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To Londoners, the years 1840 to 1870 were years of dramatic change and achievement. As suburbs expanded and roads multiplied, London was ripped apart to build railway lines and stations and life-saving sewers. The Thames was contained by embankments, and traffic congestion was eased by the first underground railway in the world. A start was made on providing housing for the "deserving poor." There were significant advances in medicine, and the Ragged Schools are perhaps the least known of Victorian achievements, in those last decades before universal state education. In 1851 the Great Exhibition managed to astonish almost everyone, attracting exhibitors and visitors from all over the world. But there was also appalling poverty and exploitation, exposed by Henry Mayhew and others. For the laboring classes, pay was pitifully low, the hours long, and job security nonexistent.


Liza Picard shows us the physical reality of daily life in Victorian London. She takes us into schools and prisons, churches and cemeteries. Many practical innovations of the time--flushing lavatories, underground railways, umbrellas, letter boxes, driving on the left--point the way forward. But this was also, at least until the 1850s, a city of cholera outbreaks, transportation to Australia, public executions, and the workhouse, where children could be sold by their parents for as little as £12 and streetpeddlers sold sparrows for a penny, tied by the leg for children to play with. Cruelty and hypocrisy flourished alongside invention, industry, and philanthropy.

Published: Macmillan Publishers on Jan 28, 2014
ISBN: 9781466863477
List price: $7.99
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Splendidly well researched and presented in easily digestible themed sections, like her works on other eras of London history. Could have perhaps benefited from a short concluding section.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Liza Picard opens up this book To Londoners, but I can safely add to history lovers, tourist and anyone fascinated with this Victorian era for the years of 1840-1870 there is simply a wealth of information for all here and Londoners no need to look down at the pavement on your daily drudge to work because after reading this book you'll want to look up in wonderment as this era gives you the in depth account about how you came to travel the underground or boat up and down the Thames. Old Victorian buildings you may pass were a base from which a great idea was formed, everything is right before our very eyes, this book welcomes us back to a fascinating city. I'm firstly going to bring people into the lay out and expectations when reading through. Incredibly researched, primary sources have been used but its been investigated much much further for detail. Its then I would say been divided into themed references and then themes form chapters, each broken down into many small sub-sections. London, suburbs of London, buildings, churches, poverty, travel, medicines, fashions, language, pleasures, beauty. Sub example for each: The old postal services, setting up Royal mail, the stamp introduction, letterboxes, post offices and when the first uniforms were worn ect ect. Building up an image in the mind of an area a sense of time, place and people in an observant way. Letters left behind of those times, voices from all walks of life, at the workhouses, a ladies maid, the upper class as they sit down to dinner or a butler who kept a diary for a year noting his daily grind. These voices form and produce a much more vivid picture as we follow through the book. Smell: Pick the worst smell you can think of and hold that thought because that is the odor you'll be walking around London with before a sewerage system was devised. Once the sewers were in place the book explains in detail the first problems it caused water pipes and sewers were run to close together and how the matter was resolved, the hugh overhaul which saved lives. We then go on to costs, such as having a lavatory installed the flush system that were put into a middle class family home. It made for a dramatic change to a bustling city and an idea used in others cities around the world. 1840 -1870 the dwellers of London were thriving with new ideas and invention during the Victorian age these were the years London was ripped apart to make way for railway lines and stations even showing the first congestion of traffic as London came to a stand still while this upheaval took place but again the outcome it generated work or allowed people in every day life to travel to locations they had only heard of. A man named Thomas Cook set up a business venture in 1847 and made his first deal with the railways, trips were organized in groups and were made cost effective. known in those days as the Thomas Cook Excursions in 1851 he was a successful entrepreneur making it possible for people to travel far and wide and also affordable and prepared to let many see with there own eyes the Great Exhibition. Liza Picard has added a sense of humor everywhere in this book from mens latest fashion in beards and dress entire, hat problems at the opera or ladies fashion problems when getting on the omnibuses. We are also given a crash course by leaflets issued at that time on the art of fainting, cossets being tight to the point of not breathing, "make sure there's a couch behind you" (good point) "if you feel you must faint, we can't always rely on a gentleman to lunge and catch"! Marriage certificates use to decorate the walls in a picture frame in the 1850's...... come come married couples how many would go up if that came back into fashion today? We go into schools looking at education, prisons and even cemeteries the information is sometimes surprising this books recreates the industries, inventions with splendor, misery, cruelty, vices and pleasures all the while keeping it entertaining you also have illustrations showing this extraordinary age. I can honestly say I learnt much from this book and throughly enjoyed every minuet. Congratulations Liza Picard has my attention and I will be looking at other books written. Highly recommended for anyone interested in this History era Andrea Bowhillread more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Victorian London is a book I would recommend to anyone with an interest in 19th century England - maybe even as an Xmas present for some history-loving friend or relation. Liza Picard has written a number of books about London and she really displays a genuine love of her subject. Victorian London is much more readable and enjoyable than any history book has a right to be. Divided under chapter headings that include Smells, Food, Clothes and So On (including a discussion of facial hair, tight lacing and 'drawers') how could it fail to be? Unlike many history writers, Picard writes about real people and their very real lives. Definitely one of the best books on the subject that I have read in a long time.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

Splendidly well researched and presented in easily digestible themed sections, like her works on other eras of London history. Could have perhaps benefited from a short concluding section.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Liza Picard opens up this book To Londoners, but I can safely add to history lovers, tourist and anyone fascinated with this Victorian era for the years of 1840-1870 there is simply a wealth of information for all here and Londoners no need to look down at the pavement on your daily drudge to work because after reading this book you'll want to look up in wonderment as this era gives you the in depth account about how you came to travel the underground or boat up and down the Thames. Old Victorian buildings you may pass were a base from which a great idea was formed, everything is right before our very eyes, this book welcomes us back to a fascinating city. I'm firstly going to bring people into the lay out and expectations when reading through. Incredibly researched, primary sources have been used but its been investigated much much further for detail. Its then I would say been divided into themed references and then themes form chapters, each broken down into many small sub-sections. London, suburbs of London, buildings, churches, poverty, travel, medicines, fashions, language, pleasures, beauty. Sub example for each: The old postal services, setting up Royal mail, the stamp introduction, letterboxes, post offices and when the first uniforms were worn ect ect. Building up an image in the mind of an area a sense of time, place and people in an observant way. Letters left behind of those times, voices from all walks of life, at the workhouses, a ladies maid, the upper class as they sit down to dinner or a butler who kept a diary for a year noting his daily grind. These voices form and produce a much more vivid picture as we follow through the book. Smell: Pick the worst smell you can think of and hold that thought because that is the odor you'll be walking around London with before a sewerage system was devised. Once the sewers were in place the book explains in detail the first problems it caused water pipes and sewers were run to close together and how the matter was resolved, the hugh overhaul which saved lives. We then go on to costs, such as having a lavatory installed the flush system that were put into a middle class family home. It made for a dramatic change to a bustling city and an idea used in others cities around the world. 1840 -1870 the dwellers of London were thriving with new ideas and invention during the Victorian age these were the years London was ripped apart to make way for railway lines and stations even showing the first congestion of traffic as London came to a stand still while this upheaval took place but again the outcome it generated work or allowed people in every day life to travel to locations they had only heard of. A man named Thomas Cook set up a business venture in 1847 and made his first deal with the railways, trips were organized in groups and were made cost effective. known in those days as the Thomas Cook Excursions in 1851 he was a successful entrepreneur making it possible for people to travel far and wide and also affordable and prepared to let many see with there own eyes the Great Exhibition. Liza Picard has added a sense of humor everywhere in this book from mens latest fashion in beards and dress entire, hat problems at the opera or ladies fashion problems when getting on the omnibuses. We are also given a crash course by leaflets issued at that time on the art of fainting, cossets being tight to the point of not breathing, "make sure there's a couch behind you" (good point) "if you feel you must faint, we can't always rely on a gentleman to lunge and catch"! Marriage certificates use to decorate the walls in a picture frame in the 1850's...... come come married couples how many would go up if that came back into fashion today? We go into schools looking at education, prisons and even cemeteries the information is sometimes surprising this books recreates the industries, inventions with splendor, misery, cruelty, vices and pleasures all the while keeping it entertaining you also have illustrations showing this extraordinary age. I can honestly say I learnt much from this book and throughly enjoyed every minuet. Congratulations Liza Picard has my attention and I will be looking at other books written. Highly recommended for anyone interested in this History era Andrea Bowhill
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Victorian London is a book I would recommend to anyone with an interest in 19th century England - maybe even as an Xmas present for some history-loving friend or relation. Liza Picard has written a number of books about London and she really displays a genuine love of her subject. Victorian London is much more readable and enjoyable than any history book has a right to be. Divided under chapter headings that include Smells, Food, Clothes and So On (including a discussion of facial hair, tight lacing and 'drawers') how could it fail to be? Unlike many history writers, Picard writes about real people and their very real lives. Definitely one of the best books on the subject that I have read in a long time.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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