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The Day Parliament Burned Down Hardcover – 9 Aug 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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  • The Day Parliament Burned Down
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  • Mr Barry's War: Rebuilding the Houses of Parliament after the Great Fire of 1834
Total price: £33.14
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (9 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199646708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199646708
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 3.3 x 14.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 450,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Splendid. (The Victorian)

A glorious micro-history ... Shenton has a terrific eye for fine detail. (Dan Jones, Daily Telegraph)

The best and most exciting and dramatic account of the burning building since Turner's paintings. (Robert Tanitch, Mature Times)

This is a fascinating read and I commend it to colleagues in both Houses. (Lord Cormack, House Magazine)

One of the many achievements of Shenton's scholarly but gripping account is to revive, in all its intricacy and richness, the ghost of one of London's greatest lost treasures. (Rosemary Hill, The Guardian)

London's most legendary 19th century conflagration is vividly described in this book by Caroline Shenton ... This excellent social history is Shenton's first book. One hopes there will be many more, not least one about today's Houses of Parliament. (Hannah Stephenson, Liverpool Post)

Anyone with even a passing interest in politics or London history will be engrossed by this thoroughly researched, well-written and admirably unsensationalised book. (David Clack, Time Out Magazine)

Hour by hour she [Caroline Shenton] takes us through the fantastic build-up of the fire. You could have been there. (Daily Mail)

The Day Parliament Burned Down is both a gripping account of that fateful night and a wide-ranging search for its ramifications across British society. Well written and extensively illustrated, this is a book that deserves attention. (BBC History Magazine)

[Shenton's] book is deeply researched ... yet surprisingly gripping. (Andrew Holgate, The Sunday Times)

Caroline Shenton's account of its history makes for a truly remarkable read. (Charlotte Heathcote, Sunday Express)

Caroline Shenton, Clerk of the Records in the parliamentary archives, shows in her excellent book, even the wood shoved into the furnaces was the product of the stranglehold of inefficient tradition. (Jonathan Sale, The Independent)

No one has written about the burning of Parliament before , and this vivid, superbly researched book is a definitive account of one of the greatest cockups in English history. (Jane Ridley, Spectator)

The author, Clerk of the Records at Westminster, could not have been bettered as our guide to this exciting event. (Peter Lewis, Daily Mail)

The detail Shenton provides is absolutely fascinating, such as the Dean of Westminster, who refused to move the Domesday Book to safety as he had not received the Prime Minister's permission. Each chapter is headed with the successive hour of the fire, creating a wonderfully detailed and gripping read. (The Telegraph)

She has just the voice to narrate this tale, gripping the reader by the scruff as she describes the titanic struggle to save Westminster Hall and its stupendous hammerbeam roof She has written a wonderful first book. (Lucy Inglis, The Georgian)

The events of October 1834 are told in an authoritative and entertaining way by our Parliamentary Archivist Caroline Shenton in The Day Parliament Burned Down. (Keith Simpson, The House Magazine)

Caroline Shenton's writing style is a joy: She draws the reader in through the perspectives of numerous individuals, through clipped analysis and summation of contemporary written accounts, and with a hugely diverse range of sources, many of which are elegantly witty and tragical by turns ... This volume will appeal to historians, architectural historians, students of politics, social observers, and, unusually for histories, fans of a ripping yarn. (Jane Sidell, The Historian)

About the Author

Caroline Shenton is Clerk of the Records at the Parliamentary Archives in London. She was previously a senior archivist at the National Archives and has worked in and around collections relating to the old Palace of Westminster for over twenty years. Educated at the University of St Andrews, Worcester College Oxford and University College London, she is a Fellow of both the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Historical Society. This is her first book.

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