By Kate Fisher

This publication uncovers the hidden heritage of gender relatives, sexual attitudes, and contraceptive practices that followed the dramatic decline in kinfolk measurement within the 20th century. Drawing upon vibrant oral heritage bills, Kate Fisher's ground-breaking research locations males (rather than their other halves) at the back of the force for smaller households.

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Humphries, Mack, and Perks, A Century of Childhood, 157; Strange, ‘The Assault on Ignorance’, 251–2. 38 The Maintenance of Ignorance and she gave me a linen bag and there was six towels in there and they were terry towelling, and there was a loop on each end of the terry towelling—you fold it up, and she gave me a belt, and ‘You will loop this loop onto the belt, back and front’, and she said ‘wear that’, she said, and she said ‘Change it’, she said ‘night and morning’. And ‘You’re to have a bucket to wash them all out after (pause).

But I couldn’t work out how it got there even then! When I think of how daft I was! I really was silly, you know! But then, if you don’t really know about men and boys at the time, well, then you don’t really know, do you? Well, at the time I thought that they must have been kissing and cuddling. Well, that’s OK. ⁸⁸ The evidence for ignorance does not only come from memoirs and oral histories. It is also a feature of contemporary sources, diaries, surveys, and observations. ⁹² Mass-Observation found that the majority of those surveyed were ‘left to stumble for themselves upon the ‘facts of life’ and that ‘prolonged ignorance’ was not ‘by any means rare’.

The effect of the relationship between interviewer and interviewee on the testimony obtained is further compounded when interviewing couples. ⁸¹ Some houses and flats were small, which made it difficult to send a partner away for any length of time, allowing only brief, rather rushed, individual interviews. Moreover, it was difficult to engineer separate interviews without implying that an aim of the research was to play each partner off against the other. ⁸² Because of these practical and ethical considerations the strategy was subsequently abandoned, and in later interviews couples were kept together.

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