Queer Places:
Oatfield, Piccotts End, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire

Lucy Barbara Bradby.jpgLucy Barbara Hammond (née Bradby, July 25, 1873 - November 14, 1961) was an English social historian who researched and wrote many influential books with her husband, John Lawrence Hammond, including the Labourer trilogy about the impact of enclosure and the Industrial Revolution upon the lives of workers.[3] Eleanor Rathbone chose to go to Oxford for her university education and at the age of twenty-one at Somerville College met significant friends, Hilda Oakley and Barbara Bradby, who were to last a lifetime. Other women in Eleanor’s circle of friends included Agnes Catherine Maitland, the Principal of Somerville, Alice Bruce, the Vice-Principal, Miss Pope, the modern language tutor and Sara Melhuish the history tutor.

Born on 25 July 1873, Lucy Barbara Bradby was the seventh child of Edward Bradby, who was a master at Harrow and headmaster of Haileybury College.[2] In 1885, her father retired from Haileybury and moved to the new charitable settlement of Toynbee Hall in London's East End, with the family residing at St Katharine Docks – a significant change from Barbara's rural upbringing but which she took in her stride.[4] She was then sent to the progressive new boarding school of St Leonards in Scotland, which was pioneering academic education for girls.[2] In 1892, she won a scholarship to Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, following her sister Dorothy. She was the first woman student at Oxford to use a bicycle and was also head of the college's boat club, captain of the hockey team and a tennis champion.[1][5] She further distinguished herself by being the first woman to take a double-first in Classical Moderations and Greats – a set of examinations renowned for their difficulty.[2]

At Oxford, she became a fellow of Lady Margaret Hall.[7] There, she had met John Lawrence Hammond and they married in 1901 after he had established a career in political journalism, becoming the editor of the Liberal weekly review, The Speaker, in 1899. They lived in Battersea and were both active in campaigning against the Boer War. She was also active in the Women's Industrial Council until ovarian tuberculosis forced her to retire and also prevented her from having children.[2] The couple moved to Hampstead Heath in 1905 for the sake of her health, which was now delicate.[2] In 1907, John became secretary of the Civil Service Commission and this position gave him sufficient time to write books too.[2] They worked together on these with Barbara focussing on the research while John concentrated on the writing. While she had done better academically at Oxford, she told her husband John that "she hated using her brains".[8] He wrote that her strength was "putting great masses of fact & detail in order, seizing their significance & seeing how they should be set out."[8] Their first work together was a study of the effects of enclosure and the Industrial Revolution upon the working classes. When taken to the publishers, Longmans, this was found to be too long and so Barbara restructured the work into separate volumes.[9] The first of these was The Village Labourer which was published in 1911.[2] This was well-received and had an immediate political impact, informing Liberal policy produced by the Land Enquiry Committee of David Lloyd George – a driver of the Liberal welfare reforms.[10] In 1912, they moved again to a farmhouse called Oatfield in the rustic village of Piccotts End which was to be their home for most of their lives. Barbara would work here while tending the large garden and collection of animals. Their friend, the historian Arnold J. Toynbee, recounted her spartan, therapeutic lifestyle which emphasised fresh air – open windows, long walks, riding and outdoor sleeping.[11] She would make occasional trips to the Public Record Office for research while John spent more time in London for his job. During the Second World War, he worked at the Manchester Guardian and so they moved to Manchester for the duration but then returned to Piccotts End in 1945. John died there in 1949 and Barbara died later in 1961.[2]


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