Gus Nichol, the head of the family business, in the coffin loft

Every culture manages the ritual of death differently, but what is common to all is the wish for solemnity and dignity in the final goodbye. Un(...)

The world the magazine continues to report on has changed irrevocably in the intervening decades: from left, Time in 1954; part of a prescient ad in 1954 promoting the rocket power of the Aerojet-General Corporation; and the issue of August 4th this year

In August 1954, Time magazine cost 1/6 in the “British Isles”, 95 francs in “French Possessions” and 100 fils in Iraq. The ad on the inside back co(...)

A page from the educational ‘Look and Learn’ annual (1979)

One of the joys of my childhood was the purchase of a weekly comic. I read Jinty; Mandy; Whizzer and Chips; Topper; and the Beano. Not every week: (...)

Agony aunt Ann Landers. Photograph: Kevin Horan/The Life Images Collection/Getty Images

“If you need a helping hand and have no one to turn to, write to Mary Marryat. Her understanding and sympathetic advice have comforted many readers(...)

Clockwise from main, the Caribbean bath ad (1973); an ad for Wondermash, a kind of piped concentrated mashed potato, from the same magazine; an ad for a Chin Strap (1948); and an ad for a Formica kitchen (1965)

One of the most fascinating ways social history becomes visible over time is through printed advertising. Ads capture the zeitgeist. They reflect w(...)

Want to make friends the 1960s way? Then follow the tips laid out in Frankly Feminine by making some frilly knits, among other things. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The title of the book Frankly Feminine is as blunt as they come. This 544-page slab of a book, published in 1965 and edited by Eileen McCarthy, is (...)

Trained eye: Rosita Boland with the carved wooden box and tin-plate trains she purchased with her €100. Photograph: Alan Betson

We gave five treasure hunters €100 each and sent them off to bag bargains. At the end of the series, James O’Halloran of Adam’s Auctioneers will va(...)

Rosita Boland with a 1976 cookbook, Meals for Every Occasion, which features recipes for sausage bolster and sardine cartwheels, among other culinary delights. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there,” is the famous first sentence of LP Hartley’s novel The Go-Between. It’s true. Th(...)

No matter how many times you have visited the eclectic treasure chest of superb exhibits at the Chester Beatty library in Dublin, it’s certain you (...)

The Adoption Authority of Ireland said there are 14 times the number of Irish people seeking to adopt intercountry than children being adopted, with some 650 live declarations of suitability to adopt having been granted to those who have completed their assessment. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

The automatic right to assessment to determine suitability to adopt children in Ireland is a huge drain on resources at the Child and Family Agency, t(...)