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What can Phyllis Ford’s childhood tell social historians? A talk by Cynthia Floud

  • Burgh House New End Square London NW3 1LS UK (map)

Phyllis was born in Hampstead in 1886 into a family, whose income did not match their self-perception of their position in society. Looking back over her childhood from the distance of middle age, she recounts, in unusual detail and with a critical eye, the customs and lifestyle of the upper middle classes in her youth. She does not shy away from indecent exposure, sexual coercion and the constraints of courtship; she turns her sardonic gaze onto decor, dance cards and doctoring; she moves from the social rules of women’s cycling to riding on horse buses. Her catastrophic education does not dim her enthusiasms for art, tennis and swimming, while her eventual social success leads her to meet many local luminaries.

Cynthia Floud is the editor of 'A dysfunctional Hampstead childhood 1886-1911: the memoir of Phyllis Allen Floud, née Ford', published by Camden History Society (2018).