Eric Jennings & Paul Jennings present on a usually neglected aspect of our topic: the workers who made the elegant life of the European spas possible
Eric Jennings: Donneuses d’Eau: Women Water Attendants at French Spas in the 19th-20th centuries.
Donneuses d’eau or female water attendants, were a fixture at French spas. Their responsibilities involved drawing water from the spring and serving it in graduated glasses to cure seekers. A seasonal job for countless women in the French provinces, water attendants also mediated the local and the cosmopolitan, the scientific and the ritualized functions of the modern spa.
Eric Jennings, Distinguished Professor in History of France and the Francophone world at the University of Tornonto, is a leading authority in the fields of modern French colonial history and the study of France and the Francophonie. His many publications include: Vichy in the Tropics (Stanford UP), Curing the Colonizers (Duke UP), Imperial Heights (University of California), Free French Africa in World War II (Cambridge UP), and most recently Escape from Vichy: the Refugee Exodus to the French Caribbean (Harvard UP). All of the above have been translated into French and one, Imperial Heights, into Vietnamese.
Paul Jennings: The Workforce of Edwardian Harrogate
The Edwardian period is considered by many to be the heyday of this internationally known Yorkshire spa. Visitor numbers reached record levels in these years and some of its grandest buildings. But following on from this success, Harrogate also became an important local and regional retail centre, the base for a number of institutions and a residential centre for those with private means from the nearby industrial cities of Bradford and Leeds. The town’s workforce reflected this economy. This paper analyses the key elements of that workforce. A more detailed examination is made of employment in hotels, with a special focus on European workers, particularly Germans, whose numbers increased over the years.
Paul Jennings taught history for over thirty years at the University of Bradford, the University of Leeds, the Open University and the Workers’ Educational Association. For many years, his research interests focused on the history of drink and drinking places, about which he has published inter alia: The Local: A History of the English Pub (2007 and 3rd edition, 2021: The History Press)) and A History of Drink and the English, 1500-2000 (2016: Routledge). On the subject of this paper, he has just published Working-Class Lives in Edwardian Harrogate (Palatine, Carnegie, 2021)
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