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Shakespeare's Local: Six Centuries of History Seen Through One Extraordinary Pub Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Length: 367 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Book Description

A history of Britain told through the story of one very special public house

Book Description

Welcome to the George Inn near London Bridge; a cosy, wood-pannelled, galleried coaching house a few minutes' walk from the Thames. Grab yourself a pint, listen to the chatter of the locals and consider this: who else has made this their local over the last 600 years? Chaucer and his fellow pilgrims almost certainly drank in the George on their way out of London to Canterbury. Shakespeare may well have popped in from the nearby Globe for a pint, and we know that Dickens definitely did. Mail carriers changed their horses here, before heading to all four corners of Britain -- while sailors drank here before visiting all four corners of the world... The pub, as Pete Brown points out, is the 'primordial cell of British life' and in the George he has found the perfect case study. All life is here, from murderers, highwaymen and ladies of the night to gossiping pedlars and hard-working clerks. So sit back and watch as buildings rise and fall over the centuries, and 'the beer drinker's Bill Bryson' (TLS) takes us on an entertaining tour through six centuries of history, through the stories of everyone that ever drank in one pub.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2650 KB
  • Print Length: 367 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Main Market Ed. edition (8 Nov. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009WSCV2Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #52,647 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Pete Brown's history of one hugely historical London pub is a very funny, interesting and enjoyable book.
His story is not necessarily of just this pub but of Southwark itself, this relatively tiny area around the south end of London Bridge into which were forced all the people and pursuits London would not allow within its gates - and which was therefore a bubbling tub of the most fascinating and reprehensible activities. Theatre, prostitution, rebellion, brewery - if it wasn't for the disgusting industries such as soap-boiling, leather-working and lime-burning stinking the place up, surely everyone would have wanted to move there.
The book gives vivid, bustling portraits of this neighbourhood as a bottleneck beneath or needle-point up into the City of London (London Bridge was the only bridge until about the 1750s) in three very different stages. First is the rambunctious medieval Borough, carved up into chunks belonging to bishops and dukes who also owned the countless brothels. This is the mud-splattered, chaotic, lovable district that Chaucer and Shakespeare knew well, when inns were a refuge and a necessity created by the novel habit of travel. In such inns as the George, the nobleman sat (sometimes) alongside all the other members of society, a notion which bestows the opening plot device for Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Falstaff is a frequenter of such inns with reckless young Hal, and plays were performed there before they had their own permanent buildings to call home.
The second stage is the heart of the book, where we see the inn we know (very substantial by today's standards) grown to something like eight times its current size. Pete Brown gives a portrait of a huge establishment, offering within its walls almost every kind of business that a small town would need.
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Format: Hardcover
This was given to me as a Christmas present because we'd 'discovered' the George during the Twelfth Night celebrations in 2012 and couldn't believe such an historic gem was nestling so close to London Bridge station. Since then I've been keen to learn more about this amazing place and Brown's book provides the best, most entertaining and authoritative guide I can imagine. I loved his writing style, especially his more anarchic footnotes, and was entirely absorbed from cover to cover. I'm not a frequent pub goer and I'm a real cider rather than a real ale girl, but I now must read Pete Brown's other books - if they're half as good as this one, they'll be brilliant. New Year's Resolution is to go back to the George for a pint in 2013. If I see Mr Brown in his usual spot, I'll gladly stand him a drink! Cheers!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's full of interesting information about the area and the people who lived (and live) there. The author's familiarity with the reader is engaging which makes the book an even better read. He also explains the "why" as well as simply what happened in Southwark down the ages. It is much more than just a history of a particular inn.

My only criticism is that the book's illustrations do not transfer well to the Kindle. Consequently, the maps and pictures are blurred and not readable, which is a real pity as they would have put places and events in context . Better to buy the book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great journey through the metamorphasis of a wonderful old pub. It could be one of many thousands that have always been there, changing to suit their evolving communities. Brilliant read.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating local history book, all seen from a pub window.

Brown has done lots of research into the George Inn, in Southwark. There is documentary evidence for the pub being on sight in 1542 and it has bee there is one iteration or another ever since. It is suspected that it had been there before, but there is no hard evidence to prove this.

In the book he looks at the way that the function of the building has changed from pub to coaching inn and as it now owned by the National Trust, into a working historical building. There is a lot of history of the Southwark area, mainly to put the pub and inns into a better context. This was one of the main routes int London for many years, and lead to one of the few bridges that crossed the Thames, and the early maps show that the George was one of several hundred pubs in the area.

Where he can he write about the characters linked or loosely associated with the pub. The pub was in existence when Shakespeare was alive, and whilst they cannot prove one way of the other if he every frequented the place, they cannot rule it out. Some of Dickens work mentions the and neighbouring pubs, so he speculates again on his attendance.

Really good local history book, but if you are expecting lots on Shakespeare, you'll be disappointed.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book telling the tale of the George Inn in Southwark near to London Bridge, the truly last galleried Inn standing. Very informative and interesting.
As a recent visitor to this delightful Inn I am so pleased that I have had a chance to share, in my own way, in its history and look forward to returning on my next trip to London.
I would encourage anyone to read this book, as both a history lesson in general about the changing face of London and particularly Southwark over a period of 600 years.
It really brings home the need for local pubs and their importance in helping us identify ourselves in those who have gone before as well as ensuring that places such as this are kept very much alive as a social meeting place for the local community as well as the weary traveller in need of refreshment in the past, the present and the future.
The author Pete Brown, has a relaxed, amusing and informal style of writing and at times you feel like you are actually sat in the George sipping a pint of Porter with Pete telling the tale, rather than actually reading it.
A great read.
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