What role did elderly Britons have in shaping the twentieth-century welfare state? In her new book, Aging in Twentieth-Century Britain
(University of California Press, 2018), Charlotte Greenhalgh offers a compelling portrait of a segment of Britain’s twentieth-century population that has, to date, received limited scholarly attention. Mobilizing a range of sources, from social science reports to women’s magazines, from photographs to autobiographies, Greenhalgh successfully foregrounds experiences and meanings of old age. Her thoughtful analysis highlights subjects’ rich interior and emotional lives, often by focusing on moments when the elderly addressed issues beyond old age. At the same time, Greenhalgh reveals the elderly’s periodic silencing by social investigators, policy makers, and younger Britons, in the development of the very projects that were supposed to improve elderly lives.
Dr. Charlotte Greenhalgh
is an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow and Lecturer at Monash University.
Jess Clark is an Assistant Professor of History at Brock University (St. Catharines, Ontario). She is currently writing a history of the beauty business in Victorian London.