Tuppenny Rice & Treacle and Tunes on a Penny Whistle by Doris E Coates/Richard Coates blogtour book review

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour promoting and celebrating the launch of Doris E Coates books that have been re-edited by her son Richard Coates thus giving us insight in to more information about life living in a small Peak District village over a century ago.

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of both books.  All opinions are my own and no content may be copied.  However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

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Tuppenny Rice & Treacle:  Cottage Housekeeping 1900-1920 written by Doris E Coates, edited by Richard Coates, publisher The Harpsden Press, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/cpXsnY

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Feeding a family on a limited budget is always a challenge. Yet even with a budget as low as ten shillings (50p) a week in the early part of the twentieth century, it is remarkable how interesting and varied the menu could be.

This delightful book draws on recipes compiled by Doris’s mother in Derbyshire and mother-in-law in Cumberland, and contains detailed records of weekly expenditure.

It includes numerous recipes for nutritious and filling meals for working men and growing families, taking full advantage of what was available – hearty meat dishes, with lots of root vegetables, puddings and dumplings to fill them out, cakes and buns, sweets and jams, and beverages to go with them (some highly alcoholic!). The recipes work just as well now as then.

It is also full of household and cleaning hints and products, illustrating immense pride in the home, as well as medicines, lotions and potions that would ‘kill or cure’.

Tuppenny Rice and Treacle, which still has resonance today, is illustrated with many contemporary photographs, and line drawings by George Coates, the author’s husband. It is one of a series of social and local histories written by the author and published by The Harpsden Press.

Review:  This was a fascinating insight to the lives of women living in the heart of rural England; the small village of Eyam in the rugged beauty of the Peak District.  It’s hard to imagine when you look at mothers now to the life of what your Great Grandmother must have witnessed first hand.  Life was very tough; no electric, no gas, no running water.  A mother’s life back in 1900-1920 was certainly hard work.

Reading about and seeing images from the past was very enlightening.  This book includes many images that are copies of handwritten journals, drawings and photos from the author’s ancestors.  I particularly enjoyed the journals that the woman of the household wrote all expenditure and income in, it was informative but also equally shocking.  Families were living off every penny that passed through their doors.

The book also included numerous vintage recipes that originated from Derbyshire and the other also included many other region based recipes that were popular a century ago.  We also get to glimpse how common ailments were treated, all I can say is thank goodness for medical research!


Tunes on a Penny Whistle:  A Derbyshire Childhood written by Doris E Coates, edited by Richard Coates, publisher The Harpsden Press, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/CqaDsR

Product Details (as per amazon page)

The early 1900s were a period of great hardship for many working-class families, particularly in rural areas. However, they were also times of pride and self-sufficiency, with fun and laughter derived from simple pleasures as well as mutual support and courage when poverty could have become unbearable.

This book is a personal history of a childhood in the village of Eyam – known as the Plague Village – in the Peak District of Derbyshire. Doris recalls how her mother confronted tough living conditions without labour-saving devices and often with little or no money.

She remembers, too, her father, who fought for the right for union representation, worked for self-help groups, and organised political meetings and village entertainments. He was a talented self-taught musician, producing a wide range of music on his Canadian organ and penny whistle. His fighting spirit made him a remarkable and influential character within the village community.

Both humourous and shocking, this description of domestic and community life at the beginning of the twentieth century is illustrated with many contemporary photographs, documents, and line drawings by George Coates, the author’s husband.

Tunes on a Penny Whistle is one of a series of social and local histories written by the author and published by The Harpsden Press.

Review:  This second book by Doris E Coates was another insightful look at the life of a childhood back in Derbyshire over a century ago.  It was very interesting looking back to times long ago however, I didn’t quite enjoy this book as much as Tuppenny Rice and Treacle as I much prefer women’s social history and the history of food.  This book includes details about Doris’ father and his ancestors and also the political upheavals in the area at the time.

Hearing about how Doris’ determination to learn and go on to further education was quite inspirational.  Doris E Coates was a very purposeful young woman and I’m sure her dogged determination helped her get through many of life’s trials through the years.

I would recommend both books to anyone interested in social history and especially that of a family living in the Peak District during the early 1900’s.

About the Authors

Born in Eyam in the Peak District of Derbyshire, Doris E. Coates achieved a successful and varied career as a teacher in both Derbyshire and later in Norfolk. Along with her husband George, she was an active member of her community promoting local groups, enjoyed singing in the local choir and, after retirement, turned her talents to writing. Her son, Richard Coates, now based in Bath enjoyed a happy childhood and grew up appreciating the importance of a strong education. After gaining a scholarship at Oxford University he went on to read Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Later as a management consultant he worked for international companies including Audi, British Airways and Mars in both the UK and oversees and continues to sit on the board of Davos Consultancy. Now retired, and in memory of his mother, Richard has decided to republish her books with fascinating new additions after researching further into his family history.