The past through the eyes of today


Recent events reminded me of a quote from L.P. Hartley (author of “The Go-Between”): “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” I have been reading a book published by Amateur Gardening in about 1930. Amateur Gardening magazine was founded in May 1884 and its founder remained editor for 40 years. The second editor from 1926 to 1946, a period that included the Dig for Victory campaign was A.J Macself. He wrote and compiled many gardening books during his years one of which was “The Woman’s Treasury for Home and Garden”. It is indeed a Treasury of information on all aspects of home gardening including flowers inside and out, children and pets in the garden, recipes. However, it displays a view of the place of women (assumed to be wives) that does not accord with our views today:
Great are the numbers of ardent enthusiasts who must of necessity keep expenditure on their hobby under careful restraint. To such the helpful co-operation of a wife who can put much that the garden produces to serviceable purposes in the home is of very practical value…
The man grows, the women puts it to good use, adding value through the sections entitled “The wife’s Bees” and “The Wife’s Poultry”.
​We do things differently today and are the better for it.

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