The history of the Guinea Pig Club, the band of airmen who were seriously burned in aeroplane fires, is a truly inspiring, spine-tingling tale. Plastic surgery was in its infancy before the Second World War, and the most rudimentary techniques were only known to a few surgeons worldwide. The Allies were tremendously fortunate in having maverick surgeon Archibald McIndoe - nicknamed 'the Boss', or 'the Maestro' - operating at a small hospital. McIndoe constructed a medical infrastructure from scratch and set up a revolutionary new treatment regime. Uniquely concerned with the social environment, or holistic care, McIndoe also enlisted the help of the local civilian population. He rightly secured his group of patients, dubbed the Guinea Pig Club, an honoured place in society as heroes of the Second World War.
Mitch Peeke/Kevin Walsh-Johnson
RMS LUSITANIA is best remembered today for the controversy surrounding her loss as the result of a German submarine attack on Friday 7th May, 1915, during the First World War. But this book also tells of her life before that cataclysmic event: the ground-breaking advances in maritime engineering that she represented, her hitherto unheard-of degree of opulence, and her seven glorious years of peacetime service - including her capture of the coveted Blue Riband award for Great Britain. Here, three members of the Lusitania Historical Society take a close and authoritative look at the disaster which befell her, and attempt to determine why this magnificent vessel, together with over a thousand souls, was lost in a mere eighteen minutes...
This is the true story of a woman who began life as a poor fish fryer in a disease-ridden, grubby corner of Victorian London. Madame Rachel had everything: a Mayfair address and the title of 'Purveyor to Her Majesty The Queen'. Her shop was full of exotic, expensive creams and potions. Her clientele were aristocratic, rich, gullible and came in their droves, lured by the promise of eternal beauty. What they found there was a con-woman and fraudster who made a career out of lies, treachery and the desperate hopes of women wanting to be 'beautiful for ever'.
Lynn Russell/Neil Hanson
From the 1930s through to the 1980s, as Britain endured war, depression, hardship and strikes, the women at the Rowntree's factory in York kept the chocolates coming. This is the true story of The Sweethearts - the women who roasted the cocoa beans, piped the icing and packed the boxes that became gifts for lovers, snacks for workers and treats for children across the country. More often than not, their work days provided welcome relief from bad husbands and bad housing, and a community where they could find new confidence, friendship and, when the supervisor wasn't looking, the occasional chocolate.
The Second World War was the WI's finest hour. The whole of their previous history - two decades of educating, entertaining and supporting women, and campaigning on women's issues - culminated in a collective desire to 'do their bit' for Britain. With all the vigour, energy and enthusiasm at their disposal, a third of a million country women set out to make their lives and the lives of those around them more bearable in what they described as a 'period of insanity'. Through archive material and interviews with many WI members, Julie Summers takes us behind the scenes, revealing their nitty-gritty approach to the daily problems presented by the conflict. This is the compelling true story of how the Women's Institute pulled rural Britain through the war with pots of jam and a spirit of make-do-and-mend.
This delightfully playful history uses 36 of our most expressive, quriky, beautiful and sometimes baffling stamps to tell us the story of Britain, through Dickens and the potato famine to Thatcher and punk. Stamps tell a story. Since the Penny Black first burst on the scene in 1840, they have made and mirrored history as it happens - from the "Britsh Empire Exhibition" of 1924 to the Austerity Olympics of 1948, from the Coronation to the death of Diana, from the advent of computers to the new Millennium. Chris West is a stamp-obsessive. He has picked his favourites to tell a hugely entertaining and idiosyncratic history.