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Aging in Twentieth-Century Britain$
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Charlotte Greenhalgh

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520298781

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520298781.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 07 May 2021

Talking with Peter Townsend

Talking with Peter Townsend

Elderly Britons at Home

Chapter:
(p.46) Chapter Two Talking with Peter Townsend
Source:
Aging in Twentieth-Century Britain
Author(s):

Charlotte Greenhalgh

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520298781.003.0003

The family lives of elderly people attracted fresh concern in the postwar years when more old people lived alone and used welfare services. Sociologist Peter Townsend spent many hours speaking with each of 203 interviewees when he researched the topic in East London in 1954–1955. Townsend highlighted ignored contributions of older people to family life. He showed that families, not the state, did the real work of aged care. During interviews, older people told life stories that illustrated their hard work and stoicism, and that challenged sociological theories. Most did not fear death, but only the suffering of loved ones. While a few could not find the words, the majority were confident storytellers: this chapter explores their unpublished stories.

Keywords:   Peter Townsend, interviews, working class, postwar, home, family, health, retirement, marriage, widowhood

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