Invention of Childhood.

childhoodbookTime for another blog with praise for a book. I have had my snout inside this for last week or so. A brilliant insight to the story of childhood from the medieval period to the modern kid of today. Hard to think that children were swaddled in bandages for much of their earlier life and looked after by grown ups that were not their parents. It is also hard to consider how important it was to have children help at home or sent out to work to bring in a few extra pennies. This income could be the difference between eating that week or starving. The amount of infanticide, the abandoning and killing of unwanted babies and small children was rife in the 17th century and it wasn’t unusual to find a corpse stuffed into a hedge, left on the street or buried in a dung heap. The lot of a young one in the past hasn’t been a good one.
Another surprising observation is the lack of importance given to education enabling the poor a chance to better themselves. When it was offered, it had a very religious bent. Lower glass girls were brought up to work as servants or become wives, while poor boys were apprenticed to trades for excessive periods to learn (and keep) their masters secrets and rich ones to inherit, advance a career in the forces or enter the church.
The reason I am so fascinated with the social history of children at the moment is because of my writing projects. I am currently penning a book about a bunch of kids in a make believe world. It may be made up, but I wish to throw in an historical fact here and there to give it some feeling of authenticity.
Anyway, this book is definitely worth a read, if you have the inclination and want to know your own childhood roots.

June 1st, 2013 by