluable weapons in the defence against disease is the Leeds Household Book of 1917.

If you’ve ever fancied a knock-up supper of Oyster Custard, Boiled Cheese or Spiff Pudding, then this is the book for you. Indeed, it’s also for you if you’ve ever wondered what Spiff Pudding actually is. But where the volume really comes into its own is in its plethora of easy home remedies for illnesses of all kinds – all collected by editor Blanche L. Leigh.

Leigh seems to have been quite the…

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About this project

This three-year research project, beginning in January 2014, will investigate whether during the Victorian period the professions formed a distinct self-sustaining social group with its own mores and values.

With the advent of family history websites and social media it is possible to determine for the first time by studying families across several generations if professional families generally intermarried and whether children entered professions rather than chose careers in enterprise. We have included, unlike some commentators, the army and navy and civil service alongside the old professions of church, law and medicine. We will also seek to discover if the new professions which emerge during the Victorian period, such as accountants, architects, bankers, engineers and teachers, are also colonised by children from professional backgrounds.

A good deal hangs on these arguments as it has become fashionable in contemporary politics to attack the professions as being inimical to economic development because as a group they espouse social welfare values.

The research will focus on a sample of 1,000 professional people drawn from the 1851 census for Alnwick, Brighton, Bristol, Dundee, Greenock, Leeds, Merthyr Tydfil, Morpeth and Winchester. We have chosen these towns because they are geographically far apart and have different characteristics.

You will find lists of the people we have selected on the people page on our website. If you know about the family histories of any of these people, we are keen to hear from you. We are interested in any papers, photographs or memorials you may know of. If your family includes professional people and is from these towns, but not in the sample we would also like to hear from you.

Information about who we are and how we can be contacted can be found on the who we are page in the blog. The research project is funded by the UK Economic & Social Research Council and based at the Universities of Oxford and Northumbria.