Books

The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker

February 2nd 2017 | Little Brown | Hardbacks

Photo: Robin Gillanders

The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker is a witty, insightful and surprising history of modern Britain, narrated through the colourful stories of the men and women who forged the country. At the beginning of each decade for 200 years the national census has presented a self-portrait of the British Isles. The census has surveyed Britain from the Napoleonic wars to the age of the internet, through the agricultural and industrial revolutions, possession of the biggest empire on earth and the devastation of the 20th century's two world wars.

In The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker, Roger Hutchinson looks at every census between the first in 1801 and the latest in 2011. He uses this much-loved resource of family historians to paint a vivid picture of a society experiencing unprecedented changes.

Hutchinson explores the controversial creation of the British census. He follows its development from a head-count of the population conducted by clerks with quill pens, to a computerised survey which is designed to discover 'the address, place of birth, religion, marital status, ability to speak English and self-perceived national identity of every twenty-seven-year-old Welsh-speaking Sikh metalworker living in Swansea'.

Roger Hutchinson launched and edited the radical magazine Styng in the north of England, before moving to London and becoming editor of both Oz and IT in the early seventies. In 1975 he became a freelance journalist and went on to author several books on subjects as diverse as the professional tennis circuit, the Royal Family, Bruce Lee and man-eating sharks. He is currently a feature journalist, columnist and reviewer for the WHFP, Scotsman, Herald, Guardian and the Press & Journal. 

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