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Plate 6.1A young machinist working in Leicester’s textile industry in 1948

Thus, the late 1940s and 1950s might be better represented as a significant watershed in British society rather than a period of continuity. The years in which Latvian EVWs escaped the bonds of their ‘unfree’ or indentured labour for the British state and established independent working lives and households were, as Royle suggests, a period of deep-seated changes in British society in a range of areas including the family and household structures, the rise of consumerism and its associated technologies, the position of women, and in class, race, religion and education than years of stability. I want to describe these changes and position the Latvian women within them, assessing the extent to which their deep desire to (re-)establish a version of Latvian community and identity in exile ran counter to or paralleled the changing climate, the renegotiation of men’s and women’s roles and the new opportunities for women opening up in 1950s Britain.