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New publication - The Great British Aunt: A History

The Great British Aunt: A History by Patricia M. Cattley has been published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. The book focuses on the factual and fictional roles played by aunts and is dedicated to the aunts, nieces and nephews who shared their experiences of 'Great British Auntdom.'

Drawing on archival evidence of the lives of ‘ordinary’ aunts and their kin alongside accounts of the aunts of Britain’s best loved cultural figures including Winston Churchill and Agatha Christie, The Great British Aunt explores the evolving roles of aunts from the 19th century to the present day. Who counts as an ‘aunt’? Were everyday aunts anything like the celebrated aunts of literature and film? Why is the BBC referred to as ‘auntie’? How did aunts hold the family together during wartime? Structured  chronologically, each chapter examines key themes and traits of British aunts, encompassing embarrassing aunts, bicycling aunts, feminist aunts, liberal aunts, gossiping aunts, disapproving aunts, lesbian aunts, travelling aunts, and more.

The Great British Aunt reveals the British aunt’s unique character and hitherto unappreciated contribution to society during a century of unprecedented upheaval.


Patricia M. Cattley is an independent researcher in sociology, cultural studies and ageing. She is a published poet and scholar, a retirement planning consultant, and an experienced aunt.