Widows: Poverty, Power and Politics

Widows: Poverty, Power and Politics


Historically, widows have often been portrayed as pitiful figures dressed in black who required charity to survive. This was certainly true of the lives of many working class women over the centuries for whom day-to-day existence was already marginal.

But for others, widowhood released them from a domestic life where they could own nothing and in which they were totally subjugated to their husband’s will.  Now, as widows they found themselves suddenly empowered and free to conduct themselves as they wished with an independence of thought and action and a defined role in society.

In their new book Widows: Poverty, Power and Politics West Midlands historians Professor Maggie Andrews and Dr Janis Lomas explore the lives of these women – famous and unknown.

LISTEN to Professor Andrews talk to the publisher of History West Midlands, Mike Gibbs,  about some of the stories which the book reveals.

Keywords: Women, widows, Maggie Andrews

Bovril, Whisky and Gravediggers

Bovril, Whisky and Gravediggers: The Spanish Flu Pandemic comes to the West Midlands (1918-1920) ‘Spanish Flu,’ killed more than 50 million people and affected millions more, across the globe during 1918 and 1919. Soldiers, POWs and the workers in war –industries all fell victim to this pandemic which brought fear...



Professor Maggie Andrews

In: Women,

History WM iTunes Podcast