You're nearly old enough to be dead, aren't you, Grandma? If teachers keep asking you questions, does that mean they don't know much? Compiled by former school inspector Gervase Phinn, these best-selling collections of children's disarming observations and impossible-to-answer questions prove Phinn's point that 'on the whole', children are an amazing source of amusement and wonder.
The Water Road
A Narrowboat Odyssey Through England
From the Thames and the Grand Union Canal, Paul Gogarty's journey followed a 900-mile circuit taking in the Bridgewater Canal, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the Aire and Calder Navigation. This travel diary explores the history of the network and the wildlife and landscape observed along the route as well as charting his personal journey through the enchanted world of the waterways.
Bandaging the Blitz
Phyll Macdonald-Ross was a trainee nurse at Hackney Hospital in London’s East End when war was declared in September 1939. Her memoir recalls the rigid discipline and hard work of nursing, and the harrowing experience of tending the injured and dying during the Blitz in London, but also friendship and mischief, and the beginning of a lifelong love affair. The story was presented in 2015, Phyll’s 95th year, by her granddaughter ID Roberts.
Movie Star Chronicles
A Visual History of the World's Greatest 320 Movie Stars
From Amy Adams to Catherine Zeta-Jones, this book profiles over 330 of the most famous names in cinema. Including idols of the silent era as well as today's biggest box-office draws, each biography provides an appraisal of the actor's career, including television and directorial credits, with film stills and a colour-coded timeline charting key performances and awards. The alphabetical listings are interspersed with feature articles on significant themes and picture spreads celebrating some of the best-known stars.
The Secret Life of Bletchley Park
The WWII Codebreaking Centre and the Men and Women Who Worked There
Bletchley Park's cracking of the Enigma code helped win the Second World War. At this isolated country house, factory workers, debutantes, students and Wrens worked alongside Britain's most brilliant minds in conditions of the utmost secrecy. Here, for the first time, they tell their stories - visits by top brass, concerts by world-class musicians, furtive romances in country lanes - and reveal the intensity of life in this extraordinary community.
Waterways of Britain
From historical milestones, such as the Barton Aqueduct of 1761, to modern engineering marvels, such as the Falkirk Wheel, the canal network has much of interest to enhance the pleasures of boating through picturesque countryside. This exploration of Britain's waterways includes maps, facts and figures, historical notes on the navigations, hundreds of contemporary photographs and detailed information on places of interest along each route.
Off the Map
Lost Spaces, Invisible Cities, Forgotten Islands, Feral Places, and What They Tell Us About the World
In the world of Google Earth, it is easy to believe that every inch of the planet has been mapped. Happily, this is not true. This book ranges the globe to celebrate the anomalies that still frustrate the cartographer: islands that never existed; abandoned settlements; a secret military town in Russia; and renamed cities whose old identity clings like a ghost. A rich evocation of the strangeness of place, and a must for all map-lovers.
The King's Revenge
Charles II and the Greatest Manhunt in British History
After the beheading of his father Charles I in 1649, the 19-year-old Prince of Wales vowed to seek revenge and, from exile, instigated the biggest manhunt in British history. The search lasted over 30 years, with show trials and assassination squads scouring the country for the men who dared to sit in judgement of King Charles. Following the hunt in this fast-paced historical narrative, the authors tell an engrossing tale of intrigue, espionage, ambition and betrayal.
The Megalithic Monuments of Britain and Ireland
This concise, richly illustrated book provides an authoritative introduction to the very wide range of British and Irish Neolithic monuments – from around 6,000 years ago to the beginning of the Bronze Age around 1,700 years later. The book is divided into chapters on Scotland, England and Wales, and Ireland, and another devoted to Avebury and Stonehenge; and it covers a tremendous range of structures, including stone circles, chambered tombs, burial mounds, earthworks, henges and cursus monuments.
Bradshaw's Continental Railway Guide
1853 Railway Handbook of Europe
‘The rigid regulations of the Continental Police, and the Passport custom, are the two greatest annoyances experienced by English travellers on the Continent.’ No intrepid Victorian would have ventured across the Channel without heeding the advice of Bradshaw’s guide. Packed with railway timetables, hotel recommendations, maps, period advertisements and practical information, this new, large-format version of the 1853 edition, as featured in the TV series Great Continental Railway Journeys, recreates an age when rail travel was an adventurous novelty.
Founding Father of the Tudor Dynasty
A Welsh nobleman, Owen Tudor married Catherine de Valois, Henry V’s widow, but in secret – it was prohibited for the widowed queen to remarry – and their sons were born in secrecy. Edmund, the elder of two, died fighting Yorkists in Carmarthen in 1456 and three months later, his young wife gave birth to a son, Henry Tudor, the future king. This study covers Owen’s extraordinary life and legacy, from his ancestry to his execution after the battle of Mortimer’s Cross in 1461.
Beauty in Desolation
Why do some cities, towns and villages fall into disuse and ruin? This book explores the world’s lost settlements: the remains of ancient Greek and Roman, Aztec and Inca cities, gold-rush ghost towns and abandoned Soviet troop stations, and sites devastated by natural or man-made disasters. The photographs capture the strange beauty of these deserted places, whether rusting industrial hulks or crumbling ruins disappearing, like the Khmer temples in Cambodia, under encroaching jungle.
The Kingmaker's Daughter
The Cousins' War
Daughter of the most powerful noble in 15th-century England, Warwick the ‘Kingmaker’, Anne Neville finds herself alone, widowed at 14, fatherless and stripped of her inheritance. Even when she marries Richard of Gloucester – the future Richard III – danger follows her.
The UFO Files
The Inside Story of Real-Life Sightings
From the ‘foo fighters’ that accompanied aircraft during the Second World War, through episodes such as the Roswell incident, the flying saucer sighting by RAF personnel at Farnborough in 1950 and the phenomena seen by radars at RAF Lakenheth-Bentwaters, to crop circles and alien abductions, this book examines the most impressive UFO stories of last century and weighs the claims of alien craft against the evidence as recorded in the Ministry of Defence files.
Painting with Acrylics
A professional artist working in natural history, Ian Coleman provides a detailed guide for the beginner, introducing the brush skills and core techniques for working with acrylic paints. The book emphasizes the potential of this versatile medium and demonstrates eleven classic techniques, describing the effects each type of painting can achieve and using careful step-by-step illustrations and explanations as each subject is built up from sketch to finished painting.
The Potter's Hand
In 1774, Josiah Wedgwood embarks on a 1,000-piece china service for Catherine the Great, sending his son Tom to America to buy clay. Swept up in the American rebellion, the young man falls for a Cherokee woman.... This thrilling novel explores the lives of one of Britain's great entrepreneurial families in a saga of love, ambition and opium addiction.
A Picture of Life in the 1920s
London in the 1920s was a contrasting mixture of bright young things and down-and-outs, motor cars and horse carts, new mansion blocks and old slums. This fascinating collection of archive photographs is selected from the publication Wonderful London which included images by some of the best photographers working in the city at the time, including EO Hoppe and Donald McLeish, and the book records the working life of the metropolis as well as public events and entertainments.
Medieval imagination in Chester Cathedrals
Myths, Misericords, Miracles, Monsters, Mystery Plays, Midsummer Watch and the Green Man
The quire of Chester Cathedral boasts a fine group of intricately carved wooden misericords, which date from 1380 and depict pagan legends and mythical creatures alongside stories of Christian piety. This gazetteer of the carvings reproduces a unique set of Victorian photographs, together with information on the content of each image and its connections to medieval beliefs, symbolism and traditions.
Beauty in Desolation
What is left when humanity has moved on? Across the world, ruined churches, derelict theatres, rusting fairgrounds, corroding factories, empty houses and dusty shops with nothing to sell are slowly being reclaimed by nature. The stunning photographs and thought-provoking text in this book explore the eerie afterlife of buildings abandoned through war, natural disaster, or economic change. From California to Chernobyl, from Antarctica to Japan, these forgotten places embody the melancholy beauty of dereliction.
The Rise and Fall of the Supersonic Airliner
Conceived amid the technological optimism of the space age, Concorde seemed an inevitable step towards routine supersonic and even inter-planetary travel. Drawing on archive material and interviews, Jonathan Glancey's account of its history explains how international rivalries, the oil crisis and Boeing's Jumbo Jet all played a part in Concorde’s ultimate commercial failure. The book also analyses the uneasy Anglo-French partnership that produced one of the greatest achievements in aviation history.
Pilates Made Easy
From the Number One Women's Health Magazine
For those who want to practise Pilates regularly at home, this easy-to-follow guide provides a safe and effective programme suitable for all ages and all levels of fitness. There are concise instructions accompanying step-by-step photographs that demonstrate every exercise in beginner, intermediate and advanced workouts. The book includes a pull-out visual guide to use during a workout – to see at a glance what comes next.
From ancient Greece and Rome and the poems by Sappho, Horace and Ovid, to the early years of the 20th century and such memorable lines as WB Yeats’s ‘Tread softly because you tread on my dreams’, this Collector’s Library anthology contains some of the greatest love poetry ever written, arranged chronologically, with an introduction and short biographies of the poets.
Field Guide to Insects of Britain and Northern Europe
This pocket volume focuses on the most visible, widespread and identifiable insect species that occur in Britain and adjacent parts of Europe. The selection covers the whole range of insect orders, and enables the identification of around 1,000 insects. With over 700 colour photographs and additional illustrations, and details of distribution, habitat and behaviour, this book is a practical and accessible guide to the enormous variety of insects in the region.
There Must be Evil
The Life and Murderous Career of Elizabeth Berry
In 1887, Elizabeth Berry, a young widow employed as a nurse at the Oldham workhouse, became notorious throughout the country, having murdered her own daughter; and there were suspicions surrounding another death - that of Elizabeth’s mother. Here, the celebrated crime author Bernard Taylor investigates the disturbing life of Elizabeth Berry and concludes that, although she was indicted for a single murder, she was in fact a cold-blooded serial killer.
The Cat and the Birds
and Other Fables
VS Vernon Jones's translation of Aesop's fables, with striking black and white illustrations and silhouettes by Arthur Rackham, was originally published in 1912. Drawing on that earlier edition, this little book from the British Library presents more than 70 tales, including many lesser-known fables as well as favourites such as 'The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing' and 'The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse'.
An Earthly Paradise
The Suffolk town of Southwold is a nostalgic place of childhood memories and colourful beach huts. It has attracted artists and writers for centuries, and inspired William Morris to write his epic poem The Earthly Paradise. Illustrated with hundreds of paintings, this collection of essays, first published in 2006, takes the reader through the town's evolution from a medieval fishing community, prosperous enough to build a magnificent church, to its modern role as a popular yet unspoilt holiday destination. Revised edition.
Royal Love Stories
The Tales Behind the Real-Life Romances of Europe's Kings and Queens
From the undying love of Peter I for Ines de Castro in medieval Portugal, to the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 21st-century Britain, Gill Paul tells the stories of 14 royal romances. With portraits of the lovers and details of their historical backgrounds, the book describes some of the most famous love matches in history – including Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette, Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine, and Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson.
The Seymours of Wolf Hall
A Tudor Family Story
Originating in France, the Seymour family accompanied William the Conqueror to England and served the crown for generations; but came to prominence in the Tudor era. Jane was Henry VIII's third queen and mother to Edward VI, and her brothers Edward and Thomas rose to high office, only to end their lives at the executioner's block. The two brothers are the main focus in Loades's study of the rise and fall of the family and their ancestral home at Wolfhall, Wiltshire.
The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel
Elizabeth Siddal (1829-1862) rose from the obscurity of a Southwark slum to become one of the most famous faces in Victorian Britain, her features immortalized as Millais's doomed Ophelia and Rossetti's Beata Beatrix. Yet Lizzie Siddal, model for the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and wife of Rossetti, was an artist (Ruskin was her patron) and a poet in her own right. This biography takes Lizzie out of her husband's shadow, describing a woman who ran counter to Victorian convention, yet became a Victorian ideal, and whose life of emotional turmoil ended in suicide.
The History of England From James I to the Glorious Revolution
Part three of Peter Ackroyd’s much-acclaimed History of England begins in 1603 with Sir Robert Carey’s ride from London to Edinburgh to proclaim James VI of Scotland ‘King of England, France and Ireland’. With an eye for the telling detail, Ackroyd evokes the lives of people - kings and commoners - as he follows the turbulent course of Stuart history, through the Civil War, Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth and the Restoration to the arrival of another foreign ruler - William of Orange - to the English throne.
The Green Roads of England
Starting at the 'central gathering ground' at Avebury, Cox's guide covers all the ancient roads of England, following the Stone Age ridge roads of southern England, describing, with the help of maps, plans and illustrations, the hill forts and other earthworks found along them and discussing other aspects of neolithic civilization. Facsimile edition.
The Sherlock Holmes Miscellany
Reflecting on the appeal of Sherlock Holmes in 1946, the editor of The Baker Street Journal described Conan Doyle's creation as 'Galahad and Socrates, bringing high adventure to our dull existences and calm, judicial logic to our biased minds'. For fans old and new, this little book is full of all things Holmesian - from Sidney Paget's original illustrations in The Strand to Benedict Cumberbatch's modern interpretation of the great detective.
The Mythology of Richard III
John Ashdown-Hill was a founder member of the Looking for Richard Project, committed to finding Richard's burial place and excavating the true history of the king's life and reign from the mire of myth and legend. In this book he sets about exploring and exposing the portrayal of Richard as monster and murderer by the Tudors; the legends created by writers such as Shakespeare; and the modern Ricardian mythologies perpetuated by a lack of research and the profit motive.
The Sunne in Splendour
A Novel of Richard III
Presenting Richard III as a man more sinned against than sinning, Sharon Penman’s classic novel was written from the conviction that ‘history is rewritten by the victors’, and it served Henry Tudor’s purpose to have Richard portrayed as a soulless monster. Set amid the Wars of the Roses, the novel follows Richard from childhood, through battles, love and the treachery of court politics, to his death on Bosworth Field. This 30th-anniversary edition includes some revisions and a new author’s note.
Stella Rimington’s compelling thriller tells the story of MI5 officer Liz Carlyle who is posted to Northern Ireland, where she uncovers a plot against the resident security forces. As the intrigue unravels, Carlyle finds that all the obvious suspects, as well as her partner, are vanishing.
Jang Jin-Sung was one of North Korea’s most senior counter-intelligence officers, a member of Kim Jong-Il’s inner circle, with all the privileges that entailed. Yet he could not ignore the disparity between his own life and the lives of the people he saw starving in the street. In this harrowing first-hand account, he describes the inner workings of the secretive state, and recounts his own daring escape across a frozen river into China to freedom in the West.
The Old Straight Track
Its Mounds, Beacons, Moats, Sites and Mark Stones
Published in 1925, this book elaborated Alfred Watkins's theory of 'ley' lines, first put forward in his Early British Trackways. Based on his fieldwork in Herefordshire, Watkins's surmise was that the straight lines crossing Britain were ancient alignments with marked points, used for navigation by Stone Age man.
The story of two sisters and their young brother growing up in a riverside town in India ('but it might as easily have been a river in America, in Europe, in England, France, New Zealand or Timbuctoo'), Rumer Godden's novel echoes her own fondly remembered childhood in Bengal - apart from the tragedy that befalls these fictional siblings. The book, first published in 1946, includes a preface by the author.
Having revolutionized air travel in the 1930s, the Douglas DC-3 was adapted so successfully for military use that General Eisenhower identified it as one of the four most important pieces of equipment of the Second World War (along with the Jeep, the bulldozer and the 2½ ton truck). This large-format volume tells the story of the groundbreaking airliner and is extensively illustrated with archive photographs, memorabilia and promotional materials from the DC-3's civil and military career.
Kipling is one of the most celebrated yet most controversial of English poets. His ‘If…’ is often cited as England’s favourite poem, yet its creator is either admired or reviled as a jingoistic champion of empire. Drawing on previously unpublished material about his years in India, England and America, plus recently discovered letters that shed intriguing light on his marriage and other close relationships, this masterly biography presents a nuanced and sympathetic interpretation of the writer and the man.
How British Aristocrats Staked a Claim to the American West 1830-1890
From the 1830s onwards, a succession of British aristocrats headed for the American West, taking with them their valets, their dogs - and their prejudices. This sparkling account describes the newcomers' experiences as they crossed the country to meet Native Americans, hunt buffalo and build cattle empires. Packed with lively incident and colourful personalities, it also charts their reception by Americans often less than pleased at the return of their former colonial overlords.
The Long and the Short of It
How We Came to Measure Our World
In the seventh century a yard was as much a reckoning of the worth of some land as a set measure of its dimensions and, although the term came to mean a unit of distance, the 36-inch standard was not settled until 1855. This light-hearted compendium explores the origins of our weighing, measuring and timing systems from the Babylonian calendar to the metric system.
Misadventures in the English Language
Are your commas, colons and semicolons in good working order? Would you know a marker of empathy (aka a pragmatic participle) if you encountered one? Caroline Taggart has the answers to these and many other confusing aspects of modern grammar, vocabulary and punctuation. Enlivened with anecdote and examples, she gives lucid explanations of the basic rules of grammar - and shows how they really do help us to communicate. A marker of empathy? Lol.
The Inside Story of the Military Elite Who Run the Country-and Why They Can't Make Peace
Since its foundation in 1948, Israel has been torn between its ambition to be ‘a light unto nations’ and its desire to expand its borders. Drawing on declassified documents, personal archives and interviews, this epic history demonstrates how military service binds Israelis to lifelong loyalty and secrecy, making democracy a hostage to the armed forces. A compelling study of character, rivalry, conflict and the competing impulses for war and peace in the Middle East.
In this memoir, originally published in 1980, we follow Clive James (b.1939) on his journey to the cusp of manhood in post-war Sydney. With humour and charm he tells of his battles with school, girls and a 'virile organ, which chose the most inconvenient moments to expand', while at university he undergoes a 'cruel exposure to the awkward fact that the arts attract the insane'. This Picador Classic features a new afterword by James and an introduction from PJ O'Rourke.