Dent's Modern Tribes
The Secret Languages of Britain
Hobbies and professions all have their unique and colourful jargon, which is often completely baffling to outsiders. But now Countdown’s resident word expert has decoded these mysterious idioms by interviewing hundreds of members of Britain’s ‘tribes’, from twitchers to spies. Here she presents the idiosyncratic vocabulary that she has learned, so that you too can discover why bin collectors love a ‘Tiffany’, what a publisher means by ‘deckle’ and how ticket inspectors discreetly request back-up.
The Rupert Annual
First appearing in the 1920s, the enduringly popular Rupert the Bear comic strip still features in the Daily Express today, and this is his 82nd annual. The stories include an adventure from 1939, as well as a brand new tale, ‘Rupert and the Christmas Birds’, and there are games and instructions for making Christmas decorations. Age 7+
A Boy Called Christmas
Young Nikolas lived in the second smallest cottage in Finland, his life was hard, and his only toy was a doll carved out of a turnip, but Nikolas believed in magic and grew up to be Father Christmas. Matt Haig’s wonderful book, with pictures by Chris Mould, tells the story of young Nikolas and his journey to the realm of elves where ‘an impossibility is just a possibility you don’t understand yet’. Age 7+
The Art of Winnie-the-Pooh
How EH Shepard Illustrated an Icon
Forming one of the earliest author and illustrator partnerships, AA Milne and EH Shepard worked closely together in the 1920s to create some of the world’s best-loved children’s characters. This illustrated volume reveals the depth of that partnership, and incorporates many of Shepard’s previously unpublished sketches, letters, photos and even a personal Christmas card. The real inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh is revealed to be Shepard’s son’s teddy bear, Growler, still owned by granddaughter Minette Shepard, who provides the introduction.
Plague, Fire, Revolution
Samuel Pepys was born in London in 1633 and died there in 1703, having lived through revolution and Restoration, the Dutch raid, notable scientific advances, plague and fire. All of this he recorded in his diary and letters. The National Maritime Museum exhibition in 2015 presented 158 objects and paintings, and with essays by contributing scholars, this accompanying volume explores Pepys’s career and varied interests while illuminating aspects of 17th-century London life ranging from surgical procedures to Stuart portraiture.
Where to See Wildlife in Britain and Ireland
Over 800 Best Wildlife Sites in the British Isles
The 10,000 acres of saltmarsh and 65,000 acres of tidal sandbanks and mudflats around the Wash on the east coast are a haven for wildlife, with about 500,000 wildfowl wintering there and common seals breeding there in summer, when the saltmarsh is abundant with wildflowers. This practical guide focuses on 800 wildlife-rich locations in the UK and advises on what to see, when to visit and how to get there, with detailed mapping and over 500 photographs.
A Dictionary of Scottish Phrase and Fable
From da Aald Rock (Shetlanders’ name for their native islands) and all things Aberdonian, to Zeenty-teenty (an old children’s rhyme that involves slicing and frying mice), Ian Crofton presents a miscellany of colourful and interesting words, phrases, names and stories that together offer a kaleidoscopic view of Scottish legends, customs and culture past and present. Above all, the Dictionary is wonderfully diverting, with cross-references, and hundreds of quotations from prose, poetry and song.
Vintage Paper Toys
64 French Models to Make at Home
First made popular in the 19th century, designing paper toys can be likened to an art form; and putting them together can be enjoyed by both children and adults. These vintage cut-outs include circus acts, a merry-go-round, dress-up dolls and a church with wedding guests. Follow the instructions on the design, cut out the pieces with scissors and a craft knife, and glue together.
The Curious Map Book
The creation of maps is often a serious business in which accuracy takes precedence over the imagination. This delightful book offers 100 unusual maps, from the British Library collection, in which the equation is reversed and fantasy comes to the fore. Here are nations portrayed as humans or animals: the British bulldog, the ‘Lion of the Low Countries’, the Russian bear. Many satirize the politics of their time; some depict fictional countries; while others are board games or jigsaw puzzles.
Arranged by region from North West to South West, this selection of over 1,300 photographs from the Historic England collection presents a visual narrative of the built environment and people's lives within it, from the age of horse-drawn trams to that of trolley buses. Introduced and captioned by Philip Davies, the images show a vast range of English life in town and country – from the commercial grandeur of Liverpool's 'Three Graces' to a blacksmith at work in a Cornish village.
The Haunted Beauty
With superb colour photographs, Julian Beecroft’s book is a pictorial tour of the world’s least visited places, inaccessible for reasons ranging from military secrecy and political paranoia to the sheer difficulty of getting there. Places covered include isolated monastic settlements such as Skellig Michael off the coast of Ireland; the closed cities of the former USSR; enclaves of elites and ghettoes of minorities; Cold War bunkers; and locations remote even today, such as the Berber towns of the Maghreb.
Earth is a desert planet. Nearly half its land area is either cold or hot desert, but these areas are rarely seen by residents of the outside world. Documentary photographer Michael Martin has ridden his motorbike across the Sahara and Atacama deserts, and traversed the ice-fields of Greenland and Spitsbergen by dog sledge. This volume charts his travels through more than 400 photographs, gripping reportage, scientifically exact maps and environmental analysis from contributing experts.
Monasteries and Monastic Orders
2000 Years of Christian Art and Culture
The history and culture of Europe have been shaped by monasticism, which has left a rich legacy of religious art and architecture. This magnificent volume charts the history of monasticism from late antiquity through its peak in the Middle Ages to the present day. Lavishly illustrated with colour photographs, paintings and illuminated manuscripts, the book describes the traditions, regulations and daily life of the different orders, profiles famous abbots and abbesses, and celebrates the continuing appeal of the contemplative life.
Medieval & Renaissance Interiors
In Illuminated Manuscripts
Illuminated manuscripts are an invaluable resource for understanding medieval and early modern life in castles, palaces and ordinary households, both urban and rural. Reproducing 140 little-known illuminations, mostly from the British Library’s collections, this book shows how these miniatures reflect medieval domestic interiors and how they provide information on topics ranging from the security of dwelling places to creature comforts such as heating and lighting, hygiene, beds and bedrooms, and the display of wealth and treasured possessions.
London Hidden Interiors
Philip Davies's selection of 180 London interiors, all beautifully photographed by Derek Kendall, reveals the architectural riches – and eccentricities – hidden behind inscrutable London facades or tucked away in sidestreets: houses such as 11 Bedford Row, with its magnificent Georgian painted staircase; hidden gems such as the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology in Malet Street; and the complete 18th-century dining room by Robert Adam, removed from Bowood House in Wiltshire and reconstructed on the ninth floor of the Lloyd's Building.
Visions of Fuji
Artists from the Floating World
Mount Fuji, with its majestic cone and snow-capped summit, has inspired artists and writers for centuries. This lavish volume, with an embossed foil cover, discusses its continuing influence, and focuses on the series of views of the mountain by the giants of Japanese woodblock art, Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) and Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858). Hundreds of reproductions show this emblem of perfection, symmetry, spiritual balance and endurance in all its many guises, while the text follows the evolution of the artists' work.
The Story of the World
A much-travelled historian, WB Bartlett is firm in his conviction that 'history matters' and that nations across the globe are shaped, and sometimes haunted, by their history. Following the grand sweep of events – yet noting in passing such landmarks as the first Sherlock Holmes story – Bartlett eschews the Eurocentric approach and introduces many forgotten cultures, movements and events in this lively and thoughtful introduction to world history.
Our History of the 20th Century
As Told in Diaries, Journals and Letters
From Queen Victoria’s journal entry for 1 January 1900, (‘full of anxiety & fear of what may be before us!’) to MP Oona King’s lament at spending the end of the millennium in a queue, Elborough’s compilation presents personal, contemporary and candid responses to world history as it happened. The book features over 100 diarists and provides one or more writers’ reaction to every major event or trend, whether a world war, the 1975 Europe Referendum or the latest Star Wars movie.
From Pre-Raphaelites to Punk
London has always been home to outsiders, people who can't – or won't – abide by the rules of respectable society. This entertaining, anecdotal history charts two centuries of Bohemianism, including such colourful characters as Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley, the Bloomsburyites and Bright Young Things, and Dylan Thomas boozing through the Blitz. It is also a guide to the places where Bohemia flourished: the Café Royal, the Colony Room and the Gargoyle Club.
Panoramas of Lost London
Work, Wealth, Poverty and Change 1870–1945
Following on from the best-selling Lost London 1870–1945, this astonishing book presents some 280 photographs originally commissioned by the London County Council to record streets and neighbourhoods on the threshold of redevelopment. Enlarged and cropped, the photographs reveal the built environment and life within it in extraordinary detail. They are, as Dan Cruickshank writes in his Foreword, 'photographs which record not just the appearance of the building but also, in some uncanny way, its atmosphere, its grand but crumbling soul'.
Featuring more than 500 mostly unpublished photographs from the London County Council archive, this richly evocative book opens a window on a vanished past. Spanning 75 years, from 1870 to 1945, it charts the transition from a Dickensian world of coaching inns to the devastation of the Blitz, revealing the architectural beauty that London has lost, explaining why some buildings have survived while others have perished, and sounding a clarion call to save what remains.
British Town Maps
Towns are complex, sophisticated creations that have stretched cartographers' ingenuity over time. Well-illustrated in colour, this book tells the story of the mapping of urban Britain from the late Middle Ages until modern times. Some of the maps it reproduces are well known, while others languished in archives until revealed by the 20 years of research on which this project, and the accompanying online Catalogue of British Town Maps, is founded.
First used in medieval Venice and prized for its manoeuvrability, the gondola evolved over the centuries into today's sleek, asymmetrical black boat. Illustrated with reproductions of views of Venice, Donna Leon's little book offers 'a new way to enter into the life of the city' through the stories of the gondola, its history, its makers and its songs. A CD of gondoliers' barcarole accompanies the book, recorded by Il Pomo d'Oro, with a special track by Cecilia Bartoli.
Great War Fashion
Tales from the History Wardrobe
This attractively designed social history rummages through the wardrobes of women in the years before the First World War to reveal the lives and fashions of the real women behind the stiff, mono-bosomed ideal of Edwardian high society, and closes with the newly liberated breed who donned trousers and overalls to work in munitions factories, uniforms to tend the wounded and widow's weeds to mourn a generation of men. The wide-ranging text is highly illustrated.