A Vicar's Wife in Oxford, 1938-1943

September 2018
16 black and white, 4 line illustrations
292 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9780902509740
Format: Hardback
BISAC HIS037070, HIS015000, BIO000000

A Vicar's Wife in Oxford, 1938-1943

The Diary of Madge Martin

Edited by Patricia Malcolmson, Robert Malcolmson

The diary of a clerical wife during the Second World War provides fascinating insights into life at the time.
War had an impact on even genteel civilians in unraided cities like Oxford (though safety was never assured), among them Madge Martin (born 1899), wife of the vicar of St Michael at the North Gate, Oxford. Her pre-war life, full of travel, theatre visits, walks, books and films, was jolted into very different realities: she found herself undertaking more housework (by 1943 she had lost both her maids), volunteering with the Red Cross, and housing her two sisters' families, who self-evacuated at different times to Madge's home to escape London's air raids.
Her private diary, engagingly and accessibly written, discloses much about her thoughts and feelings and social relations; some tribulations (she endured serious and frequent headaches); and her ambivalences concerning her role as a parson's wife. It shows both the persistence of comfortable, established lifestyles and necessary adaptations to the constraints of existing in wartime. It is presented here with notes and introduction.

PATRICIA and ROBERT MALCOLMSON are social historians with a special interest in Mass Observation, women in World War Two, and English diaries written between the 1930s and the 1950s.

Table of Contents

From Peace to War: September 1938-September 1939
Prelude to Bloodshed: September 1939-May 1940
In Danger: May 1940-September 1940
Battlegrounds: September 1940-May 1941
Matters New, Matters Old: May 1941-September 1941
A Mixture of Frailties: October 1941-June 1942
Better Times? June 1942-December 1942
Carrying On: January 1943-December 1943
Appendix A: Madge Martin and John Hall
Appendix B: Madge Martin's Reading


[Madge] expressed her feelings about the frightening start, progress and celebratory end to the Second World War...her writing in the 1930s and early 1940s is full of detail. OXFORD MAIL

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