Please contact me to discuss future talks. I cover women’s social history, occupations (eg hatting, bakers, tailors and seamstresses, laundresses and charwomen, textile mills and their history for wool, silk and cotton, the social history of domestic lighting gas, electricity and candles (did you know they were taxed 1709-1831; writers used them as shorthand for domestic prosperity?) I am happy to consider other topics.


Saturday 7 May, 2022. Essex Family History Society. The Staff of Life. Bakers and Confectioners.

Saturday 5th February, 2022. Society of Genealogists. Bakers and Confectioners. ‘Staff of life, earn a crust, use your loaf.’ The English language’s huge number of bread idioms highlight the importance of this commodity in our ancestors’ lives. The cost of a loaf was so crucial, people rioted if the price went up. My talk explores the history of the baker and bakery, their importance in the community, source of ingredients, daily routine, working life and conditions plus dastardly tricks to earn his dough and how they were punished. Their product even affected the customers’ height and health. Join me on Pudding Lane… Via Zoom


Thursday 6th and 13th January, 2022. Panellist for Family Tree Magazine Celebratory 1921 Census Conference. Women and textile mills/washerwomen and laundresses in 1921. Online

2021 EVENTS;

Monday 6 December 2021. Heatons Lit and Phil Society. Wash Day Blues. A light hearted scrub through how our ancestors did the laundry. I even include a history of dolly pegs and ironing boards!

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Saturday 9th October, 2021, Society of Genealogists, 10.30-11.30. My Ancestors were Tailors, Seamstresses and Needlewomen. In the 1851 census, there were 267,791 dressmaker/milliners, 152,672 tailors and 73,068 seamstress/shirtmakers. What were their working conditions and how did they live?  Most people have one of these occupations in their family history. Find out more about their lives. Via Zoom.

Saturday 21st August 2021, , 10.30-11.30.  Silken Threads; the history of silk production in England covering Huguenots, industrial espionage and the start of the textile factory system as we know it.  Via Zoom.

Saturday 8 May 2021, Society of Genealogists 10.30-11.30  My Ancestor Made Hats. This online talk will cover the manufacture (both cottage and factory system) felted, silk and straw hats plus working conditions.  Did you know that in 1851 there were 36,062  straw plait manufacturers and 21,902 straw hat and bonnet makers? You do now.  Learn about their lives via Zoom.

Thursday 11 March, 2021 Society of Genealogists, 2-3pm.  Washday Blues; the lives of charwomen and washerwomen plus social history of doing the laundry.  The life of the laundress/ washerwoman was one step from the workhouse.  Via Zoom.

Thursday 28 January 2021. University of the 3 Age. Macclesfield’s Textile Industry. Via Zoom

Saturday 30 January 2021 Society of Genealogists.  10.30-11.30. Why a Suffragist is not a Suffragette.  Via Zoom

24th November 2020, East Cheshire Family History Society,  Silken Threads, Unravelling Macclesfield’s Textile Industry. Includes some genealogy.   Via Zoom

Saturday 10 October 10.30am. SoG. Turning on the Light. A social history of lighting the home; how it affected ancestors’ daily lives and a literary shorthand for wealth or poverty! I even discuss whale versus turnip power! Rescheduled from May.  Via Zoom.

Thursday 31 July 2020 2pm.   My Ancestors Worked in Textile Mills.  SoG via Zoom.

Cancelled due to Covid. Saturday 25 April 2020. Cleveland Family History Society.  The Economics of Marriage.  This lecture, via examples, explores the lot of the married woman from why it was preferable to spinsterhood and ignominy of the ‘maiden aunt,’ through to dowries, pre-nuptial agreements, marriage settlements, divorce and Property Acts.   The organisers hope it will be rescheduled

Wednesday 13 November 2019.  Stockport Central Library.   2pm. Why I’m a suffragist not a suffragette. Covered the difference between suffragists (e.g. Millicent Fawcett) and suffragettes (e.g. Emmeline Pankhurst) with a short exploration of the struggle for female enfranchisement and anecdotes about the local struggle in Stockport.

Saturday 21st September 2019.  6th Peak District Family History Conference, University of the 3rd Age, Palace Hotel, Buxton,  Reachers, beamers, carders and throstlers? What on earth did your mill worker ancestors actually do?  

Saturday 15th June 2019.   Yorkshire Family History  Society, London Branch.  Textile workers; focus on Yorkshire wool trades.

Wednesday 13th February 2019, 2pm,  Society of Genealogists.   Washday Blues; a social history of washerwomen, laundrywomen and charwomen.  Rough,  red and chapped hands at the ready, how on earth did woman manage to survive?   For a review go to

Society of Genealogists, Wednesday 11th July 2018 2pm;  Tracing your Cotton and Wool Mill Ancestors.   In the nineteenth century, the textile industry was the biggest employer in the UK and hundreds of thousands of people, mainly women, worked in mills spinning or weaving. Some job titles are obscure; what did a big or little piecer do? How about a tenter?  Were these good jobs? Well paid, secure?

Society of Genealogists on  Saturday 11th February 2017 – afternoon session on making money  by writing.

Who do You Think You Are Live at the NEC in Birmingham on Friday 7th April 2017. Lectures on writing about genealogy; Laundresses and Charwomen, ‘Wash Day Blues.’

Other topics include  hatmaking, seamstress and tailors, button makers and other trades and crafts.   I can adapt my expertise to your requirements.  Please contact me for availability.