PREFACE BY CHRISTINA HARDYMENT
'Some of the smartest lessons in how we live now are to be found not in government speeches or fashionable film releases, but in the small grey covered books published by Persephone Books,' wrote Andrew O'Hagan in the Daily Telegraph. 'The volumes are usually lost classics of female writing; they promote the notion that understanding the past is a reasonable way to go about identifying the present and I have been looking at their newest release as a way of getting a handle on the idea of British domestic bliss.'
The book he was looking at was How To Run Your Home Without Help (1949) which, as its title implies, is a book about housework, republished because it is useful (Kim and Aggie of Channel 4's 'How Clean is Your House?' would approve), it is a fascinating historical document, and, sixty years on, it is a funny and at times extraordinary bulletin from a vanished world. This book tells the newly servantless housewife what to do and is perfect for the newly-wed in need of some guidance or the son or daughter who has just left home.
The endpaper we chose was 'Riverside', a 1946 printed dress fabric in rayon crepe by the Calico Printers' Association