Last, Nella ___ 1890-1968 ___ British ___ n/a

BIOGRAPHICAL SUMMARY
Nella was a housewife, married to a shop-fitter and joiner. The couple lived in Barrow-in-Furness - a shipbuilding town which, during the blitz, became a target for German bombing. Nella designed and made her own clothes, and also worked with embroidery, weaving, and basketry, using these skills during the war for the WVS. She also ran canteens for civil defense workers dealing with the blitz and for troops billeted in Barrow. Her eldest son, Arthur, was a tax inspector and therefore exempted from conscription, but her youngest son, Cliff, joined the army. During the war, Nella wrote a diary for the Mass Observation Archive, amounting to over two million words. It is considered to be the fullest and frankest of these diaries and is said to be exceptional not only for the length and regularity with which she wrote but also for the interest and quality of the writing. Nella continued writing a diary for rest of her life, but these post-war volumes remain largely unread. Many thanks to Richard Broad, one of the editors of 'Nella's Last War - The Second World Diaries of Housewife 49' for substantial additional information.
A biography link
Wikipedia bio

DIARY DATES, CONTENT DESCRIPTORS
1939-1965 ___ domestic family political social self

WEB TEXT LINKS
several extracts
a few extracts
a few pages

ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT LINKS
Mass Observation Archive, Sussex University

SOME PUBLISHED TITLES
Nella Last's War: A Mother's Diary 1939-45
Nella's Last War - The Second World Diaries of 'Housewife 49'
 

October 2005, July 2008. April 2013
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IMPORTANT NOTES AND CAUTIONS: 1) The first line of basic information may be incomplete in several ways: some historical figures have different names (titles, pen-names); their birth and death dates may be unknown or uncertain (g - guess, c - circa); similarly, their occupations may be unknown, or they may have had other jobs; and, for early diarists, I've used 'British' a bit too freely. 2) The biographical summary may not be accurate. It was compiled quickly from various sources, mostly on the internet, and the facts were not checked anywhere near as rigorously as they would have been if they'd been intended for publication in a printed form. 3) The journal dates and descriptors (which are in no particular order) must be treated with caution: since I have not examined the diaries myself, the descriptors are only guesses based on bibliographies, anthologies and internet biographies. 4) For the biography and etext links, I have ignored any sites with charges, and I have avoided, wherever possible, those with pop-ups or too much advertising. I have limited myself to providing three etext links where there is some variety between them. 5) For the original manuscript links, I have limited myself to providing a maximum of two (although, for a few diarists, their original diaries are held in more than two places). 6) I have provided the titles - chosen randomly - for up to three printed editions of the diaries.

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