Customer Reviews

48
4.4 out of 5 stars
The Day Parliament Burned Down
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:£9.74+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2013
I heard about this book watching a lecture given on TV by the Clerk of Parliament, and I admit I thought, well it will be an interesting read but no more. But I was greatly surprised.
Of, course, it is never possible to relive an event properly; but Dr Shenton has come close with this book. I loved it so much I could barely put it down. The tensions were kept up to the end. And unlike other books which touch this event, she stopped before they began rebuilding, thus keeping the suspense. Brilliant.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Fascinating account of Parliaments conflagration in 1834 and its ultimate rebirth as the Gothic masterpiece we know so well.
It covers the events in both real life accounts as well as the socio economic events that surrounded it, including how the area around parliament was considered a slum, far removed from the multi million pound houses of today.
It gives you evidence on how the fires started, whether it was an accident or deliberate arson, leaving it up to you to decide what caused it, and tells you the story of its creation, from the competition to create it to the actual building as well as the events that surrounded its creation.
It also covers events around the country too and uses this to paint a picture of the time.
All in all its a very interesting book and one that is a good addition to the history book shelves and for those with an interest in Parliament.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 18 October 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book is a very detailed, thorough and precisely written account of an incident that is very little known about. It could have been a dry, academic exercise but it is a highly engaging and readable piece of work.

Shenton delivers a strong narrative whilst ensuring that a lot of careful research is clearly (but unobtrusively) presented. All too often, research can dominate but the balance here is just right.

Very few people will have any idea of the events covered here - and Shenton's book is a fascinating exploration of the building, the people and the circumstances of a fire that changed the public face of our democracy.

A unique and well-written piece of historical writing from someone with a real passion and insight into her subject.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2013
This is a thoroughly researched history, but also surprisingly perhaps, very engaging and entertaining. It uses the exceptional event of the fire that destroyed the Houses of Parliament in 1834 to tell a wider story about society and politics in the early nineteenth century. The fire attracted vast interest and fascination at the time, with people who later became famous in their own right, such as Dickens, Turner, Constable, the inventor of the fire extinguisher and the father of modern firefighting all being drawn in to the story of the events that unfolded that night. The characters are entertainingly drawn and I found myself drawn in more and more. Do read it - it isn't a dry academic tome, but an entertaining read from start to finish.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 1 October 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
October 16 1834
It will be a few minutes until night time a few minutes past 6.
Mrs Mullencamp is returning from an errand and sees a flickering light under the North door of the Lords Chamber."Oh Good God" she screamed"The House of Lords is on fire"
So it began,the fight to save the House now well alight and glowing.
This is a well resourced book,skilfully written and a step by step account of the happening.It gives rise to rumours-was it an accident-arson-careless builders or divine judgement on politicians.
An excellent read but maybe more for men than women.
I received this book free through Amazon Vine Programme
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 16 April 2013
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
We have been blessed with a lot of excellent non-fiction books in the last year or so and, in my opinion, The Day Parliament Burned Down by Caroline Shenton is one of the best of this batch. Indeed, this book has recently been named as the 'Political Book of the Year', beating offerings from the likes of Alastair Campbell and Nick Robinson - and quite rightly so! Unbelievably - this is her first book.

Caroline Shenton gives us an hour by hour account of the fateful day, and night, of Thursday 16 October 1834, when the Houses of Parliament was destroyed by fire, but of course she is telling us more than just the when, why and how of this momentous event. The book is packed with fascinating detail of the history of British government, its personalities, systems and customs as well as its architecture.

My experience is that this is a book that begs to be read twice, once for the sheer brilliant story-telling and then a second go to cross-reference all those amazing facts and figures Ms Shenton weaves in to this rich tapestry.

Absolutely excellent - I do hope Ms Shenton follows up this book with one on the rebuilding of Parliament, now that would be a saga worth writing about too!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a well researched and extremely readable account of the fire on 16th October, 1834, which resulted in the burning of Parliament. The book begins with a history of the buildings, the first House of Commons and the way it was added onto and grew as more space was needed. Rather than improving the House, it led to increasing rebuildings which led to a rickety and uncomfortable tinder-box which was cramped and almost unfit for purpose. Indeed, suggestions had already been made to rebuild the entire building, but it was considered a national monument and a suggested move was also rejected as too radical.

The author does a brilliant job of unravelling the day of the fire. The reasons why it happened, why it was allowed to burn for so long until the alarm was raised and how is was discovered. The Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, called the event, "one of the greatest instances of stupidity on record", as it was obvious that the fire had been burning for some time before firefighters even began to tackle the blaze. Information on early firefighting is fascinating and the author's use of extracts from letters and newspaper articles make the events seem almost immediate. You almost feel you are watching the events unfold as dispatches are sent to inform the country about the news and rescuers take huge risks to save the precious items and historic records, with official papers being hurled from the windows into the streets below.

As spectators gathered to watch the flames, we read of the fear of the 'mob' in a time which had recently witnessed the French Revolution and, closer to home, riots around the time of the Great Reform Act. Later, the author discusses the extent of the devastation and plans for rebuilding the Houses of Parliament. Some MP's were pragmatic about events, with some certainly feeling that now there was "no choice on the subject" events would have to move on regardless. Overall, this is a thrilling and exciting read, with a real sense of personal loss and involvement amongst the national tragedy. Well written, informative, excellent research and an interesting manner make this history book anything but dry. Highly recommended.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2012
This is a gripping story, compellingly told by Caroline Shenton. The books advances the idea that the night of the 16 October 1834 was one of the most remarkable forgotten calamities of British history, where the work of forgetting began almost the morning after the fire. The book details from extensive archival research what happened on an hour by hour, sometimes minute by minute, basis as the Medieval Palace of Westminster, with its connected state buildings, chapels, and houses, was destroyed by an accidental fire. The book tells the story, but it also gracefully opens up the implications of the loss and the relevant back stories: not least in the destruction of parliamentary records and the destruction of the celebrated Armada Tapestries and Painted Chamber. Human stories--all too human, sometimes--emerge, as does one marvellous canine story. One of the shocking revelations of the book is how ordinary people could have stopped the fire had they thought more about what they were doing. A rigid adherence to a hierarchy of command--'I am only doing what I was told to do'--is part of the problem, together with simple incompetence and, it maybe, actual senility. A telling, gripping story of what seemed to some commentators a divine comment on the passing of the Great Reform Act in 1832, and to others an opportunity to construct a purpose-built Parliament for new times.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 December 2013
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Before seeing this book I had no idea that parliament was destroyed by fire in 1834, and I'm sure that fact was never mentioned at school. I blame the teachers.

Caroline Shenton has done an excellent and mostly very readable job of telling the story, although I do agree with some other reviewers about her sometimes getting bogged down in detail that might perhaps have been left to an appendix. In addition to being a very thorough account of the fire, how it was tackled, and its effects, the book sets the event in context. It was a time of great social and political change, and I was struck by how the politicians of the day were every bit as contemptuous and fearful of the public as the scoundrels we have today. As with all good history books, once the reader is immersed it becomes almost like an account of current events, gripping and intensely interesting.

This is the first work of Ms Shenton's that I've read, and certainly she's an author I'll look out for. I can confidently say that if you're interested enough in The Day Parliament Burned Down to read reviews of it, you will enjoy it.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Personally I didn't even know that in October of 1834, Parliament became a huge fireball, witnessed by thousands, thinking instead the Gunpowder plot to be the only real drama in Westminster's history, which just shows how this dramatic event has faded from memory.
Shenton's book is a meticulously researched piece that does what all great history books should do, make the period 'live' without resorting to melodrama or wild speculation.
Not only does her work summon the political and social mood of the country at the time, but it also shows how, for Britain, the destruction of the ramshackle collection of buildings that made up Parliament, and its replacement by a new ordered building, also ushered in a much more modern idea of how a government should operate.
It's all told in a lively, passionate narrative style, but one that rings with authenticity rather than exaggeration.
For anyone interested in British history, or are intrigued by this forgotten event's significance to modern government, will be informed and entertained by this book.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Parliament and its Buildings (Shire Library)
Parliament and its Buildings (Shire Library) by Richard Tames (Paperback - 10 Sept. 2012)
£6.99
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.