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The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 1 January 2013
This book brings Victorian London to life in an imaginative way. Of course, adding "Dickens" to the title means that it should cover only a fairly restricted time period of Victorian London life and I think it strayed outside that on a couple of occasions. A well-researched book and particularly good for those who do not have access to some of the writings of Charles Booth, William Mayhew and Engels, which also describe Victorian cities and, in particular, London.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2013
Being born on the opposite side of the River Thames to The Houses of Parliament, I greatly appreciated many of the incidents occurring in Victorian times. A ver interesting history of old London
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2014
I enjoyed this book, although the first few chapters were more concerned with the life of Dickens himself than of Victorian London, I felt. Nevertheless, there is so much information about how London was in Victorian Times that it becomes quite fascinating, and by using a different theme for each chapter, it covers a lot of ground. A real eye-opener about how things were.
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on 10 June 2014
I have always had an interest in central London having lived there for a number of years as well as now living by the Thames. This book was like a guide showing me all the parts of London that I had formally walked by. Having only read a couple of Dickens's books (and those I never finished) I thought I might be hindered, but not at all.

The book was thematically arranged covering subjects such as the roads, market life, streets sellers, the slums, the waters of death, leisure, street violence and much more. What struck me most is that Judith Flanders spoke very much to my senses. I could almost hear the noise of London, smell the stench of life (and death) as well as sense the frustration of the constant fogs and the fear of cholera that was so prevalent.

I can certainly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in London and especially anyone who travels into London every day - you might appreciate your own journey and own life much more! it is both easy and a joy to read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 September 2014
Great book if you're interested in Victorian London. A lot of interesting facts you probably don't know. The only "but" is that some chapters are not that well written, they get a bit boring. I miss more photos or images about many things that are explained there
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on 20 April 2015
This sort of book really appeals to me...how things used to be, how people used to live. The surprise in some things that are so similar to now and then the shock at things that are so difficult that you struggle to imagine them. This is a story of a place that you can see as being in the process of becoming what it is, but both it and the people who inhabited it are not modern, they are not us, although they may be on the way.

So descriptions of morning coffee houses and the street vendors that appear ubiquitous and the care needed to ensure that you had enough to eat to perform physical labour for many hours all resonate as things that you can almost picture and almost project yourself into.
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on 9 September 2013
Fascinating exhaustively researched look at life in London in the 1800s. If you don't know London well would be useful to have a map of modern London nearby to refer to. Some of the lists tend to be a bit long but the book is full of quotes from diaries and books (especially Dickens). The Kindle edition has links in the text to the sources but not the pictures and quite a few places refer to page numbers but are not linked.
One item I found interesting in the section on eating etc: waiters had to pay the owner to work there and supply cloths cutlery etc and relied on a tip of one penny a diner for their income!
Overall, fascinating, well written book.
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on 5 September 2013
I have thoroughly enjoyed dipping in and out of this very readable research of London during the life of Dickens. There are so many things that suddenly make sense. It is fun to drop the odd interesting fact into conversation and start a discussion.

The book also transforms your experience for reading Dickensian novels. My tolerance for historical fiction has dropped considerably. Especially when it is not well researched and clashes with my new knowledge. On the other hand, I had found Dickens himself quite a chore, but this book has brought new meaning to all the detail he includes in his stories.

Grab a copy and give it a go.
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on 13 October 2014
Still reading it; can't claim to have read much Dickens myself but rather more interested in history. Learnt quite a lot re things I had never thought about before including the fact that whereas nowadays we regard eating out as very expensive compared to eating it home that it was not always like that. Whereas I feel I know contemporary central London pretty well, and the films / TV depict what they like you to think the Regency and early Victorian world was like, this book gives a different view and makes you think re the incredibly changing times of road surfaces, railways, sewers and the incredible building site that it was at the time
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on 28 October 2013
I would have found it very much as Judith Flanders describes in her detailed account of life in the capital city and its environs.

I had known that there were toll gates in use at the time, but I had had no idea that they were so frequently to be found as
barriers to progress around the city. The charges were not high, but the recurring amounts made the cost of travel a major factor for London's residents.

And there is similar detail for the other factors of daily life in London. It is an impressive background to our knowledge of how Londoners lived during the 1800s.

Read, learn ... and enjoy.
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