Shifting Classes in Twentieth Century Britain
Martin Minogue

Shifting Classes in Twentieth Century Britain
From Village Street to Downing Street
Martin Minogue

An unconventional family story, told with warmth and humour, this account details the mixed fortunes of a rural labouring family, a neglected group in British working-class history.

The author’s progress from farmworker’s tied cottage to Cambridge University then to a Foreign Office flat in Downing Street is remarkable, as is the heroism of the working-class parents who made that transition possible.

The description of shifts in social relations produced by such sharp movements between different classes illuminates current debates about the persistence of centuries-long inequalities.
Published: March 2021
Paperback: 274 pages
Price: £12.00
ISBN: 9-781913-425630

£12.00 (+ £3.00 postage)
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Martin Minogue was educated at King James Grammar School, Knaresborough then at Cambridge University, graduating in History. In 1962 he entered the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Whitehall where he held posts as a Resident Clerk, and as Private Secretary to successive Secretaries of State (Duncan Sandys and Arthur Bottomley). He subsequently pursued an academic career in politics and government at the Universities of Kent, then Manchester, where he became Director of University’s International Development Centre. He held consultancies for the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, the UK Department for International Development and the British Council. Now retired, he lives in Wales.

Professor Quentin Skinner, School of History, Queen Mary University of London
A memoir of general and even exemplary significance, Shifting Classes begins in a Yorkshire village and ends amid the mandarins and politicians of Westminster and Whitehall. While both settings give rise to some marvellous comic set-pieces, the North-country background also provides a shocking account of deprivations endured and opportunities denied. There have been few accounts of rural working-class life and conditions in twentieth century Britain, and nothing that matches Shifting Classes for its vividness of detail and its power to reveal the injustices that kept the class-system in place.

Fred Inglis, Emeritus Professor of Cultural Studies, University of Sheffield
This is a rare, truthful and utterly appealing memoir, a ‘condition of England’ book that is at the same time a happy book, entirely without rancour.'