John Charlton: Making Middle England

Naomi Mitchison, novelist, poet, dramatist and political activist in Peace movements and Anti-Apartheid.

Dick Mitchison, Labour MP for Kettering, treasurer of the Socialist League, 1930s, author of The First Workers’ Government, a utopian account of what would follow the election of a Labour Government.

These are just two members of the talented Mitchison family the story of which is old in this new book published by History & Social Action Publications.

A hitherto unknown and substantial collection of documents enabled the author to construct an elaborate family history. The story is told of Mitchisons’ origins in the north east of England, their lives there in the 18th century and their move to London in the early 19th century. They are located in the rise of the English middle class and a social ascent afforded by the acquisition of property and fortuitous marriage. They inhabited a world of comfortable prosperity in Victorian and Edwardian which was rocked and remade by the shifting economic and political sands of the early 20th century.

“This fascinating and well-illustrated volume is an excellent example of what family history should be like at its best. Embracing the globe from Northumberland to New Zealand, particularly impressive is the manner in which ancestry and descent from the eighteenth to twentieth century is integrated with the framework of economic and social analysis.” Professor Willie Thompson.

John Charlton is a historian married to Naomi Mitchison’s grand-daughter Sally Mitchison, and former consultant psychiatrist. John is author of among other works of:

Hidden Chains: The Slavery Business and North East England. 1600-1865 (Tyne Bridge Publishing. 2008)

Don’t you hear the H-Bomb’s thunder? Youth & Politics in the late ‘Fifties and early ‘Sixties (North East Labour History Society & Merlin Press. 2009)

Making Middle England – ISBN: 978-0-9927299-2-9

History & Social Action Publications, 6 Oakhill Road, London, SW16 5RG. 316 pages, illustrated.

£25 plus £3 postage.

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