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At the outbreak of the Second World War Constance Miles was living with her husband in the pretty Surrey village of Shere. A prolific correspondent with a keen interest in current affairs, Constance kept a war journal from 1939 to 1943, recording in vivid detail what life was like for women on the Home Front. She writes of the impact of evacuees, of food shortages and the creative uses of what food there was, and the fears of the local populace, who wonder how they will cope. She tells of refugees from central Europe billeted in village houses and, later in the war, of the influx of American servicemen. She travels frequently to London, mourning the destruction of familiar landmarks and recording the devastation of the Blitz, but still finds time for tea in the Strand. A woman of strong convictions, Mrs Miles is not afraid to voice her opinion on public figures and her worries about the social upheavals she feels certain to follow the war. But most of all her journals record an overlooked aspect of the conflict: the impact on communities outside of major cities, who endured hardships we find hard to imagine today. It is a fascinating document that makes for compulsive reading.
'It is as if I have been waiting for someone to ask me these questions for almost the whole of my life' From 1945, more than four million British servicemen were demobbed and sent home after the most destructive war in history. Damaged by fighting, imprisonment or simply separation from their loved ones, these men returned to a Britain that had changed in their absence. In Stranger in the House, Julie Summers tells the women's story, interviewing over a hundred women who were on the receiving end of demobilisation: the mothers, wives, sisters, who had to deal with an injured, emotionally-damaged relative; those who assumed their fiances had died only to find them reappearing after they had married another; women who had illegitimate children following a wartime affair as well as those whose steadfast optimism was rewarded with a delightful reunion. Many of the tales are moving, some are desperately sad, others are full of humour but all provide a fascinating account of how war altered ordinary women's lives forever.
If Paris is the city of love, then London is the city of lust. For over a thousand years, England's capital has been associated with desire, avarice and the sins of the flesh. Richard of Devises, a monk writing in 1180, warned that 'every quarter [of the city] abounds in great obscenities'. As early as the second century AD, London was notorious for its raucous festivities and disorderly houses, and throughout the centuries the bawdy side of life has taken easy root and flourished. In the third book of her fascinating London trilogy, award-winning popular historian Catharine Arnold turns her gaze to the city's relationship with vice through the ages. From the bath houses and brothels of Roman Londinium, to the stews and Molly houses of the 17thand 18thcenturies, London has always traded in the currency of sex. Whether pornographic publishers on Fleet Street, or fancy courtesans parading in Haymarket, its streets have long been witness to colourful sexual behaviour. In her usual accessible and entertaining style, Arnold takes us on a journey through the fleshpots of London from earliest times to present day. Here are buxom strumpets, louche aristocrats, popinjay politicians and Victorian flagellants -- all vying for their place in London's league of licentiousness. From sexual exuberance to moral panic, the city has seen the pendulum swing from Puritanism to hedonism and back again. With later chapters looking at Victorian London and the sexual underground of the 20thcentury and beyond, this is a fascinating and vibrant chronicle of London at its most raw and ribald.
A remarkable and eccentric insight into the south east of England in the pre-war period.
Richard Wyndham's 'last look round' was a tour taken immediately before the Second World War in 1939 and was originally published in the following year as South-Eastern Survey.
Wyndham is a very agreeable companion as he travels in his self-confessed 'haphazard' way around the counties of Sussex, Kent and Surrey. Often eccentric but always good fun, he drives 'for the most part on side roads only, and through villages and lesser towns.' A selection of Wyndham's own black and white photographs taken on his expedition are included.
Sussex, Kent and Surrey 1939 is a wonderful insight into south east of England before the outbreak of the Second World War, which brought so much change to the country. Wyndham is a superb travel companion who completed the writing as he was called up for active service.
A completely original history of one of the most extraordinary movements in the world - the Girl Guides - and how they helped win the war. Mention Girl Guides to any woman and the reaction will be strong. They either loved them or hated them; they were either proud to wear their uniform or refused to join. Whatever their feelings, most former Guides retain strong memories of their experiences. All too often regarded merely in terms of biscuit sales and sing-songs, hardly anybody is aware of the massive impact that the Guides had on gender equality and, more fundamentally, the outcome of the Second World War. In this eye-opening history, Janie Hampton explores how the Guides' work was crucial to Britain's victory. When the Blitz broke out, the Guides knew what to do. They kept up morale in bomb shelters, demonstrating 'blitz cooking' with emergency ovens made from the bricks of bombed houses at the request of the Ministry of Food. They grew food on their company allotments and knitted for the entire country. The embodiment of the Home Front spirit, they dug shelters, provided crucial First Aid, and also assisted the millions of children who were forced to flee their city homes to safer places in the country. It is difficult to imagine what the war effort would have looked like without the Guides. Full of fond and funny anecdotes and rich social history, 'How the Guides Won the War' takes us on the journey of one of the twentieth century's most extraordinary movements.
**Explore the fascinating history of the real Downton Abbey as the Crawley family saga makes its way on to the big screen with Downton Abbey, the major motion picture** 'An excellent depiction of English aristocratic life ... a compelling portrait' Publisher's Weekly * * * * * * The follow-up to the international bestseller Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey, this book moves the story into the 1920s, and focuses on the remarkable American heiress who came to reign at Highclere Castle. Sometimes the facts are even more extraordinary than the fiction ... This book tells the story of Lady Catherine, a beautiful American girl who became the chatelaine of Highclere Castle, the setting for Julian Fellowes' award-winning drama Downton Abbey. Charming and charismatic, Catherine caught the eye of Lord Porchester (or 'Porchey', as he was known) when she was just 20 years old, and wearing a pale yellow dress at a ball. She had already turned down 14 proposals before she eventually married Porchey in 1922. But less than a year later Porchey's father died suddenly, and he became the 6th Earl of Carnarvon, inheriting a title and a Castle that changed both their lives forever. Catherine found herself suddenly in charge of a small army of household staff, and hosting lavish banquets and weekend house parties. Although the couple were very much in love, considerable challenges lay ahead for Catherine. They were immediately faced with the task of saving Highclere when debts threatened to destroy the estate. As the 1920s moved to a close, Catherine's adored brother died and she began to lose her husband to the distractions London had to offer. When the Second World War broke out, life at the Castle would never be the same again. Drawing on rich material from the private archives at Highclere, including beautiful period photographs, the current Countess of Carnarvon transports us back to the thrilling and alluring world of the 'real Downton Abbey' and its inhabitants.
Britain has a wealth of royal palaces, some owned by the Crown as part of the country's assets, while others have been bought by members of the Royal Family themselves as personal residences. Each property has a fascinating story behind it, as well as its own unique place in history. This beautifully illustrated book looks at some of the UK's best-loved royal homes, current and former, their buildings, gardens, treasures and, of course, their inhabitants past and present. Discover how these homes have evolved over the centuries and how they are being adapted for the future and the demands of modern life. Written by seasoned Pitkin royal author Halima Sadat, this easily digestible volume makes a wonderful companion for anyone visiting these impressive buildings and their beautiful gardens. Entries include: Hampton Court, Osborne House, Windsor Castle, Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace, Highgrove, Sandringham and Balmoral.
The best political biography of the year' Jonathan Sumption, Spectator 'Wonderful . . . A Life so nearly complete it need never be written again' Ferdinand Mount, Times Literary Supplement By the author of the Orwell Prize-winning Citizen Clem Damned in coruscating verse by Shelley and Byron, his coffin hissed at during his funeral, Lord Castlereagh has one of the blackest reputations in British history. But as John Bew shows, this is but a half-drawn portrait. His gripping biography reveals a shy, inarticulate but passionate man; a towering political figure of implacable principles who redrew the map of Europe, fought a duel with a cabinet colleague and would tragically take his own life amid rumours of scandal and madness.
This lively, authoritative account of a crucial period in Britain's history has been revised and updated to incorporate the very latest findings and research. Guy de la Bedoyere - the popular face of Romano-British archaeological studies - puts the Roman conquest and occupation within the larger context of Romano-British society and how it functioned. With nearly 300 illustrations and dramatic aerial views of Roman sites, and brimming with the very latest research and discoveries, Roman Britain will delight and inform all those with an interest in this seminal epoch of British history.
'Claiming there are only 150 key things you really need to know that have shaped in the story of Britain, this book delivers them in easy to swallow, bite-sized chunks' - Best of British A bestseller in 2008, Remember Remember has continued to enlighten and entertain readers wanting to brush up on their history. Lively, exciting, full of great stories and humorous asides, this book looks at the key events in British history, covering all the important dates, people and events. Each subject is presented in short, self-contained 'articles', designed to be dipped into on the readers whim. Concise and authoritative, Remember, Remember makes history interesting and accessible for everyone once again.
How the people of a typical English village lived and died in the worst epidemic in history. The Black Death remains the greatest disaster to befall humanity, killing about half the population of the planet in the 14th century. John Hatcher recreates everyday medieval life in a parish in Suffolk, from which an exceptional number of documents survive. This enables us to view events through the eyes of its residents, revealing in unique detail what it was like to live and die in these terrifying times. With scrupulous attention to historical accuracy, John Hatcher describes what the parishioners experienced, what they knew and what they believed. His narrative is peopled with characters developed from the villagers named in the actual town records and a series of dramatic scenes portray how contemporaries must have experienced the momentous events.
A new narrative history of the Viking Age, interwoven with exploration of the physical remains and landscapes that the Vikings fashioned and walked: their rune-stones and ship burials, settlements and battlefields. To many, the word 'Viking' brings to mind red scenes of rape and pillage, of marauders from beyond the sea rampaging around the British coastline in the last gloomy centuries before the Norman Conquest. It is true that Britain in the Viking Age was a turbulent, violent place. The kings and warlords who have impressed their memories on the period revel in names that fire the blood and stir the imagination: Svein Forkbeard and Edmund Ironside, Ivar the Boneless and Alfred the Great, Erik Bloodaxe and Edgar the Pacifier amongst many others. Evidence for their brutality, their dominance, their avarice and their pride is still unearthed from British soil with stunning regularity. But this is not the whole story. In Viking Britain, Thomas Williams has drawn on his experience as project curator of the British Museum exhibition of Vikings: Life and Legend to show how the people we call Vikings came not just to raid and plunder, but to settle, to colonize and to rule. The impact on these islands was profound and enduring, shaping British social, cultural and political development for hundreds of years. Indeed, in language, literature, place-names and folklore, the presence of Scandinavian settlers can still be felt, and their memory - filtered and refashioned through the writings of people like J.R.R. Tolkien, William Morris and G.K.Chesterton - has transformed the western imagination. This remarkable book makes use of new academic research and first-hand experience, drawing deeply from the relics and landscapes that the Vikings and their contemporaries fashioned and walked: their runestones and ship burials, settlements and battlefields, poems and chronicles. The book offers a vital evocation of a forgotten world, its echoes in later history and its implications for the present.
Most of us are fascinated by royalty, past and present. Whether glamorous or sordid, merrie or morose, our monarchs and their families have led lives very different from ours - and all too often they've held the Fate of the Nation in the palms of their hands. They've married for diplomatic reasons and created diplomatic incidents when they divorced. They've refused to marry and endangered the succession; they've borne a dozen children and still left no one to succeed them. They've got themselves excommunicated and created their own religions. They've waged war against their neighbours and their cousins; built frivolous summer palaces and formidable fortresses (and imprisoned their cousins in them). In so doing, they've left their mark all over Great Britain, in castles and churches, on battle fields and stained- glass windows. Their stories are written all across our landscape, if we know where to look for them. In this amusing and fast-paced tour of Britain, Caroline Taggart is our guide to all the weird and wonderful places connected with royalty over the last 1,500 years.
Mary, Katherine, and Jane Grey-sisters whose mere existence nearly
toppled a kingdom and altered a nation's destiny-are the
captivating subjects of Leanda de Lisle's new book. The Sisters Who
Would Be Queen breathes fresh life into these three young women,
who were victimized in the notoriously vicious Tudor power struggle
and whose heirs would otherwise probably be ruling England today.
FROM A MULTI-AWARD-WINNING HISTORIAN, THIS IS AN ARRESTING NEW HISTORY OF THE BATTLE FOR THE FENS. Between the English Civil Wars and the mid-Victorian period, the proud indigenous population of the Fens of eastern England fought to preserve their homeland against an expanding empire. After centuries of resistance, their culture and community were destroyed, along with their wetland home - England's last lowland wilderness. But this was no simple triumph of technology over nature - it was the consequence of a newly centralised and militarised state, which enriched the few while impoverishing the many. In this colourful and evocative history, James Boyce brings to life not only colonial masters such as Oliver Cromwell and the Dukes of Bedford but also the defiant 'Fennish' them- selves and their dangerous and often bloody resistance to the enclosing landowners. We learn of the eels so plentiful they became a kind of medieval currency; the games of 'Fen football' that were often a cover for sabotage of the drainage works; and the destruction of a bountiful ecosystem that had sustained the Fennish for thousands of years and which meant that they did not have to submit in order to survive. Masterfully argued and imbued with a keen sense of place, Imperial Mud reimagines not just the history of the Fens, but the history and identity of the English people.
Facsimile edition of the famous Black's Picturesque Tourist Guide of Scotland originally published in 1840. The Black's Guide to travel is the star of the television series 'Grand Tours of Scotland' as used by Paul Murton. Starts with a description of Scotland, Edinburgh and Leith and the Environs of Edinburgh. The guide then describes Fourteen Tours of Scotland for the traveller, highlighting notable features the travellers may encounter. In the preface to the guide it states that 'the author has contended himself with giving a plain and intelligible account of the scenery most worthy of the attention of strangers ' As well as the in-depth tours there are 21 detailed Itineraries and an index. There are also charts and scenic views from around Scotland at the time.
Follow in the footsteps of royalty past and present on this journey through England's capital and beyond to Kew, Hampton Court and Windsor. London has a charm that draws visitors from home and abroad who are looking to explore what England's capital city has to offer. The fact that for hundreds of years Britain has had a Royal Family is part of that charm, and the unique history of our monarchy forms the basis of Royal London. From palaces and parks to pomp and ceremony, from streets with royal connections to statues commemorating past sovereigns and their consorts, much of today's royal London is readily available to any visitor who wishes to seek it out. But it is fascinating, too, to reflect on how parts of London came about, thanks to those monarchs who have lived, loved, lost and left a royal footprint. Sites include: Buckingham Palace, St James's Palace, Kensington Palace, Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower of London, V&A Museum, Green Park, Hyde Park, Greenwich Observatory, Hampton Court, Windsor Castle.
'Excellent . . . This is narrative history of the highest quality' Andrew Lycett, Sunday Telegraph 'Wonderfully engrossing and intelligent . . . clever and entertaining' Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times HEYDAY brings to life one of the most extraordinary periods in modern history. The 1850s was a decade of breathtaking transformation, with striking parallels for our own times. The world was reshaped by technology, trade, mass migration and war. The global economy expanded fivefold, millions of families emigrated to the ends of the earth to carve out new lives, technology revolutionised communications, while steamships and railways cut across vast continents and oceans, shrinking the world and creating the first global age. In a fast-paced, kaleidoscopic narrative, the acclaimed historian Ben Wilson recreates this time of explosive energy and dizzying change, a rollercoaster ride of booms and bust, focusing on the lives of the men and women reshaping its frontiers. At the centre stands Great Britain. The country was the peak of its power as it attempted to determine the destinies of hundreds of millions of people. A dazzling history of a tumultuous decade, HEYDAY reclaims an often overlooked period that was fundamental not only in in the making of Britain but of the modern world.
Tir a'Mhurain is a collection of photographs that reflects the impressions gathered by Paul Strand and his wife Hazel during their 3-month visit to the Hebrides in 1945. Juxtaposing people and landscape, Strand's beautifully sequenced photographs depict the perfect complicity he saw between nature and habitation in their wild terrain. Whether it is a view of the rocks and the sea or a grinning shepherd boy; scuddling clouds hanging over seaside house or the wrinkled face of an old lady framed by a knitted shawl, Strand's images transcend the ephemeral. This extended portrait captures the essence and complexity of a singular place. This is a true masterpiece of photography.
Queen Elizabeth I's reign is amongst the most exciting and fascinating of any period of English history. She was a glamourous queen who ruled a vibrant nation full of legendary figures: Robert Dudley, Francis Drake, Walter Raleigh, the Earl of Essex were all international celebrities of their day. Great events unfolded, with triumphs such as the defeat of the Spanish Armada, and tragedies, including the long-term imprisonment and execution of Mary Queen of Scots. With love affairs, wily politicians, sinister plots and intrigues at the royal court, Elizabeth's reign was a long-running drama; it is appropriate that William Shakespeare was writing at the time, and characters and events of his plays often mirrored Elizabethan life. But it was Queen Elizabeth who was the star of the story, holding centre stage over a glittering royal court. In this seminal Pitkin text by G.W.O. Woodward, revised and updated by Gill Knappett for 2019, read how Gloriana reigned in dazzling majesty over an exciting new age of exploration, discovery, artistic brilliance, architectural achievement, foreign conquest and prosperity.
Bestselling military historian Richard Holmes delivers an expertly written and exhilarating account of the life of John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough and Britain's finest soldier, who rose from genteel poverty to lead his country to glory, cementing its position as a major player on the European stage and saviour of the Holy Roman Empire. John Churchill is, by any reasonable analysis, Britain's greatest-ever soldier. He mastered strategy, tactics and logistics. His big four battles, Blenheim (which saved the Holy Roman Empire), Ramilies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet were events at the very centre of the European stage. He captured Lille, France's second city, overran Bavaria and beat a succession of French marshals so badly that one, the squat and energetic Bofflers, was rewarded by Louis XIV for only losing moderately. A coalition manager long before the phrase was invented, he commanded a huge polyglot army with centrifugal political tendencies and bending it to his will by sheer force of personality. Yet John Churchill was also deeply controversial. He accepted a pension from one of Charles II's mistresses for services vigorously rendered. He owed his rise and his peerage to James II yet, determined to be on the winning side, he deserted him in his hour of need in 1688. He maintained regular correspondence with the Jacobites while serving William and Mary and with the French while fighting Louis XIV. He made money on a prodigious scale, but was notoriously tight-fisted, long regretting an annuity given to a secretary whose quick-wittedness saved him from capture. But in the age when commissions were bought and sold, and commanders often owed their position to the hue of their blood, he never lost his soldier's confidence.
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