Like her previous books, this book is the product of the author's passionate interest in the realities of everyday life - and the conditions in which most people lived - 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, e.g. Peter Jones, 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.
Vivid social history of London in one of its most dramatic and exciting periods Draws on a huge wealth of primary source material, including unpublished journals and diaries The originality of her three previous London books have been widely acclaimed ELIZABETH'S LONDON was a Sunday Times bestseller 'She is an engaging companion, always wondering out loud about the sort of questions which you've asked yourself...an enjoyable book' Philip Hensher, Spectator 'A valuable addition to the literature of London' Jad Adams, Sunday Telegraph 'Vividness is the book's aim, and this is achieved splendidly' Economist
'A highly readable account of nineteenth-century London... Picard's book is a mine of information told with great enthusiasm and passion.' EXPRESS (7/7/06) 'This is a comprehensive history by anecdote, so the enlightening facts come thick and fast... Picard enforces the idea that history really is all around us.' TELEGRAPH (8/7/06) 'Her survey of Victorian London is as enjoyably wide-ranging as her previous volumes, and her curiosity about apparent trivia resurrects the realities of the past more successfully than many more solemn works of social and political analysis do.' SUNDAY TIMES (30/7/06)