Burrow's Guide to the The Wye was a commonly used guidebook for visitors to the Wye Valley between the two World Wars. The 7th edition for the year 1926-7 is used as a wiki menu.

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quiestest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” – **Pat Conroy**

The 1920s was a transitional period between two kinds of society and two economies. This is reflected in Burrow's guide to Wye. There was a depression yet generally living standards were rising. Steam power was gradually replaced by electricity. Transport became petrol engine powered. Early plastics were often used instead of basic metals and man made fibres such as regenerated rayon, called artificial silk (known as art silk) were increasingly supplementing cotton and silk. The resultant expansion of the chemical industry created jobs which helped the economy change from the domination of heavy industry. Between 1920 and 1940 Britain was faced with industrial problems. 19th century industrial techniques had already peaked and were no longer appropriate in a competitive world. British technology had been in decline since well before 1914. Post war Europe was in chaos and a return to the Empire days of before simply did not happen. The basic industries of ship building, coal and textiles never recovered from the slump they were in at the end of 1920.

The new economy provided consumer goods for the masses and began to market entertainment as leisure increased. Techniques of mass production and mass advertising changed people's outlooks. The introduction of the Penguin paperback book encouraged people to read and self improve. Magazines disseminated knowledge to women who had gained a new independence after the war years.

Mass marketing meant that the wireless and gramophone soon reached ordinary households. People began to make their own judgements listening to entertainment, music, news and current affairs.

Distributive trades began to thrive as the demand for products like cereals, household goods and ready made clothing grew. Montague Burton introduced his 50 shilling suit for men. Women wanted factory made dresses in similar styles to those seen on film stars.

There was a great building boom and one third of all houses built in the UK by 1939 had been built in the short period since 1919. New housing saw an increased demand for electricity, gas, water and the bureaucracy that served those utilities, so there was an increase in office workers and government departments.

The position of women in Britain was changing. In 1918 after the war ended women over 30 were given the vote if they were householders. By 1928 all women over 21 were given the vote. Even so a patronising attitude toward women still existed and women were in some circles still regarded as the decorative appendages of men with not other purpose but to bear children.


Chepstow Mapped