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4.8 out of 5 stars35
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 12 September 2013
I am a relative newcomer to the history of London in the Georgian period. My attempts to improve my knowledge of a city I love in that glorious period have constantly been dogged by the majority of books I've read no the subject. Certain histories have a tendency to get bogged down in detail that is so wedded to minutia that it loses the reader completely. This book has none of that. In what I consider to be an innovative approach, the author has finely drawn the narrative and almost compartmentalised London by area while telling full and comprehensive stories for each of them. It's almost like an almanac of local histories, all of which draw together to tell the full story. It's an engaging way of writing history and one that I've never before come across. The writing style too is a revelation. The author almost invites you in as a bystander to what she is seeing, and as each detail is revealed the depth of her research is plain and clear. If I have a criticism to make, it would be that each chapter seems too short and leaves you wishing she'd told you more. A wonderful read.
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on 31 December 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Lucy Inglis's book on Georgian London. Interesting, quirky, well-researched and told in an accessible style, this book brings alive the London of the 18th and early 19th century. Whether it's the tale of a lady farmer (for much of London was farmland then), a duke or a waterman, this book covers every aspect of life from those trapped in grinding poverty to the incredibly wealthy. We see how dairy farms, fruit gardens, marshland and gravel pits gave way to commerce, housing and trade all told through the lives of the people who lived there. A thoroughly engaging book.
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on 12 June 2015
I am enjoying this book so much that I recommend it to everyone. Using a light, flowing style, Ms. Inglis really brings Georgian London to life. I especially love the way she draws in characters who actually lived then and there. They are like windows into the past. The frustration of the Capper sisters with trespassers reached out to me over the centuries; I could feel the despair of Thomas Chatterton which led to his suicide.
I must admit I hurried over the part about the caged elephant as it was too upsetting. Having said that, I was also pleasantly surprised to discover that amongst the Georgians there were those who were concerned with animal welfare. I also learned from Ms. Inglis that there were at least some who treated the mentally ill humanely.
I hope that Ms. Inglis will produce more historical works. She definitely has a talent for it.
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on 22 February 2014
Really detailed, perhaps would have been improved by including maps, and a little more editing- occasionally felt as though I was being bombarded with facts. A must read, however, for anyone who loves London and is interested in the formation of the modern metropolis.
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on 25 October 2013
I have absolutely adored this fabulous book. I have lived in and around London for 25 years and learned more in this 300 pages than in all of that time. It is simply brimming with wonderful vignettes of London life and sparklingly written, with wit and erudition. It feels like being in the midst of a London-coloured firework display and the city will never be the same again for me. Treat yourself, and take this book with you as you travel round London: it's not a "read once and put on the shelf" book. Congratulations Lucy. Let's hope someone has the good sense to make this into a TV series too.
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on 1 May 2016
Lucy Inglis has launched her writing career in spectacular style with this - her first book. She writes relatively short accounts of the people, places and events in areas of London with such energy and attention to detail that the scenes jump off the page. Wonderful evocations of how each village grew, expanded and changed over this time. Her meticulous research and simple, clear writing style engrosses you page after page. She captures the villages that thrived for hundreds of years before being subsumed into the metropolis and disappeared beneath the streets and tenements that grew up everywhere. Literally on every page intimate details of Londoner's lives and events that have been brought to life from obscure records.

I loved this book and felt as if I was there in Georgian London walking around, watching, listening and even smelling what was unfolding - Inglis has a remarkable ability and should be congratulated. She chooses her areas with care - The City, Westminster, Soho, Charing Cross, Mayfair, Marylebone, The Thames, Southwark & Lambeth, Spitalfields, Whitechapel and Stepney, Hackney and Bethnal Green and ends with Islington, Hampstead and Highgate. Some well chosen pictures are placed in two sections.

Remarkable social and local history. My only three areas of criticism (which is very much nit-picking because I loved the book) is the old maps were printed too small to be readable, the last section on Hampstead and Highgate focused almost exclusively on famous individuals who lived there as opposed to the places themselves - almost I felt as if she was running out of steam and the big issue for me (and I acknowledge my subjectivity here - having a south London connection) was why when her premise is that the 'out-lying villages become part of the the conurbation of London' does she not also look south of the river - Deptford is not mentioned, Greenwich gets a cursory note and other villages - Camberwell, Lewisham, etc are ignored. That aside this is a fantastic book and a great enjoyable read.
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on 10 December 2015
This is a very informative book, as well as being enjoyable to read. It is full of fascinating facts and insights, which are made more interesting by Ms Inglis' description of some of the colourful characters who lived in London during this period - both the famous and the relatively obscure. The subject matter covered in this book is clearly huge,and Ms Inglis chooses to focus on different areas of London in turn, setting out how each changed and developed over the period under review. Unfortunately this does mean that the reader is taken both forwards and backwards in time as they journey through the city. This chronological confusion isn't helped by the fact that the book covers a wider period than just the Georgian era - effectively the whole time between the Restoration and the start of the Victorian period. Consequently it is difficult to get an overall picture of what London looked like in say, 1780, or how this differed from 50 years earlier.
However, this is a minor criticism and didn't stop me from enjoying 'Georgian London'. Ms Inglis clearly has a great love and enthusiasm for the subject and this comes across strongly and added considerably to my enjoyment when reading this book.
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on 1 October 2015
Lots of interesting facts particularly around historical details of how many well known institutions in the city began. One story of a migrant who came here, a French protestant fleeing persecution - how they got here and what happened rings similar to the current situation. I thought the book took you there to c17/18 London and you see how some things haven't changed - except of course technology and population.
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on 8 September 2013
This is a beautifully written book which thrusts the reader in amongst the ordinary people of Georgian London.Be they deranged,eccentric,licentious ,artistic or plain poverty stricken,all human life is here. The fascination is in the detail which abounds,from quaggas to sedan chairmen via Beau Brummel and brown bread ice cream.Thoughtfully illustrated without the usual cliches( H'garth's Gin lane for example) this is a must have.
This is an intelligent well researched and accessible book that doesn't resort to dumbing down but moves effortlessly through the various areas of London leaving you smelling the streets and rookeries .
As a bonus I now know what a "madge" is .Do you?Buy it.
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on 7 February 2014
Gives a picture of the cruelty of the difference between the social classes, with so much waste by some and so much need by others. All areas of London brought vividly to life portraying changes taking place in work and home.
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