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Books: How Good Housekeeping kept the home fires burning; Those left at home during the war years attempted to lead normal lives. Chief Feature Writer Paul Groves looks at a fascinating archive.

Byline: Paul Groves

One of the few publications that continued to be printed throughout World War II was, some may be surprised to learn, Good Housekeeping magazine.

The publication survived bombing raids, paper shortages and rationing to become an important part of the Government's attempt to maintain morale and get everyone behind the war effort.

The Ministry of Food endorsed the recipes and cooking tips in times of crisis that were a staple of Good Housekeeping and readers were encouraged to improvise and use every available resource to keep their fairly as healthy and buoyant as possible.

As a result, the magazine itself has become a fascinating and invaluable archive of what life was like for people living in Britain between 1939 and 1945. The Good Housekeeping: Wartime Scrapbook collects some priceless examples of the magazine and the articles published during the war years.

But as well as highlighting some obvious examples, there are some features included which may well raise eyebrows these days.

Articles with such fantastic titles as A Day in the Life of Mrs Feckless sought to teach women how to adapt to the difficulties of maintaining a normal home. Then again, the likes of Ten Plain Facts About VD and the equally tabloid-esque Men Can Cook-So Says Airman were pretty self-explanatory.

The tips for British women who marry American servicemen are tremendous and if you had any doubt about the stiff-upper lip resolve of the plucky Brit, the advice on keeping windows sparkling even during a black-out should tell you all you need to know.

Other vitally important messages reinforced in the pages of Good Housekeeping during the war years included the need to recycle and save paper and the benefits of growing your own food.

Humour was an essential ingredient and this is evident throughout the collection of contemporary fashion, beauty and household tips, recipes and cartoons.

Of course, the magazine also highlights the huge change in role women started to enjoy during the war and the crucial, front-line role many played in the struggle for victory.

Good Housekeeping first published in 1922 and remains one of the most popular magazines in Britain to this day. This collection shows just how influential it has been, as well as providing a charming snapshot of wartime Britain.

n Good Housekeeping: Wartime Scrapbook is published by Collins& Brown and is available now priced pounds 14.99
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 7, 2005
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