Barbara Hammond

Lucy Barbara Hammond (née Bradby, 1873–1961) 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]

Barbara Hammond
Chalk portrait by W. Rothenstein in 1908[1]
"intensely penetrating blue eyes and ... beautifully abundant, copper-red hair"[2]
Lucy Barbara Bradby

(1873-07-25)25 July 1873[2]
Died16 November 1961(1961-11-16) (aged 88)[2]
St Paul's Hospital, Hemel Hempstead[2], England
Alma mater
Occupationsocial historian
OrganizationWomen's Industrial Council[2]
Known forThe Labourer trilogy

Early life and education

Born on 25 July 1873, she 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] This feat inspired a limerick:[1][6]

In spite of long hours with a crammer,
I never get more than a Gamma,
But the girl over there
With the flaming red hair
Gets Alpha Plus every time, damn her!

Marriage and writing

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]




  1. LMH.
  2. DNB.
  3. Spongberg 2016.
  4. Weaver 1997, p. 34.
  5. Weaver 2004.
  6. Delamont 2002, p. 145.
  7. Kleer 2000.
  8. Feske 2000, p. 104.
  9. Feske 2000, pp. 109–116.
  10. Sutton 2013, p. 29.
  11. Toynbee 1967, pp. 95–107.


  • Portrait of Barbara Hammond, Lady Margaret Hall Oxford, 2017
  • Delamont, Sara (2002), Knowledgeable Women: Structuralism and the Reproduction of Elites, Routledge, ISBN 9781134979752
  • Feske, Victor (2000), "J. L. and Barbara Hammond A Case of Mistaken Identity", From Belloc to Churchill: Private Scholars, Public Culture, and the Crisis of British Liberalism, 1900-1939, University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 9780807861387
  • Kleer, Richard (26 Oct 2000), "Lucy Barbara (Bradby) Hammond", A Biographical Dictionary of Women Economists, doi:10.4337/9781843761426.00059, ISBN 9781852789640
  • Spongberg, Mary (2016), "Hammond, [Lucy] Barbara", Companion to Women's Historical Writing, Springer, p. 235, ISBN 9781349724680
  • Sutton, David (2013), "Radical liberalism, Fabianism and social history", Making Histories: Studies in History-writing and Politics, Routledge, ISBN 9781135032180
  • Toynbee, Arnold J. (1967), Acquaintances, Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780192152473
  • Weaver, Stewart (1997), The Hammonds – A Marriage in History, Stanford University Press, ISBN 9780804732420
  • Weaver, Stewart (2004), "J. H. Clapham and the Hammonds", The Victorians Since 1901, Manchester University Press, ISBN 9780719067259
  • Weaver, Stewart (2004), "(Lucy) Barbara Hammond (1873–1961)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/42339
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