Victorian London by Liza Picard

Victorian London

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 - Bazalgett...

Details Victorian London

TitleVictorian London
Release DateJun 1st, 2006
PublisherPhoenix House
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Historical, Victorian, European Literature, British Literature

Reviews Victorian London

  • Jill Hutchinson
    This book covers the mid-years of Queen Victoria's reign and they were years of dramatic change and achievement.In 1840, London was basically a pest-hole, with sewage running in the streets and fouling the River Thames, crowded and filthy slums, appalling poverty, and disease. The author shows the reader the physical reality of daily living and it is not a pretty picture. But as the century moved forward, progress was made.....flushing lavatories...
  • Marte Patel
    I enjoyed this book, although I got a little bit repetitive towards the end. The author chose to focus only on the years 1840-1870, which is definitely a good thing. Almost just the right length, with beautiful photos and a very interesting insight into Victorian London. Definitely recommended! Thanks Victoria!
  • rabbitprincess
    It's a mighty big effort to write about 30 years in the life of a city, especially one as big as London that was going through so many changes at that time. Still, Liza Picard manages to cover the essentials while packing in lots of interesting tidbits and providing her own witty commentary in places. Each chapter covers an aspect of life in London: for example, death, religion, education, and my favourite (the first chapter), smells. I was parti...
  • Margaret
    What it says on the cover. An interesting look at London during the Victorian period.Lots of useful and interesting facts.This one is going in my reference library.
  • DeAnna Knippling
    Quite the tome, densely packed with facts in a lovely, dry, straightforward tome. I will probably find more of her stuff as I expand my historical nonfiction reading.My only complaint was that there wasn't more. Whenever I came across things that I'd read more on elsewhere, I found myself going, "Oh, I hope she mentions XYZ." But of course there was space for only so much.This was very much a book about the city itself, not the world in general o...
  • T. K. Elliott (Tiffany)
    Liza Picard has achieved what many authors only dream of: to be informative, interesting, and witty. Simultaneously.Victorian London is split into chapters, each dealing with an aspect of London life, starting with Smells and ending with Death. Each chapter consists, essentially, of a long list of little snippets of information - sometimes with Picard's commentary, which is generally a joke or aside: she tends to let the information, much of whic...
  • Andrea Bowhill
    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 about the social everyday life of Londoners. For all modern day Londoners living the life no need to look down at the pavement on your daily drudge to work because after reading this book you may look up and have thoughts of enlightenment and w...
  • Rodney
    Gloriously snarky and often laugh-out-loud funny. It's so relentlessly thorough that it can seem a bit methodical at times, as she goes category-by-category telling you everything you could possibly know about one thing, sometimes with very little explanation or illustration. But sometimes, some beautiful times, her examples are so perfectly chosen and her tone so sniffy and British, that you just wilt. Won't lie, I'm half in love with her (even ...
  • Marguerite Kaye
    Liza Picard's 'London' histories are excellent, full of amazing research and recondite facts, nicely divided up into topics you can dip in and out of if you want, and very readable, and I'd highly recommend any of them as a sound first step into the city at a particular time period - a sort of jumping of block that gives you a taste for a wide range of subjects and allows you to follow up once you've got a solid grounding. Which is what I'll be d...
  • Kate
    If Guy Ritchie has one excuse to make another Sherlock Holmes movie, it is to be the filmmaker who built a scale model of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham and then blew it up. Or blew part of it up. I'd settle for a wing, and pay the twenty bucks to see it done in IMAX. 'Reclaimed', in the modern parlance, from the glass hall built for the Great Exhbition in 1851, the Crystal Palace was a Victorian Epcot Center of the ancient and prehistoric , buil...
  • Emma Rose Ribbons
    Another really solid work on the Victorian era. I'm giving it four stars because the length of the quotes really distracted me from the overall narrative and because, in the end, it didn't have that many details. It's a wonderful overview, though. I'd recommend reading it alongside other books on the period to have a true sense of life in the 19th century. While very interesting, it's not a book that stands on its own, I think.
  • John Peel
    This is a wonderful, detailed and humorous look at life in London in the earlier part of Queen Victoria's reign. It covers everything from food, clothing, education and death to health care and class. The first chapter, for example, is called "Smells"... Incredibly informative and absolutely delightful.
  • Rose Auburn
    Highly recommended. Liza Picard writes in an easy-going style which disguises the hefty amount of research. There is an element of humorous observation weaved throughout the narrative yet it does not detract from the subject matter and become comic and patronising as some of these histories are wont to do. Some very interesting facts and, despite thinking I knew a fair deal about the period, there were lots of information that was quite new to me...
  • Bettie
    home audio - this offering is smack bang in the middle of the two polemics of London in the Nineteenth Century A Human Awful Wonder of God by Jerry White and Villainous Victorians by Terry Deary.Opens with The Great Stink (1858)...This is a lovely quartet for the armchair historian; entirely readable, interesting, well researched and just the right page length. Recommended. 3* - Restoration London (1997)4* - Dr. Johnson's London: Coffee-Houses an...
  • Grigory
    I'd say it's more a book of trivia raher than investigation. The choice of authors is rather peculiar and author doesn't compare them, just selects bits she finds curious and cites. It gives an awful lot of information which perhaps could let you look like a smart aleck at a dinner conversation, for example how much could you earn collecting dog poop for a whole day, but that's all. The author is absolutely uncritical about the sources she likes ...
  • Katherine
    "Everything is terrible, life is awful, and we're all dying slowly".The vignette mode of storytelling would have been fine had the author been more balanced in her presentation of the material. As it was, it swung between mechanical and depressing. There was very little on the science, art, literature, and technology that pushed England, and the world forward into the 20th century, and by the time you finished the book you weren't thinking "what ...
  • Nancy
    While it may seem odd to give 4 stars to a book I tagged as "did-not-finish", this really is that sort of book. Ms. Picard covers a wide range of topics, some of which didn't interest me. Victorian London is not a linear read, like a novel or history book, but a collection of chapters about different aspects of Victorian life. Feel free to skip to the chapters on topics that you care about. I found the chapters on the day to day lives of people...
  • Ade
    Absolute gold! This is history as I had never read before. Liza Picard takes an era of history (in this case Victorian) and tells it with the trivia of the day. You learn huge amounts very, very quickly by her conjuring up the sights, sounds and smells of London in the time she is portraying. I cannot recommend Liza Picard books whether written or audiobooks. Am now listening to Dr Johnson's London and that is at least as good if not better.
  • Cloak88
    Victorian London 101This book gives a historical account of life in Victorian Londen spanning a large number of topics, from public works, mierrage, dressmaking, workhouses, traffic, mourning and sights to see. The information is well structured, and presented in an interesting way. Though no historical novel can ever by exhaustive, I did get the feeling that my understanding of this far flung time was greatly increased. In short: a good educatio...
  • Diana
    Another re-read of a Liza Picard social history book. I don't know why I enjoy her books so much. They just suck you in and are very entertaining for what could have been a dry history book. It's an older book and is getting to the end of being acceptable by most for research, but still very enjoyable.
  • Kayla Tornello
    This book goes into great detail about life in London during the middle years of Queen Victoria's reign. The author did a wonderful job of organizing the wide scope of material into something that made sense to the reader. I also enjoyed the author's writing tone. I appreciated her sense of humor. I will definitely be reading more books by this author!
  • Miramira Endevall
    The writing is ridiculously biased rather than investigative, but informative nevertheless. I've picked and skimmed through it without really thoroughly reading it - the author's tone bothers me. Folks working Dicken's Fair would do well to read it.
  • Katharine
    I had been enjoying this until the author Liza Picard went on a vicious tirade against MY Queen Victoria. I could just spit. I'd rip the pages out of the book and gleefully burn them but this is a library copy...
  • Cliff
    A snapshot of life in London over 30 years, from the early part of the reign of Queen Victoria to the mid part as the 'Widow of WINDSOR'. The author deals with all aspects of life from birth to death (and it was the South Western Railway that carried the coffins to Brookwood not the South Eastern). The reader can learn about the difficulties of wearing a crinoline - how did the wearer climb to the top deck of a horse bus - and the advantages - ve...
  • Sarah Hearn
    A really fascinating - and quite amusing in places - account of life in Victorian London in the midd,e years of the 19th Century. I have read Ms Picard’s book on Elizabethan London, which was also interesting, but perhaps because the Victorian Era is closer to our own, I found this book more enthralling. The only drawback was the lack of a good, readable map. The maps as end-papers are only of the Belgravia-Kensington-Hyde Park area so are of n...
  • Kris
    FINALLY! I'M FINISHED!I scream this in text because it took me FIVE MONTHS to get through this book. I never take this long on a book - unless I'm writing it.That being said, this is not a bad or boring book. It's incredibly interesting and informative, researched beyond compare, answering questions I didn't know I was going to ask, and leaving me with plenty more I want to look into an research further. It's just SO DENSE. SO DETAILED to the poi...
  • Aaron Eames
    Part of her series of London-based historical field-guides, Picard acts as your cicerone to the (early-to-mid-) Victorian capital. Thematic chapters explore the environs and denizens of the then industrial city par excellence. A superb section on The Great Exhibition of 1851 makes the read worthwhile for its own sake. It sometimes feels like Picard is marshalling facts rather than shepherding us tourists but she is supremely at home with her subj...
  • Theresafic
    Well-researched and informative book. It’s a book with the huge and unwieldy task of discussing all aspects of life in a city and all of its inhabitants. It didn’t just concentrate on rich people and their servants or royalty, but all who lived in the city.Liza does a good job at balancing all of the balls and moves at a brisk pace. A book this informative an become just numbers or dry or repetitive, she kept it moving along and interesting. ...
  • Kornelija
    Loaded with facts and various insights on daily life in mid 19th century London. Loved that bit. On the other hand almost all 23 chapters would be end without a proper summary, or any kind of closure. From time to time seemed to lack a story line, even on a chapter level as those are divided per topic.
  • Perry Wolfecastle
    Victorian London is an amazing academic work, but it is not just for academics. Historians will get loads from this book. So too would a writer looking for context to set their work in. Anyone with a slight interest in Victoriana would find worth in this book. Besides which, it's a good read even without a need for the historical knowledge contained within.