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+
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. Drawing on the British Library collection, this delightful book presents 100 unusual maps 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; satires on contemporary politics; fictional countries; and maps as 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 volume follows its history from late antiquity through its peak in the Middle Ages to the present day. Well illustrated with 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 bestselling Lost London 1870–1945, this 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 great 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
The complexity of towns has stretched cartographers' ingenuity throughout history. After discussing the particular challenges of making town maps, including purpose, scale and printing, this richly illustrated volume, the printed companion to the online Catalogue of British Town Maps, surveys the history of urban mappings from the late Middle Ages to around 1900, then looks in turn at the specific uses of town maps, from depicting property ownership to fire insurance and town planning.
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
From the corsets and respectable dresses of Edwardian high society to the relaxed styles that reflected the optimism of the early 1920s, this history traces the changes in women’s clothing during a period of radical social transformation. With examples from historical figures, including suffragettes, nurses and factory workers, it highlights how leisurewear and workwear became more diverse and practical, expressing the new-found freedom and confidence felt by many women after the Great War ended.
Some Sunny Day
Born in 1917, Dame Vera Lynn was 92 when she realized that her great age gave a better perspective (she wrote her first autobiography in her fifties) and she had to 'get everything down on paper in a final account'. Here then is the life of 'an ordinary girl from an ordinary family with a voice that you could recognize' – but also an embodiment of British spirit during the Second World War.
The Home Front in the Great War
Aspects of the Conflict 1914–1918
The Great War was the first to have a deep impact on every aspect of civilian life. This book, originally published in 2003, examines its effects on society at home, from recruitment to rationing and from Zeppelin raids to propaganda. Drawing on personal accounts and articles in newspapers and magazines, and extensively illustrated with period photographs, it explores the war's effects on industry, employment, labour relations, the press, the class system and the role of women.
Poetry of the First World War
Edited and with a substantial introduction by Marcus Clapham, this anthology is arranged alphabetically by poet and includes both obscure soldier-poets and the great writers of the war years such as Edward Thomas, Siegfried Sassoon, Isaac Rosenberg and Wilfred Owen. A final section provides brief biographical notes on the poets.
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 grandson ID Roberts.
Wildlife photography typically aims to capture animals in their natural environments, inviting us to study their behaviour as unseen observers. This portfolio takes a different tack, bringing tame or trained animals into the studio for controlled portraits. The resulting pictures frame each subject against a pure black background, focusing attention on their form and texture and drawing us to engage with the eyes and face of a kangaroo, a giraffe or a tiger as we would with a human subject.
National Birds of the World
From Angola's Red-Crested Turaco to Zimbabwe's African Fish-Eagle, more than 90 avian species have been adopted as official symbols of national identity. Each bird is pictured and described in this comprehensive guide, which features data such as size, diet and habitat alongside an explanation of reasons for the bird's use as a national emblem, information on its conservation status and examples of its prevalence in the stamps, coats of arms and wider culture of its country. Foreword by Chris Packham.
The Natural Heritage of the World
The Most Beautiful National Parks, Protected Areas and Biosphere Reserves on Earth
The world’s wild places offer a refuge for endangered species, an information bank for scientists, and a priceless gift to the human spirit. Illustrated with colour photographs, this book explores all 229 areas of natural beauty on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites, from Lapland’s Arctic wastes to the Amazon rainforests, from the Great Barrier Reef to the reserves of East Africa, and from the primeval beech forests of the Carpathians to the natural parks of North America.
The Enlightened Imbiber's Guide to Alcohol
In chapters on beer and cider, wine, aperitifs and digestifs and each of the spirits, the authors describe the history, legends and starring roles in movies for each type of drink, give recipes for famous cocktails, and recommend their chosen few.
The Times Great Letters
A Century of Notable Correspondence
Siegfried Sassoon decrying ‘political errors and insincerities’ in 1917; leg-theory in cricket; John Betjeman speaking up for threatened churches; the eccentricities of quartermasters’ vocabulary and syntax; and Theresa May on the first ascent of the Matterhorn... Covering a vast range of topics with erudition, opinion and a very British wit, this anthology of over 300 letters demonstrates why The Times letters page is renowned as a forum of debate, whether the topic be the future of education or dyed kippers.
A Collection of Epigrams and Epitaphs Serious and Comic
Originally published in 1933, this little book of witty epigrams and epitaphs by the English writer and poet Martin Armstrong (1882–1974) is illustrated with wood-engravings by Eric Ravilious (1903–1942). The subjects of the verses are 54 professionals or types, ranging from a judge to a snuff-taker and a ‘boarding-house lift man’; and each one is accompanied by its own woodcut.
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud...
And Other Poems You Half-Remember from School
Our language is full of well-worn phrases from much-loved poems, but how often can we recall the rest of the poem, or the first line, or even the poet's name? This anthology presents the complete poems that gave us such immortal lines as 'Water, water everywhere/Nor any drop to drink', 'not waving but drowning' and 'They also serve who only stand and waite'. The poems are arranged chronologically, from Chaucer to Carol Ann Duffy, and indexed by title and the famous bits.
The Complete Collection
'When Edward Bear said that he would like an exciting name all to himself, Christopher Robin said at once, without stopping to think, that he was Winnie-the-Pooh. And he was.' This slipcased set contains the four children's classics by AA Milne, all with their original line drawings by EH Shepard: Winnie-the-Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six.
The Enid Blyton Faraway Tree and Wishing-Chair Collection
(six volume set)
Joe, Beth and Frannie's adventures in strange and exciting lands begin when they discover the mysterious Enchanted Wood and, deep within it, the magical Faraway Tree. Mollie and Peter's amazing adventures start closer to home – in their nursery is a Wishing Chair that can grow wings and transport them to fantastic places. This set contains three books from each series. First published between 1937 and 1950. Age 6+
The Mysteries Collection
6 Classic Mysteries (six volume set)
The nostalgic stories in this collection will keep young readers occupied for many long hours. The Five Find-Outers, plus Buster the dog, embark on exciting adventures investigating the emptying of a cottage on Holly Lane, a missing ventriloquist's dummy, a cunning thief, the disappearance of an Eastern prince and a robbery in a local theatre. The wholesome fun is told with plenty of lively dialogue. Age 8+
The Photography Book
An A-Z of over 550 photographers, this volume spans the entire history of the medium - from Fox Talbot and Daguerre to reportage, fashion and advertising photographers working today - and includes historic images such as Mathew B Brady's portrait of General Sherman and Robert Capa's Death of a Loyalist Soldier from his coverage of the Spanish Civil War. Each photographer is represented by one of their finest images, and the editors provide commentary setting the photograph in context.
The Philosophy of Cats
Federica Sgarbi combines her passions for philosophy and felines in this account of her successful project to rehome all 78 residents of her local cattery. She tells how she wrote 'lonely-cat ads' for them, and describes their character and appearance before reflecting on what their stories teach us about our relationship with animals, as theorized by philosophers from Plutarch and Schopenhauer to contemporary thinkers on animal rights.
World Encyclopaedia of Racing Drivers
The Definitive Reference to the Lives and Achievements of 2,500 International Racing Drivers
Covering winners, losers, has-beens and hopefuls in a great range of races and championships, from Grand Prix to stock car racing, this is the definitive reference to the lives and achievements of some 2,500 international racing drivers. Arranged alphabetically, from Rauno Aaltonen (a rare cross-over from rallying to racing) to the 2005 Formula Atlantic winner, Charles Zwolsman Jr, the Encyclopaedia lists each driver’s principal race wins and gives a concise account of his or her life and career. Slipcased.
Malcolm Root's Transport Paintings
Best known for his atmospheric railway scenes, Malcolm Root has earned a reputation for meticulous attention to period and engineering detail in his nostalgic paintings. This collection of his work encompasses all forms of British transport in realistic historic settings from an Edwardian tram and an Empire flying boat in the 1930s to a Dodge fire engine going out on call in the 1950s and a Massey Ferguson tractor working the fields in the 1960s.
The British Olympics
Britain's Olympic Heritage 1612–2012
Before 2012, the Olympic Games had twice been held in London, but sporting festivals in Britain date back centuries earlier – events that encouraged and inspired the foundation of the modern Olympics. This book explores the Much Wenlock and Cotswold Games and other early incarnations, as well as the 1904 and 1948 Games, and the Stoke Mandeville Games, the forerunner of the Paralympic Games.
The Baffle Book
Fifteen Fiendishly Challenging Detective Puzzles
If you revel in armchair criminal investigation, this book is just your cup of poisoned orange pekoe. Here are 15 old-fashioned 'detective puzzles', the unravelling of which requires well-honed powers of observation and deduction. In words, charts and diagrams, the authors put you at the crime scene and present you with the facts established by the police. Solving the questions that each case poses is your challenge. Answers at the back – if you must. Slightly off-mint.
Crack the Code
In four progressively more difficult chapters – Amusements, Diversions, Challenges and Enigmas – Dr Gareth Moore presents over 200 puzzles, including codes to break, conundrums, several types of Sudoku and unusual vocabulary games. The puzzles range from simple to mystifying, but there is another twist – the instructions range from explicit to mere suggestions of how to proceed. Solutions are at the back.
How to Draw Mr Men
With How to Draw Book, Stencils, Sketchbook and Stickers!
Look at the step-by-step instructions in the How to Draw book, and practise drawing the characters on the blank pages of the sketchbook. You’ll soon be ready to colour and add details to the sketchbook pictures with the help of the stencils and stickers. Age 5+
(four volume set)
Four familiar Winnie-the-Pooh stories have been recreated as picture books for young fans of the loveable bear and his friends. They feature the now famous game of Poohsticks, the discovery of a Heffalump and some surprising presents for a special birthday. The tales are Piglet Meets a Heffalump; Eeyore Has a Birthday; Pooh Invents a New Game and Piglet Does a Very Grand Thing. Age 3+
Funny Way To Be A Hero
TV producer John Fisher first published his exploration of the great 20th-century comedians in 1973, tracing the tradition from music-hall pioneers such as Dan Leno and Max Miller through to the radio comics and the last of the breed in Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper and Ken Dodd. This completely revised and expanded 40th anniversary edition profiles over 30 of the giants of British entertainment and contains over 350 illustrations.
Tom Smith's Magical Invention
For over 150 years, Christmas crackers have been part of our Christmas festivities, but who created this wonderful fandangle? Little is known about Tom Smith, the accepted inventor of the cracker, but Peter Kimpton draws on a wealth of archive material to tell the story of Mr Smith and his amazing invention. Among the many aspects of cracker history revealed are box designs, how the love motto was ousted by the corny joke, pyrotechnic crackers, and crackers in wartime.
Can Onions Cure Ear-Ache?
Medical Advice from 1769 by William Buchan, MD
William Buchan’s Domestic Medicine was an 18th-century bestseller, a self-help manual intended for those who could not afford professional medical assistance. It covered everything from hiccups to consumption but, as Robert Winston writes in his foreword, ‘most remedies in Buchan’s time remained distinctly dodgy’. Melanie King introduces a selection from his A–Z of often hair-raising advice.
Brain of Britain
Ultimate Quiz Book
Starting as What Do You Know? in 1953, and changing its title in 1967, BBC Radio 4's Brain of Britain is probably ‘the most venerable of general knowledge quizzes anywhere’. With this book you can challenge your own brain with 2,000 questions (50 quizzes of 40 questions each) drawn from the programme’s archives. By way of introduction, the current presenter, Russell Davies, has written a history of Brain of Britain and shares his thoughts on ‘this quiz lark’.
Baffling & Bizarre Inventions
This humorous multiple-choice quiz features 45 extraordinary inventions – including a talking watch, a mechanical golf instructor and a steam-driven bus, drawn from 200 years of American ingenuity – and challenges the reader to guess each object’s use from an illustration and description.
Moustaches, Whiskers & Beards
The extravagant whiskers of prominent Victorians such as Charles Darwin and WG Grace seemed impossibly archaic until the recent 'hipster' fashion reinvented the wearing of long beards for young men for the first time since the hippies of the 1960s. This book traces the history of fashions in facial hair from the ancients to the present day.
Bonker, Bounder, Beggarman, Thief
A Compendium of Rogues, Villains and Scandals
Arranged alphabetically from Jonathan Aitken to Oscar Wilde, this entertaining selection of miscreants from the pages of the Telegraph since the 1850s covers the whole spectrum of scandal, including adultery, espionage, fraud, cheating at the Olympics and selling sex for luncheon vouchers. The book reprints articles on 78 high-profile cases and encompasses a great diversity of swindlers, low-lifes, sleazy politicians and spies, but also two kings, a duchess and a US president.
Thinker, Failure, Soldier, Jailer
An Anthology of Great Lives in 365 Days
With character portraits, anecdotes and tales of the unexpected, and including adventurers and criminals along with the MPs and archbishops, the obituary page of the Telegraph established by Hugh Massingberd in 1986 is now a much-loved institution. Gleaned from those columns, here are obituaries for every day of the year, from the Coronation Street actress Margot Bryant (1 January 1988) to Geoffrey Van-Hay, manager of El Vino, the Fleet Street journalists’ bar (31 December 2009).
No Cunning Plan
After stints in regional theatre in Leeds, Birmingham and Bristol, Tony Robinson played small parts on television during the 1970s, including presenting Play Away, and began to make his name as a comedian in the early 1980s with the sketch show Who Dares Wins. The Blackadder star reads his engaging autobiography in this 12-CD set.
Photographs from the John Kobal Foundation
'Never act with children or animals,' they say, but many of Hollywood's greatest stars were only too happy to be captured on film with their feline companions. This collection of over 100 vintage photographs offers a glimpse of such luminaries as Dirk Bogarde, Marlon Brando, Ava Gardner, Cary Grant, Carole Lombard, Jayne Mansfield, Kim Novak and Elizabeth Taylor in charming unguarded moments with their beloved pets, as well as the nameless strays who ruled the studios.
The Walker's Guide to Outdoor Clues and Signs
Their Meaning and the Art of Making Predictions and Deductions
A bestseller and former BBC Countryfile Book of the Year, this is the ultimate guide to what the land, the sun, moon and stars, plants and animals, sky and clouds can reveal – when you know what to look for. Drawing on two decades of outdoor experience, Tristan Gooley explains how to focus our powers of deduction and prediction on the natural world and provides over 850 clues and signs to get us started.
How to Read Water
Clues & Patterns from Puddles to the Sea
The ripple pattern around a stone in a pond exactly mirrors the pattern around an island in the ocean. Pacific Islanders can navigate using such ‘ripple maps’. In this guide to understanding the behaviour of water, Tristan Gooley explains how ripples and currents, colour and light, tides and the abundance of organic life can help us divine what is happening on, around and to different bodies of water.
My Grammar and I Activity Book
(Or Should That be 'Me'?)
From identifying parts of speech to spotting the grammatical error in whole sentences (including ‘I think therefore I am’), Daniel Smith presents 103 ‘grammatical games’ to keep you in touch with the formal rules of the English language. Covering such thorny topics as compound nouns, reciprocal pronouns, the subjunctive, tautology and the dreaded apostrophe, the quizzes range from simple to very taxing, with answers at the end of the book.
Stop the World, I Want to Get Off...
Unpublished Letters to the Daily Telegraph
‘Sir, It has all been a terrible mistake. We thought we were voting to leave Eurovision.’ In a year dominated by the EU Referendum, the Telegraph’s letter-writers were in full spate – and not just on the momentous vote. Here, in sections such a ‘The Use and Abuse of Language’, ‘Box Gogglers’ and ‘Royal Blushes’ are readers’ opinions – frankly stated – on everything from family life to ‘Benito Trump’.
Edward Lear's Nonsense Birds
Coming to life in just a few, seemingly effortless lines and the occasional wash of colour, Edward Lear’s nonsense birds have personality, attitude and, quite often, very human traits. Drawing on the British Library collections, this book presents birds from several of Lear’s original nonsense books, and includes stories, limericks, birds for learning colours and birds for learning the alphabet.
From Hopeless Hounds to Tyrannical Tortoises: Animal Letters to The Telegraph
Having mined the archives of readers’ letters ‘like a chaffinch in search of the juiciest worms’, Iain Hollingshead presents a hugely entertaining selection that illustrates the British love and respect for animals, whether tame or wild, mammal, bird or amphibian, and the occasional stick insect. Violent dislike is reserved for flying insects, and the Scottish midge in particular. Slightly off-mint.
A Literary Anthology
‘Histories’, wrote Alexander Pope, ‘are more full of the examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends’, and man’s best friend has a reputation for loyalty, companionship and playfulness. This collection of canine portraits from classic books will delight lovers of dogs and literature alike. Its vignettes range from Shakespeare to Dickens, from Mark Twain to Virginia Woolf, and from Dodie Smith’s Dalmatians to Jack London’s fearsome White Fang.
Even during his lifetime, Julius Caesar was a legendary figure, not least because his own writings were carefully designed to enhance his image. Complementing Southern’s other engaging biographies of late-Republican figures, this new account of Caesar’s life and death sheds light on the man behind the legend through careful examination of contemporary sources. The book reveals how he surmounted each difficulty with ‘a combination of determination, quick thinking, opportunism and, more often than not, a certain amount of luck’.
Richard, Duke of York
King by Right
Inheriting his dukedom at the age of four, Richard, 3rd Duke of York, became the wealthiest man in England at 13 and later rebelled against his king. Although remembered as the man who ignited the Wars of the Roses, the Duke has been largely eclipsed by his sons, Edward IV and Richard III. Lewis's biography challenges the myth of the Duke as a man of insatiable ambition who dragged a nation into civil war, and reveals a family man, yet one with unparalleled power and responsibilities.
The Reluctant Ambassador
The Life and Times of Sir Thomas Chaloner, Tudor Diplomat
After serving in the household of Thomas Cromwell during the reign of Henry VIII, Thomas Chaloner became a diplomat in France, Scotland, Flanders and finally, in 1559, he was made resident ambassador at the court of Phillip II in Madrid. This biographical study examines Chaloner as a prime example of an educated, but not aristocratic man, a humanist, the translator of Erasmus’ The Praise of Folly, and astute enough to weather the storms of four Tudor monarchs.
Mary Queen of Scots
A Study in Failure
First published in 1988, when it provoked much controversy, Wormald’s classic study of Mary, Queen of Scots ‘as a queen rather than a woman of great misfortune’ differed sharply from the usual emotive responses to Mary’s story. Focusing on her reign, 1561–1567, and her actions as the ruler of a European kingdom, Wormald argues that the queen’s downfall was because of her way of dealing, or failing to deal, with the problems facing her as a Renaissance monarch. Foreword by Anna Groundwater.
The Children of Charles I and the English Civil Wars
Charles I was a loving father, but what became of his children after his execution in 1649? This history recounts the fortunes of the Stuart princes and princesses in exile and after: Elizabeth, imprisoned during the Civil War; the dashing Henry, who died within months of his brother Charles's restoration to the throne; James, Charles's ill-fated successor; Mary, child bride of the Prince of Orange; and Henrietta Anne, the youngest, who married Philippe d'Orléans.
Lawson Lies Still in The Thames
The Extraordinary Life of Vice-Admiral Sir John Lawson
On 13 December 1659 Vice-Admiral Sir John Lawson (1615–1665) led 22 warships into the Thames and threatened to blockade London in defence of Parliament; in January 1660 Pepys began his diary, ‘Lawson lies still in the river’. This biography charts Lawson’s central role in the English Civil Wars and the Dutch wars, for which he received a gold chain from Oliver Cromwell, but also his vital contribution to the Restoration, rewarded by a pension from Charles II.
What the Suffragists Did Next
How the Fight for Women's Rights Went On
The suffragists of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) - as distinct from the suffragettes - did not disband in 1917 when the vote was given to some women. Although franchise had been their primary goal, they had other aims for women. This book looks at the lives of eight suffragists and how they continued the struggle for equality in various fields, among them Eleanor Lodge in higher education, Ellen Wilkinson in Socialist politics and Dr Isabel Emslie Hutton in medicine.
A Brief History of the Private Life of Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II is now the longest-reigning British monarch. Her life has been exhaustively documented, but what of the woman beneath the crown? Who are her friends? How does she feel about the demands of duty? What are her hobbies? Examining her early life, the training she received, and her attitudes to national life, historian Michael Paterson offers a refreshing portrayal of Britain's figurehead.
Call The Midwife
A True Story of the East End in the 1950s
The book that sparked the award-winning TV series details Jennifer Worth’s very real experiences as a young midwife based in a convent amid the chaos of post-war London Docklands. Her true-life stories show how tough conditions were in the East End, especially for women, who often lived in slum accommodation – grateful if they had a cold-water tap – with ten or more children to look after.
Love and War on the Côte d'Azur
In 1925 the young American architect Barry Dierks and his lover Eric Sawyer built Le Trident, a Modernist home at Miramar on the Côte d’Azur. Word of Barry’s talent spread, and the commissions that followed propelled them into the heart of Riviera society, with clients including Somerset Maugham and the Marquess of Cholmondeley. This biography recalls Barry and Eric’s time with their glamorous circle of friends, contrasting the lifestyle of the Jazz Age with the hardships that were to come under German occupation.
A Rich and Curious History of Pirates, Castaways and Madness
Daniel Defoe's famous castaway has been etched into the popular imagination for three centuries – but what of his island? This book identifies the real place – Juan Fernández Island in the South Pacific – and charts its colourful and often violent history. Drawing on voyage journals, maps and illustrations, Andrew Lambert brings to life the voices of visiting sailors, scientists, writers and artists from the early encounters of the 1500s to the naval battles of the First World War.
Great Authors: Charles Dickens
Three DVD Set
Charles Dickens's own experiences bear comparison to those of some of his characters, and this BBC box set explores his colourful biography in a series of films. The three DVDs include a revealing drama-documentary examining the life of the author (played by Anton Lesser), a dramatized narration of A Christmas Carol and a 1999 adaptation of David Copperfield, the most autobiographical of his novels, starring Bob Hoskins and Daniel Radcliffe. 3 DVDs total duration 8 hrs 30 min.
Parish Church Treasures
The Nation's Greatest Art Collection
John Goodall traces a history of the British parish church and its cultural riches through 178 works of art and architecture, from runic inscriptions in the graveyard of St Cuthbert's, Bewcastle, to the war memorial, finished in 1934, in the former priory church in Wymondham. Goodall and Country Life photographer Paul Barker describe and picture an astonishing range of carvings and sculpture, paintings, decorated roofs, stained glass and spires, as well as oddities such as the golden dragon atop St Mary-le-Bow in London.
Great Scottish Lives
Obituaries of Scotland's Finest
From Sir Walter Scott in 1832 to Tam Dalyell in 2017, this selection of ‘Scotland’s finest’ from the obituary columns of The Times includes some of the world’s most notable writers, scientists, soldiers, explorers, philosophers and artists. Here, in over 100 obituaries, figures as diverse as Sir David Livingstone, Robert Louis Stevenson, Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding, Sir Matt Busby and Robin Cook are judged by their contemporaries in articles that illustrate the social, cultural and political history of Scotland.
Abbotsford to Zion
The Story of Scottish Place Names Around the World
Despite the A–Z of the title, this book takes a thematic approach as it tells the stories behind a selection of Scottish names of far-flung places. Starting with the explorers and pioneers who opened up wilderness lands, from Sir Alexander Mackenzie in Canada to Dundee Island in Antarctica, chapters describe the Scottish traders and migrants to North America, Australia and New Zealand who named places after themselves, their heroes or their homeland.
The Birds of Shetland
The most northerly island group in Britain, Shetland is famous for its globally significant populations of breeding seabirds, including such rarities as red-necked phalarope, great snipe and lanceolated warbler. This authoritative, comprehensive guide provides an overview of the climate and ecology of the archipelago, followed by a survey of every species recorded there. With 40 pages of colour photographs and many line drawings throughout the text, it is an essential handbook for any ornithologist with an interest in the islands.
Off to the Vet
The YouTube adventures of Simon's Cat, which first appeared in 2008, have attracted millions of viewers and the hapless cat's exploits have since extended to newspaper cartoon strips, books and even a game. Identifying feline foibles that will chime with cat owners everywhere, this collection includes the colour story 'Off to the Vet' as well as other cartoons in the signature black-and-white style.
Games from Childhood
A Nostalgic Compendium of Games We Used to Play
Marked-out boards for versions of the game known in Britain as Nine Men's Morris have been discovered on classical ruins, ancient clay tiles and even in a Viking ship burial, the longevity and wide reach of the game attesting to its appeal. This compendium explains Nine Men’s Morris and eight other enduring games, such as Hangman and Battleships, with rules, strategy tips, printed playing boards and grids.
Endearing, Eccentric and Extraordinary True Stories
An unlikely alliance was formed between a cat and a pigeon, according to the Newcastle Journal of 1864; the cat guarding the bird's eggs and the pigeon, in return, harassing anyone approaching her kittens. Drawn from out-of-print books and newspaper stories, this collection of anecdotes bears testament to the haughty nature and winning appeal of cats down the centuries.
A Tiger in My Garden
A Do-It-Yourself Pop-Up Book
This DIY pop-up book presents five different gardens from around the world, which readers can recreate themselves. Each open spread provides a base with numbers indicating where press-out pieces should be glued into position. Detailed instructions are included, and this project is ideal for an adult and child working together. Age 7+
The Twelve Dancing Princesses
This beautifully illustrated picture book tells the classic tale of the twelve princesses whose shoes mysteriously wear out every night. The king offers a reward to anyone who can uncover their secret. Many princes try and fail, but then a wounded soldier visits the palace… Age 4+.
Mr Men Magical Treasury
20 Funny Fairy Tales to Share
As a boy Adam Hargreaves inspired his father, Roger, to create the Mr Men, and this book is written and illustrated by him. These 20 stories have fairy-tale themes, feature ogres, witches, and fairies, and include a range of Mr Men and Little Miss characters. Age 2+
Ian Whybrow Children's Set
(six volume set)
Each picture book in this set takes a different theme – jungle animals, sleepy animals, baby animals – and features a simple rhyming storyline. Sound effects and animal noises at various points in the texts allow very young readers to participate in the narration. With large, bright, colourful illustrations throughout, each book culminates in a farewell spread, picturing all the animals in the story and the sounds they make. Age 2+
Reproduced from Fifty English Steeples by Julian Flannery, 16 pristine, meticulously accurate line drawings celebrate some of the finest medieval parish church towers and spires in England. Each of the high-quality, matt, pale-cream cards (white inside) has a different tower or spire. They are presented in a pale cream and purple box, with white envelopes.
The Nursery Collection
(six volume set)
Described by the Guardian as 'irresistible small books for very young children... The words are just as much fun as the pictures', Shirley Hughes's Nursery Collection introduces the alphabet, numbers and first concepts – of shapes and sizes, opposites, noises and colours – in everyday toddler activities with Katie, her little brother Olly and their mum and dad. The six books are ABC, 123, All Shapes and Sizes, Opposites, Noisy and Colours. Age 3+
McNaughton Children's Collection
(five volume set)
Wherever Preston Pig goes, Mr Wolf is never far behind him – dreaming of pig for dinner. When Preston goes on holiday, Mr Wolf straps himself to the car roof; when Preston goes shopping, Mr Wolf wrecks the supermarket; and when Preston visits his granny, Mr Wolf tries to pounce. These five simple stories, with added detail in the humorous illustrations, are hugely entertaining and full of fun. Age 3+
Power of Five Collection
The five teenagers in Anthony Horowitz's series of adventure novels discover that they are ancient magical gatekeepers, reincarnated and equipped with special powers to renew their age-old battle with the mysterious Chaos and the evil Old Ones. Involving occult practices and time travel, and played out across dimensions and around the world, the five-volume saga is an epic struggle between good and evil. Age 12+
When the Earth was Flat
All the Bits of Science We Got Wrong
Alchemists in search of gold; palaeontologists in search of a specious ‘missing link’ in the evolutionary chain; troops breaking step on bridges: Graeme Donald delves into the history of these and many other instances of scientific wrong-headedness, tracing the perpetrators and explaining how they got it wrong. He also debunks a plethora of popular beliefs, from opera singers breaking glass to suicidal lemmings.