Everything within: The business of the home

Well ladies. What a treasure trove we have here. Right from the get-go

“To the average wife, home is the pivot round which all her main interests revolve. Her own happiness, and that of those who are nearest and dearest to her, depend very largely upon the home”

Granted. I am much more interested in being at home than at work. Work has a way of demanding my attention though. And damn it of it doesn’t get in the way of housework, writing, drinking, and, well, life you know?

The two main considerations when buying a house:
“1. Nearness to husband’s employment. 2. Conveniences for his journey to and from his work, and cost of travelling.”

Apparently “statistics prove London to be one of the healthiest cities in the world.” really? Is that still true? Was it even true then?

“One quarter of the family income is a fair proportion to fix for rent or repayment instalments on a mortgage; rates and taxes; water and such household services.” – Asking the oracle that is the Internet leads these days to advice that isnt too dissimilar, though stretches a bit more to around a third of income.

“at the present time the assets of all our building societies collectively exceed £419,000,000” not that different from now eh?

This really is a helpful tome. I’m only on page four and I know how to decide which house my husband should buy for us (based on the soil), and I am appraised of the key procedures in getting a mortgage. Which alarmingly do not seem to have changed in eighty odd years. And they were very odd years. Though one interesting difference is a bit on “borrowing from the council”. Mortgages from the council? Higher percentage LTV, longer loan periods, cheaper interest. Now what happened to that? Anyway. After buying this house with council money, we have to keep it trim. White paint requires too many expensive recoats, green will fade in the sun, so “a warm brown is probably the most lasting colour”

Now we are living in our nice brown houses, our helpful guide turns to matters of insurance and taxes.
“Seen through the eyes of a young husband or a fellow who has just become engaged to be married, life insurance is of the utmost importance…. In the provision of a nest-egg for old age there is nothing safer or better than life insurance, and one can equally well provide for a boy’s education or start in life or for a girl’s dowry on her marriage.”
Well. I am glad the boys got a start in life, aren’t you?

However this is only one aspect of a concept which the authors are keen to recommend to the reader. Thrift. Life, it is clear, is a difficult and expensive business, and one should make every effort to insure and save against unexpected occurrences. Not surprising when you think of the generation of “young husbands” who died only not much more than a decade before. Or those who succumbed to illness. The concept of an old age pension was still new, and free healthcare would take a another round of bloody sacrifice to bring into effect. Perhaps, in these tragic days where our leaders (who wouldn’t understand thrift if it bit their pampered behinds) are quick to sacrifice these hard won salvations for the poor, this book will be more useful than I thought.


quotes from “Everything Within: A Library of Information for the Home. Ed. A.C. Marshall, London, George Newnes Limited, [1931?]


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