Family Life in Britain, 1650–1910

  • Carol Beardmore
  • Cara Dobbing
  • Steven King

Table of contents

About this book


This book explores the ways that families were formed and re-formed, and held together and fractured, in Britain from the sixteenth to twentieth century. The chapters build upon the argument, developed in the 1990s and 2000s, that the nuclear family form, the bedrock of understandings of the structure and function of family and kinship units, provides a wholly inadequate lens through which to view the British family. Instead the volume's contributors point to families and households with porous boundaries, an endless capacity to reconstitute themselves, and an essential fluidity to both the form of families, and the family and kinship relationships that stood in the background. This book offers a re-reading,and reconsideration of the existing pillars of family history in Britain. It examines areas such as: Scottish kinship patterns, work patterns of kin in Post Office families, stepfamily relations, the role of family in managing lunatic patients, and the fluidity associated with a range of professional families in the nineteenth century. 

Chapter 8 of this book is available open access under a CC BY 4.0 license at


multidisciplinary kinship familial relationships microhistory nuclear family

Editors and affiliations

  • Carol Beardmore
    • 1
  • Cara Dobbing
    • 2
  • Steven King
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Arts and Social SciencesThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK
  2. 2.School of Media, Communication and SociologyUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK
  3. 3.School of History, Politics and International RelationsUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-04854-9
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-04855-6
  • Buy this book on publisher's site