Related to: 'Chaucer's People'


Restoration London

Liza Picard
Liza Picard

'A joy of a book ... It radiates throughout that quality so essential in a good historian: infinite curiosity' ObserverHow did you clean your teeth in the 1660s? What make-up did you wear? What pets did you keep?Making use of every possible contemporary source, Liza Picard presents an engrossing picture of how life in London was really lived in an age of Samuel Pepys, the libertine court of Charles II and the Great Fire of London. The topics covered include houses and streets, gardens and parks, cooking, clothes and jewellery, cosmetics, hairdressing, housework, laundry and shopping, medicine and dentistry, sex education, hobbies, etiquette, law and crime, religion and popular belief. The London of 350 years ago is brought (and sometimes horrifyingly) to life.


Dr Johnson's London

Liza Picard
Liza Picard

'A Baedeker of the past, absorbing and revealing in equal measure' Peter Ackroyd'Brings the age's tortuous splendours and profound murkiness vividly to life' ObserverWhen Dr Johnson published his great Dictionary in 1755, London was the biggest city in Europe. The opulence of the rich and the comfort of the 'middling' sort contrasted sharply with the back-breaking labour and pitiful wages of the poor. Executions were rated one of the best amusements, but there was bullock-hunting and cock-fighting too. Crime, from pickpockets to highwaymen, was rife, prisons were poisonous and law-enforcement rudimentary.Dr Johnson's London is the result of the author's passionate interest in the practical details of the everyday life of our ancestors: the streets, houses and gardens; cooking, housework, laundry and shopping; clothes and cosmetics; medicine, sex, hobbies, education and etiquette. The book spans the years 1740 to 1770, starting when the gin craze was gaining ground and ending when the east coast of America was still British. While brilliantly recording the strangeness and individuality of the past, Dr Johnson's London continually reminds us of parallels with the present day.


Victorian London

Liza Picard
Liza Picard

From rag-gatherers to royalty, from fish knives to Freemasons: everyday life in Victorian London.Like its acclaimed companion volumes, Elizabeth's London, Restoration London and Dr Johnson's London, this book is the product of the author's passionate interest in the realities of everyday life so often left out of history books. This period of mid Victorian London covers a huge span: Victoria's wedding and the place of the royals in popular esteem; how the very poor lived, the underworld, prostitution, crime, prisons and transportation; the public utilities - Bazalgette on sewers and road design, Chadwick on pollution and sanitation; private charities - Peabody, Burdett Coutts - and workhouses; new terraced housing and transport, trains, omnibuses and the Underground; furniture and decor; families and the position of women; the prosperous middle classes and their new shops, such as Peter Jones and Harrods; entertaining and servants, food and drink; unlimited liability and bankruptcy; the rich, the marriage market, taxes and anti-semitism; the Empire, recruitment and press-gangs. The period begins with the closing of the Fleet and Marshalsea prisons and ends with the first (steam-operated) Underground trains and the first Gilbert & Sullivan.


Elizabeth's London

Liza Picard
Liza Picard

'Reading this book is like taking a ride on a marvellously exhilarating time-machine, alive with colour, surprise and sheer merriment' Jan MorrisLike its acclaimed companion volumes, Restoration London, Dr Johnson's London and Victorian London, this book is the result of the author's passionate interest in the practical details of everyday life so often ignored in conventional history books. It begins with the River Thames, the lifeblood of Elizabethan London, before turning to the streets and the traffic in them. Liza Picard surveys building methods and shows us the interior decor of the rich and the not-so-rich, and what they were likely to be growing in their gardens. Then the Londoners of the time take the stage, in all their amazing finery. Plague, smallpox and other diseases afflicted them. But food and drink, sex and marriage and family life provided comfort. Cares could be forgotten in a playhouse or the bull-baiting of bear-baiting rings, or watching a good cockfight. Liza Picard's wonderfully skilful and vivid evocation of the London of Elizabeth I enables us to share the delights, as well as the horrors, of the everyday lives of our sixteenth-century ancestors.

Adrian Goldsworthy

Adrian Goldsworthy has a doctorate from Oxford University. His first book, THE ROMAN ARMY AT WAR was recognised by John Keegan as an exceptionally impressive work, original in treatment and impressive in style. He has gone on to write several other books, including THE FALL OF THE WEST, CAESAR, IN THE NAME OF ROME, CANNAE and ROMAN WARFARE, which have sold more than a quarter of a million copies and been translated into more than a dozen languages. A full-time author, he regularly contributes to TV documentaries on Roman themes.Visit for more information.

Barbara Tate

Barbara Tate was born in Southall in 1927. After she left her Soho life, Barbara went on to marry, raise a family and become a successful painter. A fellow of the Royal Society of Artists and the Society of Botanical Artists, Barbara was a long-time president of the Society of Women Artists and lifetime honorary president. Accolades for her paintings include gold and silver medals from the Paris Salon, the Grand Prix de la Cote d'Azur and an honorary professorship from Thames University. Barbara died in 2009.

Blair Worden

Blair Worden is a historian, among the leading authorities on the period of the English Civil War. He has taught at the universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Sussex and Chicago. After a period as a Fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford, he took up a position as a Professor at Royal Holloway, University of London. As of 2011 he is an Emeritus Fellow of St Edmund Hall.

Bryan Perrett

Bryan Perrett left the army as a successful career officer to take up the pen as a full-time writer. Able to write to any brief (he was captioning picture-strips for schoolgirl comics at one point), he found his metier as a military historian and writer of good, fast, episodic, narrative popular histories. His many books, all founded on meticulous research from primary sources, find a wide popular readership. He is the bestselling author in the bestselling Cassell Military Classics series.

Chris Skidmore

Chris Skidmore is the author of four books on medieval and Tudor history: Richard III, Bosworth, Edward VI and Death and the Virgin. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He is also the Member of Parliament for Kingswood and in July 2016 was appointed as Minister for the Constitution in the Cabinet

Clare Corbett

Clare Corbett has had a successful career on stage, screen and radio. Theatre credits include 'To Kill A Mocking Bird' 'Pygmalion' and Spoonface Steinberg' and her TV credits include BBC's 'Spooks,' 'Fastnet' and 'Final Demand'. A winner of the prestigious Carleton Hobbs Radio Award, she has appeared in over 250 radio plays including 'Absolute Power' 'Venus and Adonis' and ' Dr Zhivago'. Her other voice work comprises of Aardman Animation's ' the planet sketch' and numerous audiobooks (children and adult) including 'Poppy Shakespeare', 'Swallowing Grandma' and 'Child X'. She read 'Alys, Always' by Harriet Lane for Orion.

Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the acclaimed author of 'Singapore Burning' and co-author of 'Alamein - War Without Hate'.

Douglas Hurd

Douglas Hurd is a politician, biographer and novelist who served in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, as Minister for Europe (1979-83), Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1984-85), Home Secretary (1985-89) and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1989-95). His previous books include his MEMOIRS, ROBERT PEEL: A BIOGRAPHY and, with Edward Young, CHOOSE YOUR WEAPONS: THE BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY - 200 YEARS OF ARGUMENT, SUCCESS AND FAILURE.

Edward Young

Edward Young gained a first-class degree in history from Clare College, Cambridge, and won a Mellon Scholarship to Yale where he studied history and international relations as part of the Grand Strategy Program. He has since worked as a speechwriter for David Cameron and as Chief of Staff to the Conservative Party Chairman. He currently works at Brunswick Group LLC. Disraeli is Edward's third book in collaboration with Lord Hurd, having worked as a research assistant for his biography of Sir Robert Peel, and co-authoring Choose Your Weapons, a history of British foreign policy.

Evelyn Doyle

Evelyn Doyle now lives in Scotland with her partner of 14 years Michael. She trained as a psychiatric nurse, then became a police officer and later moved on to running her own patisserie company. She has one son, Benjamin, and grandson Joshua.Molly McCloskey, who collaborated with Evelyn, was born in 1964 in Philadelphia. She published her first collection of short stories, Soloman's Seal, in 1997. Her new collection, The Beautiful Changes, was published by the Lilliput Press in February 2002. She now lives in Ocean City, Co Sligo.Evelyn Doyle now lives in Scotland with her partner of 14 years Michael. She trained as a psychiatric nurse, then became a police officer and later moved on to running her own patisserie company. She has one, Benjamin, and grandson, Joshua.

Geoffrey Household

Geoffrey Household (1900-1988)Geoffrey Household was a prolific novelist of political thrillers and suspense stories, most notably the classic Rogue Male, which, The Times recently declared, 'remains as exciting and probing as ever'. He was as widely travelled as the settings of his books suggest: after graduating from Magdalen College, Oxford, with a first in English literature he worked abroad for 25 years, and served in British Intelligence during World War II in Greece and the Middle East. He married twice and eventually settled in the English countryside with his wife and three children.

Geoffrey Moorhouse

Geoffrey Moorhouse was ¿one of the best writers of our time¿ (Byron Rogers, The Times), ¿a brilliant historian¿ (Dirk Bogarde, Daily Telegraph) and ¿a writer whose gifts are beyond category¿ (Jan Morris, Independent on Sunday). He wrote over twenty books, on subjects ranging from travel and spirituality to cricket and rugby league. In 1982 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His To the Frontier won the Thomas Cook Award for the best travel book of its year in 1984. More recently he concentrated on Tudor history, notably with THE PILGRIMAGE OF GRACE and, in 2005, GREAT HARRY'S NAVY. He died in November 2009.

Hugh Kennedy

Hugh Kennedy studied Arabic at the Middle East Centre for Arabic Studies before reading Arabic, Persian and History at Cambridge. Since 1972 he has taught in the Department of Mediaeval History at the University of St. Andrews. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2000.

James Holland

James Holland studied history at Durham University. He writes articles and reviews for Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times, The Times, Sunday Express and New Statesman on twentieth Century social history and the second world war. He has also worked in the publicity departments for major publishing houses most recently responsible for the publicity on Anthony Beever's number one bestseller 'Berlin'.

Jean Fullerton

Jean Fullerton is the author of seven historical novels. She is a qualified District and Queen's nurse who has spent most of her working life in the East End of London, first as a Sister in charge of a team, and then as a District Nurse tutor. She is also a qualified teacher and spent twelve years lecturing on community nursing studies at a London university. She now writes full-time. Find out more at

Jennifer Worth

Jennifer Worth trained as a nurse at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, and was later ward sister at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital in London, then the Marie Curie Hospital, also in London. Music had always been her passion, and in 1973 she left nursing in order to study music intensively, teaching piano and singing for about 25 years. Jennifer died in May 2011 after a short illness, leaving her husband Philip, two daughters and three grandchildren. Her books have all been bestsellers.