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88 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining read
I found Victorian London to be entertaining, full of enthusiasm for the subject full of enjoyable facts, large and small. All in all, highly enjoyable. A bit lightweight in places, but nothing wrong in that.
Yet it is exactly the same book as the reviewer from Edinburgh loathed with a passion bordering on hate. Yes, there are more serious history books available...
Published on 4 Sep 2005

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good overview
Gives you a flavour of Victorian London. Not an in depth study. Would have given four stars but she put City of London Cemetery in Ilford. It's in Manor Park Newham.
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer


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88 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining read, 4 Sep 2005
By A Customer
I found Victorian London to be entertaining, full of enthusiasm for the subject full of enjoyable facts, large and small. All in all, highly enjoyable. A bit lightweight in places, but nothing wrong in that.
Yet it is exactly the same book as the reviewer from Edinburgh loathed with a passion bordering on hate. Yes, there are more serious history books available and yes, if you are fortunate, you could go visit your local folk museum. None of which seems to warrant one of the most damning reviews I have read on Amazon.
I urge you to read the book yourself. It will tell you more about London than you could possibly imagine.
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64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining read, 1 Sep 2005
By A Customer
Liza Picard's latest book is an entertaining, pleasingly diverting history of the period, written with her usual wit and fondess for the minutiae of daily life of times past. It's full of enthusiasm for the subject, hugely readable and a mine of information about a fascinating period.
I'm somewhat taken aback by the scathing review from A Reader From Edinburgh. While I don't claim it is the greatest history book of all time, it's significantly better than the review below would lead you to believe.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Victorian London - 1840-1870 - Liza Picard, 22 Feb 2010
By 
Andrea Bowhill (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Victorian London: The Life of a City 1840-1870 (Paperback)
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 wonder. This era gives you an account of how you came to travel the underground so next time you hear that automated voice over at the station "This train is delayed, due to the previous train being delayed.. and so on" for clarification, the delay started back in the 19th century. Victorian buildings you may pass were a base from which a great idea was formed, everything is right before our very eyes, this book welcomes us back to a fascinating city.

I'm firstly going to bring everyone into the lay out and expectations when reading through. Incredibly researched, primary sources have been used but its been investigated much much further for detail. Its then I would say been divided into themed references and then themes form chapters, each broken down into many small sub-sections. Themes: Buildings, the river, the streets, working, middle, upper classes and royalty, domestic service, poverty, railway, Crystal Palace at Sydenham, Great Exhibition, health, fashions, language, food, and so on. Theme example: Under Practicalities: The postal services, subs: the stamp introduction, letterboxes, post offices when the first uniforms were worn and fashion ect ect. This builds up an image in the mind, of people, a place, an area and a sense of time in an observant way. Letters left behind of those times which is about real peoples lives, voices from all walks of life, at the workhouses, a ladies maid, the upper class as they sit down to dinner or a butler who kept a diary for a year noting his daily grind. These voices form and produce a much more vivid picture as we follow through the book.

Smell: Pick the worst smell you can think of and hold that thought because that is the odor you'll be walking around London with before a sewerage system was devised. Once the sewers were in place the book explains in detail the trails and tribulations, first problems it caused water pipes and sewers were run to close together and how the matter was resolved, the huge overhaul, which saved lives. We then go on to costs, how much to have a lavatory installed, the flush system that were put into a middle class family home. It made for a dramatic change to a bustling city and an idea used in others cities around the world.

1840 -1870 the dwellers of London were thriving with new ideas and invention during the Victorian age these were the years London was ripped apart to make way for railway lines and stations even showing the first congestion of traffic as London came to a stand still while this upheaval took place but again the outcome, it generated work or allowed people in every day life to travel to locations they had only heard of. A man named Thomas Cook set up a business venture in 1841 and made his first deal with the railways, trips were organized in groups and were made cost effective. known in those days as the Thomas Cook Excursions in 1851 he was a successful entrepreneur making it possible for people to travel far and wide, he was prepared at affordable prices to let many see with their own eyes the Great Exhibition.

Liza Picard has added a sense of humor everywhere in this book from mens latest fashion in beards and dress entire, hat problems at the opera or ladies fashion problems when getting on the omnibuses. We are also given a crash course by leaflets issued at that time on the art of fainting, corsets being tight to the point of not breathing, "make sure there's a couch behind you if you feel you must faint, we can't always rely on a gentleman to lunge and catch". The Marriage certificate was framed and used to decorate the wall at home in the 1850's...... how many would go up if that came back into fashion today?

We go into schools looking at education, we also look at religion, places for amusement, prisons, crime, punishment even death and cemeteries the information is plenty and sometimes surprising. This books recreates the industries, inventions and London life with all its many sides, splendor, misery, cruelty, vices or pleasures all the while keeping it entertaining you also have illustrations showing this extraordinary age. I can honestly say I learnt much from this book and thoroughly enjoyed every minuet. Congratulations Liza Picard has my attention and I will be looking at other books written.

Highly recommended for anyone interested in this History era

Andrea Bowhill
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History "Lite", 15 Jun 2011
By 
Simon Welch (Chiang Mai, Thailand) - See all my reviews
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Having read all four of Lisa Picard's books, this is possibly the best written, though there remains a need for some better editing; we do not need to be given the same facts more than once.

My only concern with this book is that this, as with all her books, regurgitates what she has read in her researches - my heart sank when I read "the internet" as a source in one footnote - without the professional historian's ability to critically assess and analyse. She acknowledges that some of her source material - most notably Mayhew and a self confessed Anglophobic Frenchwoman whose name I forget - was written by somebody "with an angle", but without the knowledge or skill to assess and present the material accordingly.

There is much that is of interest, but this remains "history lite", an entertaining diversion, but something for those with a deeper interest in social history. For those preferring their history "full fat" Professor Jerry White's "London In The 19th Century" is a better bet.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immensely enjoyable, 6 July 2011
By 
Peasant (Deepest England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Here is a book which treads the difficult line between popularity and erudition. It is not intended to be an academic history, yet every reader will learn a lot from it. At the same time, it is so easy to read you may well romp through it like a novel. Having read it once, you will find yourself dipping back into it at random - a good pick-me-up when bored or on a long journey, as you can read it in snippets without losing out.

Picard tackles Victorian London by themes - probably the only way to do it - and each subject will contain a mix of what we already vaguely knew from other sources, and stuff which is new. As the chapters build up we begin to absorb a many-layered picture which gives us a rich, textural understanding. For anyone studying or just fond of the Victorian novel - Wilkie Collins, Dickens, even Trollope - this background will enrich our appreciation. If you are reading more modern writers such as Sarah Waters or recent best-sellers like The Crimson Petal and the White, I think you'd find it equally fascinating.

This book will appeal to people who read non-fiction for pleasure. If you are only really interested in the novel with its plot-line and characterisation, you'll probably find it less immediately appealing. For those studying the history of the period, it will fill in a lot of gaps. Take it on its merits, rather than expecting it to be something it is not.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read, 4 Mar 2007
By 
ZM (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Victorian London: The Life of a City 1840-1870 (Paperback)
I too came across this book by chance - and found I couldn't put it down once I started reading. Unlike some other reviewers, I liked the fact that it wasn't a 'heavy' history book (not to say it doesn't provide a mine of information, however). Rather than dry analysis of the political/industrial/scientific developments of the period, everything was referred back to the impact on the people, their responses, their thoughts. It paints a rich picture of what Victorian life was like for people of all classes - which was what I was looking for.

The chapters are divided by subject area (railways, health, women, class etc) - and don't necessarily need to be read chronologically. The reviewer who found the first couple of chapters boring might have found more interest going further into the book first - the chapter on health, for example was a real eye opener.

I really like Liza Picard's style of writing. She clearly picks some anecdotes for the amusement (and astonishment) of the reader, and dots the book with her own wry observations (many of which made me giggle). This makes what is potentially a hard-going subject very easy to read. Charming, in fact.

I am delighted to find she has written about other periods - and am off to purchase them!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A joy to read, 12 Jun 2013
By 
Richard Winter (England (the old one)) - See all my reviews
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A vivid picture of the age. Beautifully written with a light but witty touch. Extremely thoroughly researched but none the less highly readable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read... thoroughly recommend, 18 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Victorian London: The Life of a City 1840-1870 (Paperback)
I bought this book as I have an interest in Victorian history. My degree was focused on Victorian history but since graduating some years ago and moving into the legal profession, this interest was put on the back burner.

I was looking for a factual read which wouldn't be too academic, as I am reading for pleasure rather than work. After reading reviews I decided to do for this one.

The book is very reader friendly and well laid out. Picard writes very well and is informative. She captures life in Victorian London and has made me think of aspects of history I wouldn't normally consider.

I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone with an interest in London history, it's a great read!

I'd definately recommend this book to anyone with an interest in London history, it's a great read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lisa Picard at her best! Easy and informative amusing book., 21 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Victorian London: The Life of a City 1840-1870 (Paperback)
I have read most of the work created on historical London by Lisa Picard and this is in my opinion one of the finest.

It provides well researched and delivered commentary and gives you both an insight and "Feeling" of how people's lives were conducted, the rigors and advantages of inhabiting and surviving in this fast evolving city.
Well worth a read, at all levels. Should be a classroom standard, as well as further reading for those interested in a detailed look at the period.
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5.0 out of 5 stars how our past really was, 8 May 2014
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This review is from: Victorian London: The Life of a City 1840-1870 (Paperback)
I really enjoyed reading of the Victorian period as it seemed then that there was a lot of very clever people about as there I today but then these people were very inventive,
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Victorian London: The Life of a City 1840-1870
Victorian London: The Life of a City 1840-1870 by Liza Picard (Paperback - 1 Jun 2006)
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