John Burnett

For the English upper and middle classes, writes John Burnett, the nineteenth century was a period of huge and ostentatious meals; but “only during the last twenty years has the population as a whole been economically able to achieve an adequate diet...”

Long before Jamie Oliver’s crusade, the provision of food in schools aroused passionate debate. John Burnett remembers one hundred years of school meals in Britain.

Jamie Oliver is the latest in a long line of food reformers. John Burnett looks at the campaign of the Reform Bread League to improve the nation’s loaf.

Jeremy Seabrook

The autobiographies of ordinary men and women are an important, though neglected, source of social history. John Burnett, Professor of Social History at Brunel University, has been collecting and studying these writings, many of them unpublished, for several years. This month and next, History Today is publishing an extract from the section on education in his book, Destiny Obscure.