Georgette Heyer Fans discussion

Heyer in General > Met a Heyer fan in real life!

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message 1: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 1274 comments I met my very first GH fan today in real life! I gave a tour to a nice couple from Derby in England. I referenced Jane Austen too many times (LOL) and the lady recommend Georgette Heyer! I exclaimed "YES! I l have read her and LOVE her!" The woman thinks Jane Austen is a little too wordy for her sometimes but she enjoys GH's light touch. I also recommended Angela Thirkell whom she had never heard of. The lady offered me a free place to stay if I can get away to visit Derbyshire. I told her I think the museum should pay for the staff to see where our story began. Sadly, I doubt they even have the money to send one lowly peon. If they send someone, it's the board members or the director. They pay us peanuts so a trip to England is out of the question for now but it was nice of her to offer. I wish I could go and chat about Georgette Heyer over tea.

message 2: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3438 comments How fun! I wish I could click my heels three times and we could all meet up there to discuss our favorite Heyers and Thirkells over tea!

message 3: by Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ , Madam Mod (last edited Sep 12, 2019 02:19AM) (new)

Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4234 comments Mod
In real life I always had my late Dad & one of my friends who were/are big Heyer lovers, so I've been lucky.

I'm glad you found another fan, QNPB!

message 4: by Mela (new)

Mela (melabooks) | 69 comments Susan in NC wrote: "How fun! I wish I could click my heels three times and we could all meet up there to discuss our favorite Heyers and Thirkells over tea!"

I wish it too...

message 5: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2594 comments Mod
That is so great, the moment when you both realize that you BOTH appreciate Heyer's greatness!

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1136 comments QNPoohBear wrote: "I met my very first GH fan today in real life! I gave a tour to a nice couple from Derby in England. I referenced Jane Austen too many times (LOL) and the lady recommend Georgette Heyer! I exclaime..."

That sounds like fun!

I never meet people who like GH or any of the genres I read from.

One day your ship may come in and you can accept the kind offer for a place to stay and visit her knock of the woods in England!

Barb in Maryland | 657 comments I am fortunate that I have my sister and a dear friend of many years (we met as teens) who are GH fans. So I have always had someone to talk with re: GH's books. Lucky me!

QNPoohBear--how exciting for you!! Even if you didn't get to share a pot of tea and spend an hour or so talking about your favorite by GH.

message 8: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3438 comments Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder wrote: "QNPoohBear wrote: "I met my very first GH fan today in real life! I gave a tour to a nice couple from Derby in England. I referenced Jane Austen too many times (LOL) and the lady recommend Georgett..."

Me, neither - when my son was still in school, the other moms I befriended either worked and had little reading time that wasn’t work related. Or, they read chick-lit, Oprah recommendations (not to knock either, I just don’t read either).

message 9: by Jenny (new)

Jenny H (jenny_norwich) | 642 comments QNPoohBear wrote: "I met my very first GH fan today in real life! I gave a tour to a nice couple from Derby in England. I referenced Jane Austen too many times (LOL) and the lady recommend Georgette Heyer! I exclaime..."

This is intriguing - where are you, and what were you giving a tour of?

message 10: by QNPoohBear (last edited Sep 13, 2019 05:43PM) (new)

QNPoohBear | 1274 comments Jenny wrote: "This is intriguing - where are you, and what were you giving a tour of?

A New England textile mill turned museum. We get lots of folks from Lancashire and Derbyshire who come to learn our mill story since they're familiar with their mills and the history there.

I had another couple from the UK today but they were quiet. I was tired and they showed up JUST as I was about to start the tour. Plus my supervisor has been keeping tabs on people's timing and I knew she'd be right behind me with her private group and didn't want to get in trouble. There's still another 2 1/2 months of the season left so maybe I'll meet more people willing to chat about Regency books and offer me a place to stay! These sorts of things happen to my co-worker (who also works in the restaurant business) but not me.

message 11: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK As a Brit, I can never think of the USA as having dark satanic mills etc - over here we sort of think the purpose of the USA was to grow the cotton that was then sent over to be spun and woven in Lancashire (not Yorkshire -that was for wool!). (I think it was because cotton needs a damp environment to stop it snapping, and Lancashire is wetter than Yorkshire, which is on the raid shadow side of the Pennines going down the middle of the country).

message 12: by Rosina (new)

Rosina (rosinarowantree) My 'knowledge' of American cotton mills comes from the recent episode of Who Do You Think You Are when Sharon Osbourne discovered that a great-grandmother had been born in Fall River, and, travelling there, found that that ancestor's mother had come from England, and the father from Ireland, to work in the cotton mills, only to find that conditions were no better than in England, and the pay was worse. The couple had six children, five of whom died in early childhood, followed by the mother, dying of TB.

Fall River had been 'sold' to immigrants on the basis of beautiful homes (for the mill owners) and wonderful scenery, but proved to be very much dark satanic mill territory.

message 13: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 1274 comments I didn't know Sharon Osborne had family from Fall River! Interesting. The mill where I work was the first (1793) and I don't think it was dark and satanic, at least not up to the 1820s when our story ends. We didn't have a mill village in my city but it's still economically depressed. Yesterday I learned we still have textile mills nearby. I thought they had all closed. Later mills were in villages. The Strutt mills in Derbyshire was the model.

The mills in the UK and the one here initially got their cotton from Surinam in South America until the cotton gin made it much easier and faster for the better quality American grown cotton to be used in the mills. That's the dark satanic part of our story- that we prolonged slavery for far too long and people didn't care because they were making a profit.

Fall River is not a thriving mill village anymore but it is home to many immigrants, mostly Portuguese. It's also home to the one and only battleship museum I know of in New England.

If you come on a visit to New England, look for the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. You'll find me there most days and I'd be happy to give you a nerdy tour and discuss the finer points of muslin (we have the machine that made the thread) if it's not busy. September is a lovely time to visit before the school groups arrive. It's beautiful in October but you don't want to be in the museum when the school kids are there unless you really really don't mind noise and chaos.

message 14: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK In terms of working conditions, this may only be Anglophile prejudice, but I've always taken that in the UK workers achieved more protection from exploitation than US workers did. Not sure if that is historically true, however. Again, whether it is simply blinkered vision from this side of the Atlantic, but the US over here is often seen as intensely anti-union, anti-worker, compared with us (!), though I know there was a LOT of unionisation and worker-led activity in the late 19th and early 20th C, but perhaps far more fiercely (and very often highly violently!) resisted by extremely brutal 'robber barons' etc.

On the other hand, perhaps the USA followed more the (very cunning!) model of Bismarkian Germany - that of making working conditions really very good (in comparison) but NOT allowing any actual political freedom or liberty.

In a way, it's a tricky choice - how important is political freedom compared with a decent quality of life? (Ideally the two go together, but if one had to choose?)

message 15: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 1274 comments No, other way around! Unions were outlawed in Britain and women here were striking as early as 1824. AFTER the Civil War-during the second wave of the Industrial Revolution is when things got really bad and the Pinkerton Detective Agency was actively going against strikers.

Andrew Carnegie (steel) donated money to build libraries because he felt guilty about having blood on his hands after an 1892 strike broke the union. Steel and coal seem to have had the roughest time organizing.

1909 New York shirtwaist strike of 1909, also known as the Uprising of the 20,000, was a labour strike primarily involving Jewish women working in New York shirtwaist factories. It was the largest strike by female American workers up to that date. Led by Clara Lemlich and the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, and supported by the National Women's Trade Union League of America (NWTUL), the strike began in November 1909.

1911 the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory caught fire and hundreds of immigrants, mostly women, died in the fire or from jumping out the windows. It remained the largest workplace disaster in U.S. history for 100 years until Sept. 11, 2001!

I think Britain was far far worse in terms of working and about the same in living conditions in the 19th century. I watched Victorian Slum House on TV and it was pretty much the same story as the Lower East Side of New York in the Ellis Island era (late 19th century/early 20th century). Britain jumped on board with access to health care and better housing much earlier. We're still fighting those battles.

If you really want to know U.S. worker union history begins with
Knights of Labor in 1875 (all labor)
The American Federation of Labor (AFL) 1886 (skilled)
The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), 1905

That's what I remember from my labor history class off the top of my head. Too bad you can't get our PBS the way we can get your BBC because they have many programs you would find interesting.

message 16: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK That's all fascinating! I was aware of some of the garment workers strikes (and had even heard of the fire, but probably from a novel!) (oh, and was the IWW known as the 'Wobblies' or something?)

I would suspect the difference is that over here we've had a Labour Party which, openly and upfront, is a 'Workers' Party' (even if a lot of the top politicians therein are very middle class!), so there is a lot of openly available information has always been in the public eye, eg, about trade unions etc etc.

I think for us in the UK, we see the USA only through the lenses of Democrats and Republican parties, and we always have a bit of a smile when Americans denounce (or praise!) 'liberals' as if they are raving revolutionaries!!! (Over here, of course, the 'Liberals' about as radical as a tea bag!)

message 17: by Rosina (new)

Rosina (rosinarowantree) The programme - the source of all my knowledge - did point out that the Fall River mills were a serious threat to the health of the workers, as similar mills were in England at that time. An easy supply of immigrants, like Sharon Osbourne's ancestors, means that any unionisation is fighting against employers who can always find another worker desperate for work.

The death of 5 out of six children, followed by the death of the mother, speaks for itself. It is not something where we should be pretending that one side of the Atlantic was more Health & Safety conscious than the other.

message 18: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2594 comments Mod
I think it must have been horrid both places!

message 19: by Hana (last edited Sep 15, 2019 03:10PM) (new)

Hana | 652 comments Some of my immigrant ancestors worked in the mills in Western Massachusetts (including, from census data, very young girls). From what I can learn most made it into adult life okay but I'm sure it could be a rough life. For a great non-fiction history book that includes extensive oral history and is very balanced I recommend Amoskeag: Life and Work in an American Factory-City.

The New York branch of my family also worked in the textile industry and my grandmother vividly remembered the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. Sixty-two people, trapped on upper stories, jumped or fell from the windows, including one of my grandmother's friends.

Had your GH fans read North and South, QNPoohbear?

message 20: by QNPoohBear (last edited Sep 16, 2019 03:17PM) (new)

QNPoohBear | 1274 comments I didn't ask if the lady had read North and South but I recommend it to a lot of people. Our mill was the FIRST FIRST mill and so it wasn't as bad as later mills from what I've read. They did hire children and depending on who you ask it was pretty miserable by our standards.

We also had the mill village system a little later than hired families. I did some quick research after watching Poldark and discovered that during the same period in England (1793) they were hiring orphans and other destitute children and basically using them as slave labor. Our mill founder worked for a Quaker family back in England and the Quakers were more benevolent. Elizabeth Gaskell's husband actually visited that mill complex and thought it was the model mill village. She MAY have been inspired to use that philosophy in N&S.

The first strike by women happened here but I'm not sure if it included our mill.

Later on they hired immigrants, many from Quebec, to work in the mills. Again, not sure about our mill since the tour story ends in 1835.

Lewis Hine came by some of the other local mills in the 1910s but interestingly enough The Lewis Hine Project documents the stories of the child laborers in the photos and they survived. Andrew Carnegie started as a bobbin boy and lived to become a robber baron steel magnate.

The very best mill owner in the area was < a href=" T. Levy

We're kind of sort of a national park so you can look online and learn about the Blackstone Valley National Historical Park/National Heritage Coordinator.

message 21: by MaryL (new)

MaryL (maryl1) | 12 comments Check the movie Norma Rae-based on events in Roanoke Rapids, NC in 1973. Yes: 1973. The mills were hell holes as late as that.

message 22: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2594 comments Mod
What a wealth of knowledge in this group - this is really fascinating reading!

message 23: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK "It is not something where we should be pretending that one side of the Atlantic was more Health & Safety conscious than the other. "

I agree, but it is interesting and instructive to compare and contrast (if that) between two similar but distinct societies and economies. In Britain the initial factory reforms, improving working conditions and limiting working hours, came NOT from 'workers' agitation' (which often simply scared the establishment, and fed into the opinion that 'organised labour' would lead to revolution etc), but by the socially conscious middle classes (Lord Shaftesbury etc).

Tellingly, perhaps, those in the 'original' Establishment, ie, whose family wealth came from land, could be highly critical of the crass new industrialists (vulgar and exploitative). There was, however inadequately in real terms for the lower classes, a culture of 'Noblesse Oblige' towards one's inferiors, that was noticeably lacking in the cut-throat world of the industrialists.

As Marxists came famously to observe, no capitalist can AFFORD to be a good employer - if his costs rise because he pays his workers more, his under-paying competitors will outcompete him. (This is as true today as then - anyone trying to manufacture anything in the western world will be undercut by the 'slave labour' factories of the third world etc)

As for the issue of an endless supply of cheap labour to replace any 'bolshy workers' etc, again, the same applies today in our immigration policies.

message 24: by Jackie (new)

Jackie | 1215 comments QNPoohBear wrote: "I met my very first GH fan today in real life! I gave a tour to a nice couple from Derby in England. I referenced Jane Austen too many times (LOL) and the lady recommend Georgette Heyer! I exclaime..."

I love Angela Thirkell, too, and only discovered her in the Retro Reads group.

message 25: by Hana (new)

Hana | 652 comments That happened to me too, Jackie!

message 26: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 1274 comments My co-workers are now jealous I have a free place to stay in Derbyshire. I really wish I could go.

message 27: by Skyla (new)

Skyla (skyla99) | 54 comments Astonishing amount of knowledge displayed here! I'm glad to be able to read the work of someone else's studying :)

Also, isn't it kind of hilarious how the chat ends up twisting and turning into something completely different from the beginning thought? Reading it all at once and seeing it progress and metamorphosis into something else is really fun!

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