Bryan Matthews Lecture 2012 Researching Rutland	Registered Charity No 700273 Rutland Local History & Record Society
'What Makes a Bargain' - Professor Steven King As we sit in Uppingham in 2012, we will be beset by Greek debt, austerity, personal debt and drought induced inflation. Set against this context we all have a sense of the value of things – relationships, paintings, health, a good education, and certainly clothing and anything we buy in the shops – and of concepts such as good value, value for money and that elusive ‘bargain’. How though did our ancestors think about, measure and express their sense of value, value for money and ‘the bargain’? Do we in austerity Britain have a more refined, perhaps monetised, sense of value? For the last twenty years I have been collecting the diaries of those resident and formerly resident in, or simply passing through, Rutland. This source base allows us a unique window for a single English county onto the question of how contemporaries understood value for money and the ‘bargain’. Exploring these sources, my lecture will range from the odd – Mr Flint of Uppingham who held forth on the value of a good set of teeth and the ‘bargain’ of paying for dentures – through to the very sophisticated Henry Farrow of Oakham who corresponded with the political elite of nineteenth century England on the need to make use of the word ‘bargain’ by shopkeepers illegal. Click here to view an illustrated poster