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The Journal of a Georgian Gentleman: The Life and Times of Richard Hall 1729-1801 [Kindle Edition]

Mike Rendell , Richard Hall
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 272 pages
  • Word Wise: Enabled
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Book Description

The historical value and interest of diaries is not so much in their accounts of great historical events but in their ability to convey the quality - the sights, smells and textures - of everyday life that would otherwise be lost to us. It is everyday life that abounds in the diaries of Richard Hall, a sometimes pious Baptist haberdasher who kept shop at one end or other of the old London Bridge through much of the late eighteenth century. He recorded what he ate, what he purchased, how he slept and above all what the weather was like in near obsessive detail. He charts the hurly-burly of family life - he had two marriages and numerous children - his sometimes tumultuous relationship with his church, and his boundless curiousity about almost everything - from astronomy to the latest fashions.

His great-great-great-great grandson, Mike Rendell, has meticulously sifted through the rich treasure trove of Richard's papers to present us with an engaging portrait of a flawed but thoroughly likeable 'Georgian gentleman'.

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Product Description

About the Author

Born in Bristol, Mike Rendell read Law at Southampton University. After graduation he joined a Bristol law firm where he was to launch the UK s first 24/7 conveyancing service. He contributed regular articles on conveyancing to legal journals and wrote a weekly legal advice column in the local press. He retired in 2003 and now lives with his second wife Philippa, primarily in Ashburton, and also Spain, where he tends his garden of olives, pomegranates and citrus fruits. He has two children by his first wife. He is currently woking on a novel set in Georgian England as well as on a collection of 'Letters from España', detailing the quirkiness of life in rural Spain.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2944 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A3EY1TO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #61,937 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

When I retired to live in Spain people said 'You must be bored - what do you DO?'. The answer is 'I retreat to the 18th Century'.There I have a fascinating world created by my 4 x Great grandfather, based on his diaries, his jottings, his accounts - even his shopping lists and paper cut-outs. I eat with his cutlery; I sit on his chairs; and I decided it was time I wrote up his life story. I have written it because I believe history should be about everyday life - not about Kings and Queens (I don't really get invited to Court and have never met any royalty). I am not interested in wars won and battles lost (never been in the Armed Forces, nor taken part in any battles, thank goodness). And what came across to me is that while the centuries may change, life's problems remain the same. We have to cope with health problems, bereavement, relationships, money concerns - all the things which faced my ancestor 250 years ago. Do we learn from what went before? Probably not, but it can be great fun visiting someone else's life, in someone else's century.
When I am not living in Spain (which is where I do most of my writing) I stay at Ashburton in the U.K. (on the edge of Dartmoor) near a beautiful and ever-changing river.
What reviewers have said:
'What fascinates about this book and its clever presentation is its straight forwardness'
Author Mike Rendell has done what many have dreamed of doing before him, he has traced his roots and made its history sing'
'This fine presentation is an example of a book being as good as its cover'
(Review for euVue by Seamus Doran)

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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, informative, amusing social history 12 July 2011
Format:Hardcover
A solid debut by lawyer-turned-historian, Mike Rendell. The author has taken the copious diaries, lists and other ephemera of his ancestor and ordered them into an entertaining narrative which gives you a firm understanding of everyday life of a middle-class businessman on the up during the mid-Georgian period. Rendell succeeds wonderfully at teasing out the personality of his subject, Richard Hall, a God-fearing fellow much exercised by the weather, his own health and dozens of other topics, many trivial, some of great moment. One gets a clear sense of the cost of living, long distance coach travel, decorating one's home, quack medicine, servants and schooling, the precariousness of family life, and so on: social history at its best. The book is richly illustrated and has excellent appendices.

The Journal of a Georgian Gentleman: The Life and Times of Richard Hall 1729-1801
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A much needed niche filler 13 Feb. 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book fills an empty niche in the understanding of the Georgian era; there are books on the underworld and books on the political history and books on the glittering society of court. This however is a very full journal of the doings of a fairly ordinary gentleman who had his ups and downs, who marvels at earthquakes and astronomical phenomena and who leaves us a detailed record of the weather, even if the detail that the chamber pot froze might be a little more information than we might have bargained for..... dealing with his manifold health problems with traditional cures, the little vicissitudes and too the joys of life give us an insight into Everyman of the time; how the political situation of the Seven Years War is only of interest in terms of the fact that the price of bread will rise for example. This is a wittily written and compassionate delving into Mr Rendell's ancestor's most private life, beautifully illustrated with both facsimiles of original documents and ephemera and the clever paper cut-outs of Richard Hall's daughter Patty. The two appendices are divided clearly and are well set out; this is a must have book for the student of the era.
I witheld one star because I should have liked to have seen a couple of other appendices - one on the weather set out in a chart, and one on the price of everything written out on a chart. I am however very demanding!
Written by Sarah, Simon's wife, recipient of the book
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Journal of a Georgan Gentleman 11 Feb. 2011
By Jo
Format:Hardcover
A great insight into life as a gentleman in Georgian times. Taken from journals written in this era, this book is both informative and entertaining telling the reader not only about Richard Hall's daily life but also showing you a very personal and sometimes amusing account of it. Really well written and researched. An enjoyable book which is made easy to read by the good humored author and the lovely pictures thoroughout. Thoroughly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Swiftly delivered, interesting and well written! 23 Mar. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The author has family reasons for writing, but he has actually succeeded in producing a history that is very readable today. One can read it either as serious social history, or as a fascinating and entertaining human commentary.

Who should read it? Everyone interested in London and Londoners!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lively and readable social history 16 Feb. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What I like about this book is the balance of the personal with the wider historical context. Mike Rendell not only does a great job of bringing his ancestor's journals to life (avoiding any tedium or descent into matter that would only be of interest to immediate family). But he has also done a staggering amount of research into Georgian life in general, and sets the details of Richard Hall's life within the social and political history of the time. He does this in a lively, often humorous, and very readable way. This book is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in the 18th century.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Georgian Gem 31 Jan. 2015
Format:Hardcover
This is my kind of book - a wonderful account of the life of haberdasher Richard Hall, by his descendent Mike Rendell. What I love about this book is the minutiae of a life lived quietly in all its detail – Richard was a compulsive list-maker and so we get gems such as lists of how to pronounce words (Dictionary = ‘dixnary’, Sherrif = ‘shreeve’, Birmingham = ‘brummijum’), recipes, snippets of news and prices of goods and journeys. We also get photographs of fascinating documents and material objects such as an ivory aide memoire and dozens of exquisite paper-cut outs. Even better, Mike weaves a light-hearted and fascinating social commentary through the decades, from the 1720s to 1790s, evoking the smells of London streets, technical developments and family history. At times poignant, at others truly hilarious, this is a boon to any historical writers who wants to follow the changes in an ordinary man’s life through the eighteenth century.
On a practical note, I am so pleased I bought the paperback and not the kindle version, as it’s the sort of book I like to make pencil notes in
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Journal of a Georgian Gentleman 19 May 2014
By Flossie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am particularly interested in Georgian history and was very pleased to see this journal of the life of a well to do shop owner of the 18th century. The background history to the times given by the descendant of the gentleman is extremely well written and very informative. An extremely easy and informative read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Journal of a Georgian Gentleman 9 Feb. 2011
Format:Hardcover
This book was a really good read - factual, interesting, humerous and giving a good insight to life in the years l700-1800. There were lots of facts, figures and lists and you might ask how this could be so interesting - it just was - very well written and obviously well researched by the author.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Lucky Mike Rendell !
Fascinating details of the life of the kind of 18th ancestor we would all love to uncover.
Published 25 days ago by Groat
5.0 out of 5 stars unputdownable
It's rare these days to come across a book that's hard to put down but this is one. The diaries, notes, lists and other accounts left behind by Richard Hall give a fascinating... Read more
Published 26 days ago by Karen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Very interesting read! I am fascinated by just how people lived And what their daily lives were like in georgian times and this was fascinating
Published 5 months ago by mayoo
5.0 out of 5 stars History as it should be told
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. History is about people like you and me and this book confirms the fact. Read more
Published 6 months ago by jellyfish
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a journal
Whilst I found this an interesting book, I was disappointed that it was not, as the title might suggest otherwise, the journal of Richard Hall, but a few extracts from his journal... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Lyma
5.0 out of 5 stars unexxpectedly excellent
absolutely fascinating and well written. It's an insight into the life and time which could not have been obtained any other way - but so well done that it grips your attention... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Corven
5.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a Bore but fascinating all the same
Richard Hall was a fairly ordinary sort of chap who started out in life less well off than he might of been save for the South Sea Bubble. Read more
Published 21 months ago by chel
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable way to learn about Georgian life.
A fascinating, very readable, often amazing and amusing insight into the everyday life of one family set in the context of the time.
Published on 17 Mar. 2013 by cjm
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