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Restoration London: Everyday Life in the 1660s [Paperback]

Liza Picard
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

6 May 2004

Making use of every possible contemporary source - diaries, memoirs, advice books, government papers, almanacs, even the Register of Patents - Liza Picard presents an enthralling picture of how life in London was really lived in the 1600s: the 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 beliefs.

'There is almost no aspect of life in Restoration London that is not meticulously described in these 300-odd pages' Jan Morris, Independent

'This is a joy of a book. Its style is both simple and evocative...And it radiates throughout that quality so essential in a good historian: infinite curiosity' Roy Porter, Observer

'A pot pourri of the ordinary and the extraordinary, the predictable and the astonishing' Literary Review


Frequently Bought Together

Restoration London: Everyday Life in the 1660s + Dr Johnson's London: Everyday Life in London in the Mid 18th Century + Victorian London: The Life of a City 1840-1870
Price For All Three: 22.77

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New Ed edition (6 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842127306
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842127308
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 100,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Book Description

¿From poverty to pets, from medicine to magic, from slang to sex, from wallpaper to women¿s rights¿ A glorious portrait of life in London from 1660-1670 by the bestselling author of ELIZABETH'S LONDON.

About the Author

Liza Picard was born in 1927. She read law at the London School of Economics and qualified as a barrister, but did not practise. She worked for many years in the office of the Solicitor of the Inland Revenue and lived in Gray¿s Inn and Hackney, before retiring to live in Oxford. Restoration London, the result of many years¿ interest and research into London life, was her first book.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved this book, as a resource to get me started on my research into the era. I don't agree with one other reviewer that it does not give a good picture of what it was like to live in the times, for indeed I think it's the weird and wonderful quirky and every day stories that depict life for the majority.
However, the author does rely heavily on Pepys, and this is certainly not a comprehensive guide to Restoration London, but nor does it claim to be. You can tell from the size, cover and introduction that this is supposed to be an accessible, fun peek into everyday life, and that is what it is.

What it certainly is brilliant for is writers who wish to add details that will lend authenticity to the era they are writing in, this is what I originally bought it for, but I ended up enjoying it so much that I read it all in two sittings.

I would only not recommend this to you if you are looking for a meticulously researched in depth look into all walks of life/politics etc. But as an overview and an interesting read it shines.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable 6 July 2011
By Peasant TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Liza Picard aims to give us a rounded picture of life in the London of Charles II. Necessarily, there is less source material for this than for her fascinating book on Victorian London, and we hear the author's voice more. Her style is very easy to follow, and each paragraph of description is well-written and balanced. But where in "Victorian London" we found ourselves immersed in a rich soup of detail, here there is a lot more speculation, interpretation and analysis. It is a world less familar to us, too, which makes a difference. It is also true that London was different; a large, thriving city but not the extraordinary Babylon it had become by the 19th century.

For anyone who is studying the history of the period, or has an interest in social history in general, this is an excellent starting point. There is the usual blend of the blood-curdling, the scatalogical and the obscure, and Picard's accessible style brings it all together into a coherent journey through the city. Though I enjoyed it less than Victorian London I suspect that is an inevitable result of the different nature of the sources.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent social history primer for the period 15 Nov 2009
By I Read, Therefore I Blog VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Using a comprehensive range of sources (including the diaries of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn and countless papers and observations from the time), Liza Picard aims to give an introduction to life in London between 1660 and 1670 (although she also uses sources from outside these time periods where the same illuminates the period).

The book is divided into the following sections: London; Houses; Interiors; Gardens, Parks and Open Spaces; Communications, Medicine and Dentistry; Clothes, Jewellery, Cosmetics, Hairdressing, Washing etc; Housework, Laundry and Shopping; Cooking, Meals, Food and Drink; Sex; Households; Education, Literacy and Speech; Hobbies, Excursions, Family Occasions and Etiquette; Divers Events and Acts in the Law; Money, Poverty and Class; Religion and Popular Beliefs and the World Picture. Picard's research is meticulous and she succeeds in providing a flavour for each section, while the comprehensive end notes provide an excellent starting point for further research for those so inclined.

Opinion is kept to a minimal, although Picard does offer suggestions where the raw data is inconclusive. The only point where this is difficult to agree with is in the Sex section where she uses the low child mortality rate to challenge the preconception of Restoration as being rife with rumpy pumpy, when it is equally possible that the statistics of the period were inaccurate due to under-reporting (a subject that she doesn't address).

This aside, Picard's novel is an excellent resource for anyone with a passing interest in Restoration social history or anyone requiring a primer for further research in the field.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars London from 1660-1670 6 Sep 2006
By J. Chippindale TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I stumbled on Liza Picard's books quite by chance. After looking at the publishing date in some of the books it is apparent some of them have been around for several years. I am now recommending them to anyone and everyone and I am so glad I stumbled across the first one I read on a rainy afternoon, lonely and far away from home. I have now read them all.

As soon as you start to read the book it becomes apparent that the author is passionate about her subject and wants the reader to enjoy the reading experience as much as she has in the writing of it. Liza Picard presents an enthralling picture of how life in London was really lived in the 1600s: the 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 beliefs. To anyone who has not read the author's books perhaps these subjects seem boring and mundane, but they are written about with such knowledge and wit that they literally come to life in the readers imagination.

Liza Picard was born in 1927. She read law and qualified as a barrister but did not practice. Quite where she gleaned all this information from I am not sure. That it was a labour of love is obvious to anyone who reads her books and I for one am grateful.
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