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The Bootlegging Waiter: A Story of Celebrity, Class, and Creativity in the 1930s with Dr. David Cowan
25 January, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Join us for an evening with the Cambridge historian Dr. David Cowan.
‘The Bootlegging Waiter: A Story of Celebrity, Class, and Creativity in the 1930s’
Arthur Henry Timmins, a waiter born in Southampton in 1907, burst into the pages of British newspapers in the late 1930s as the author of an autobiography and, soon after, a novel. A literary celebrity in the era before television, his works drew on his experiences serving customers in British hotels, cruise ship restaurants across the Atlantic, and illicit bars in Prohibition-era America. Dealing with still-resonant questions around tips and labour, Timmins’s writings drew attention to the exploitative conditions of service staff in the wake of the Great Depression. But it was a chance encounter in a restaurant with a customer that gave Timmins the confidence – and the opportunity – to break into London’s literary world.
About Dr. David Cowan
Dr. David Cowan teaches modern British history at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He is a prize-winning historian of twentieth-century Britain. David’s recent article, ‘Nostalgia, Community, and Late Twentieth Century Television’ is available online and is free to access.
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