The Gunpowder Plot
The 1605 Gunpowder Plot is one of the best-known events in British history, commemorated on 5 November each year. This book re-evaluates the evidence about the origins, depth and extent of the plot. It profiles the conspirators, including Robert Catesby and Guy Fawkes, and examines their backgrounds, aims and objectives. It follows their trial and execution, and reveals for the first time how close they came to overthrowing the government. Slightly off-mint.
A Grim Almanac of Herefordshire
This catalogue of ghastly episodes in Herefordshire’s past features tales of murderers, bodysnatchers, duellists, poachers, and others including the farmer bitten to death by his horse in 1887, and a young man from Colwall who allegedly sat on a spike. Throughout this array of catastrophes and tragedies, Nicola Sly gives an insight into the broader social history of the county.
A Roman Frontier Fort in Scotland
Discovered in 1979, the Roman fort at Elginhaugh near Dalkeith is now the most completely excavated timber-built auxiliary fort in the Roman Empire. Here, Professor Hanson describes the discovery, excavation and interpretation of the site and sets the findings in the wider context of the fort’s builders and the lives of its inhabitants.
A Ship Through Time
The Empire Windrush has become a symbol of the generation that came to Britain from the Caribbean in the aftermath of the Second World War, but the story of the ship itself is less well known. Built in Hamburg in 1930, the Monte Rosa transported prisoners to Auschwitz before it was captured by the British and renamed; and after its famous voyage, the ship saw action in the Korean War.
John F Kennedy's Special Relationship with Great Britain
Tracking John F Kennedy’s exploits in Britain between 1935 and 1963, from the era of the Great Depression in the USA to the Cold War arms race, Christopher Sandford looks in depth at how Britain shaped JFK throughout his adult life, and how he in turn charmed British society. Set against the Second World War and its aftermath, the story of this ‘special relationship’ suggests how certain experiences of Britain may have influenced Kennedy’s basic thinking as president.
Terror in the Tunnels
Britain's Dangerous Railway History
Box Tunnel in Wiltshire is one of the great engineering feats of the railway age but tragically, up to 100 navvies lost their lives during its construction. This history of the building of Britain’s railway infrastructure investigates the many collapses, explosions, floodings, collisions and other accidents that occurred in the tunnels and how lessons about their dangers were gradually learned.
The British Soldier in the First World War
This study of the ordinary British soldier of the First World War focuses on his everyday routines and the equipment, uniform and personal kit that would have been his familiar companions. Covering recruitment, training, life in the trenches and recuperation away from the front, first-hand accounts are complemented by examples of items including mess tins, Mills bombs and the YMCA stationery issued in rest camps, many assembled in historical tableaux that recreate period scenes.
The Mistress of Mayfair
Men, Money and the Marriage of Doris Delevingne
Based on a pursuit of the finer things in life, the marriage of the socialite Doris Delevingne and the gossip columnist Valentine Brown was tempestuous from the start, rocked by affairs with famous figures including Winston Churchill and Diana Mitford. This volume, illustrated with contemporary photographs, charts their relationship during the 1920s and 1930s, offering new insights into the decadent, brittle world of the 'Bright Young Things'.
The Medieval Quest for Arthur
Medieval belief in the Arthurian legends was bolstered by the existence of many alleged artefacts, including the Round Table, Gawain’s skull, Isolde’s robe and even Excalibur itself. The authors investigate the origins of these elaborate fakes and the cultural and political motivations behind their creation. Slightly off-mint.
Lady Jane Grey
Nine Days Queen
As the great-niece of Henry VIII, Jane Grey was a pawn in the power game of Tudor politics. The dying Edward VI made Jane his heir and, on 6 July 1553, aged 16, she became queen. Her reign lasted nine days: when Mary Tudor claimed the throne, Jane was sent to the Tower and beheaded in 1554. In this compassionate biography, Plowden tells the story of a gifted, scholarly girl, doomed by her royal blood.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Paul Nixon is among the most eccentric cricketers to play for England, Leicestershire or Kent. With forewords from Steve Waugh and Viv Richards, this frank, humorous account of his career addresses issues such as family tragedy, sledging, match-fixing and his battle with mental demons.
The Gunpowder Plot
The 1605 Gunpowder Plot is one of the best-known events in British history, commemorated on 5 November each year. This book re-evaluates the evidence about the origins, depth and extent of the plot. It profiles the conspirators, including Robert Catesby and Guy Fawkes, and examines their backgrounds, aims and objectives. It follows their trial and execution, and reveals for the first time how close they came to overthrowing the government.
Remembering 1914–18, Great War Britain
Swindon’s principal employer – the Great Western Railway – expanded its output of rolling stock during the First World War, as well as extending operations to the production of munitions. This review of the conflict’s impact on the town includes archive photographs and ephemera.
Remembering 1914–18, Great War Britain
The King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment was the destination for many of Lancaster’s young men in 1914. This study of the city’s experience of the war draws on regimental records as well as first-hand accounts and contemporary documents and photographs.
Remembering 1914–18, Great War Britain
To supplement the workforce manufacturing grenades at the Mills Munition Works, 15,000 people moved to Birmingham. This local history recalls the impact their arrival had on life on the home front and recounts the experiences of the city’s enlisted men.
From Hope to Hatred
Voices of the Falls Curfew
The 36-hour curfew imposed by the British Army on the Catholic Falls Road area from 3–5 July 1970 was a turning point in the Northern Ireland conflict. Drawing on interviews with those on both sides, this history tells how a weapons search escalated into rioting and a gun battle that left four dead and 75 injured, charts the background to the curfew, discusses its legality, and assesses its consequences.
False Starts, Near Misses and Dangerous Goods
Railwaymen's Stories About the Challenges of Running a Railway
The task of running a railway safely is not a simple matter: propelling heavy equipment, passengers and freight cross-country through varying terrains and weather is a major technical and mechanical feat. This collection of anecdotes from railway operators gives a personal view of some of the perils of the business, from derailments and trains spotted with no brakes, to the challenges of transporting lion cubs.
Daughters of the KGB
Moscow's Secret Spies, Sleepers and Assassins of the Cold War
In this detailed Cold War history, the ‘daughters’ of the title are the Eastern European countries where organizations such as the Stasi, overseen and trained by the KGB, undertook surveillance of and control of their own citizens, and carried out covert operations and assassinations abroad.
The Life and Times of the Honourable Ivor Montagu – Filmmaker, Communist, Spy
The son of a wealthy peer, Ivor Montagu founded the London Film Society to champion the art form – but his overriding interest was in communism. Based on interviews and archival research, this biography follows these two concerns, recounting a career that included making documentaries about the Spanish Civil War, producing several of Hitchcock’s films and spying for Russia, while remaining blind until the end of his life to the horrors of Stalin’s regime.
The Changing Scene of Merchant Shipping
A Photographic Survey
With a collection of 100 photographs and informative captions, Hucknall surveys the merchant shipping industry since the late 1990s in sections on container ships, general cargo vessels, ro-ros, bulk carriers, reefers, passenger ships, tugs and tankers.
The Authorised Biography of Nicol Williamson
John Osborne hailed him as ‘the greatest actor since Brando’; the New York Times called him ‘the terrible tiger of the English stage’. Nicol Williamson (1936–2011) was as renowned for his hellraising as for his Shakespearian heroes. This biography is based on the recollections of his family and fellow actors and follows his brilliant but chequered career, tracing the origins of his uncompromising and ultimately self-destructive genius in his tough Clydeside upbringing.
The Baby Boomer Generation
A Lifetime of Memories
This blend of memoir and social history explores the experiences of the generation born in the aftermath of the Second World War. Decade by decade, from rationing to the internet, it notes not only events of national and international importance, such as the Cuban missile crisis, but changes to the fabric of everyday life: pop music, ready meals, shell suits and reality TV.
The World's Major Civil Airliner Crashes Since 1950, Sixth Edition
This encyclopedic reference book analyses the most serious aviation accidents of the last seven decades, focusing on incidents in which more than 50 people died. It includes summaries of accident reports, accompanied by insights into the technical details, and diagrams and photographs of the relevant aeroplanes. This approach also demonstrates the way that the nature of accidents has changed over the years, as various hazards were identified and safety features introduced in response.
Ancestors on the Move
A History of Overseas Travel
Many families owe their present location to travel, whether emigration to the USA, transportation to Australia or migration from the Caribbean. This book charts the main sea routes, describes conditions on board ship, and details the records researchers can consult to trace their ancestors’ journey.
Victoria & Abdul
The Extraordinary True Story of the Queen's Closest Confidant
This account of the friendship between a young Indian servant and the elderly queen is based on contemporary journals and letters and has since been made into a film starring Judi Dench. It details Abdul Karim’s controversial role as ‘Munshi’ (teacher) of Urdu and Indian affairs to the Empress, who is revealed as a progressive, passionate woman who defended her ‘Dear Abdul’ to the last. Slightly off-mint.
The Reliant Robin
Britain's Most Bizarre Car
The three-wheeled Reliant Robin became something of a joke in British motoring during the 1980s but its practical design, low running costs and competitive price tag proved a successful formula in the 1970s for both private motoring and light commercial use. This account of the thirty-year career of the innovative fibreglass car also explores the company's other surprising models such as the sporty Bond Bug and the luxury Scimitar sports estate.
VCs of the First World War - 3 Books
For every First World War British or Commonwealth serviceman who was awarded the Victoria Cross, this series gives a short biography of the recipient and describes the action that won them Britain’s highest military honour. The revised and updated editions included in this set are: The Western Front 1915 (Read more...)Somme 1916 (Read more...) Road to Victory 1918 (Read more...)
From Cabin 'Boys' to Captains
250 Years of Women at Sea
For centuries the sea was considered a male preserve. Using interviews and unpublished sources, this book traces the lives of women seafarers, from 18th-century pirates such as Anne Bonney, and girls disguised as cabin boys, to the cruise-liner and container-ship captains of today.
Nelson's Lost Jewel
The Extraordinary Story of the Lost Diamond Chelengk
After the Battle of the Nile in 1798, Sultan Selim III presented Horatio Nelson with a chelengk – a diamond-studded turban ornament, its central star rotated by clockwork. Worn in the admiral's hat, it became his emblem. This book tells the story of its creation, and how it passed down through the family to be exhibited at the Royal Maritime Museum in Greenwich, where it was stolen in a 1951 burglary and never seen again.
Women of Intelligence
Winning the Second World War with Air Photos
Over half the staff of the Allied Central Interpretation Unit were women, and unusually for the time they were ranked equally with their male colleagues. In an ornate Victorian manor overlooking the Thames, they studied reconnaissance aerial photographs of occupied Europe in minute detail to discover the enemy’s activities. They were sworn to secrecy and it is only recently that their stories have emerged, presented here in their own words.
The Thames Ironworks
A History of East London Industrial and Sporting Heritage
Located in the heart of London’s Docklands, the Thames Iron Works pioneered metal-hulled ships in the mid 19th century, providing employment for much of the East End. Although it closed in 1912, its spirit lives on through the company's football team, which became West Ham United.
The Solitary Spy
A Political Prisoner in Cold War Berlin
A graduate of Britain’s top-secret Joint Services School for Linguistics, Douglas Boyd was posted to an RAF airbase in Berlin in 1958 to spy on the armed forces of Warsaw Pact countries. He was subsequently arrested and imprisoned in solitary confinement in Potsdam, where he was interrogated by the KGB. In this memoir, Boyd describes his work as a signals interceptor in Berlin, where he listened in on pilots flying over East Germany, and his encounters with key security personnel.
The Reichstag Fire
The Case Against the Nazi Conspiracy
By thoroughly re-examining all available evidence, this investigation into the arson attack on the German parliament building in 1933, four weeks after Hitler’s appointment as Reich chancellor, seeks to resolve the controversy over who started the Reichstag fire. It debunks claims that it was the Nazis themselves, and concludes that Marinus van der Lubbe, a communist sympathiser, was the lone perpetrator of a crime that arguably led to the worst atrocities of the 20th century.
An Outsider Inside No 10
Protecting the Prime Ministers, 1974–79
John Warwicker, a former Special Branch officer, tells the story of his six years in charge of security at No 10 Downing Street, protecting Prime Ministers Wilson, Callaghan and Thatcher during an era in which the Cold War and the IRA were ever-present threats.
Loyal to Empire
The Life of General Sir Charles Monro, 1860–1929
Charles Monro commanded divisions in France during the First World War and ordered the evacuation of Gallipoli in 1915 before being appointed Commander in Chief of India. This biography describes his contributions to the Army and the governance of the Empire.
Long Live the King
The Mysterious Fate of Edward II
The brutal murder of Edward II with a red-hot poker at Berkeley Castle is perhaps the most infamous of all royal deaths – but is it true? A remarkable document discovered in a Montpellier archive more than a century ago claims that he escaped to Ireland before making his way to Italy, where he lived as a hermit. This historical investigation charts his reign and his downfall, before carefully evaluating all the evidence for and against his survival.
Solving the Murder of Dr Helen Davidson
In November 1966, the body of Dr Helen Davidson, a GP in Amersham, was found in Hodgemoor Wood, near her Buckinghamshire home. Police surmised that she had surprised lovers and they had killed her, but no killers were ever found. Fifty years later, Monica Weller reopened this cold case and solved the mystery. In this book she describes her investigation and finally reveals the identity of the murderer.
A History of Britain in 100 Dogs
Showing how our canine companions have shared our history, Emma White’s dogs range from the indigenous fighting and hunting dogs of Roman Britain to 2003 and the native breeds now vulnerable to extinction. The illustrated history covers legendary dogs, famous individuals such as Greyfriars Bobby, Lassie and Charles Darwin’s Polly; topics including dog carts, heraldry and the RSPCA; and dogs of the same breed or function, such as bloodhounds, collies, regimental mascots, and heroes – the Dickin award-winners. Slightly off-mint.
An Elizabethan Assassin
Theodore Paleologus: Seducer, Spy and Killer
John Hall explores the myths and controversies surrounding Italian nobleman Theodore Paleologus, heir apparent to the throne of Byzantium, who in 1597 arrived in England to murder a traitorous compatriot, then remained in the pay of the Earl of Lincoln to sow misery among the English aristocracy until his death in 1636. The biography also scrutinizes Paleologus’s offspring, who fought one another in the English Civil War, and backs their father’s long-dismissed claim to the imperial throne.
A Clear Case of Genius
Room 40's Code-Breaking Pioneer
Admiral Sir Reginald ‘Blinker’ Hall (1870–1943) was the Director of Naval Intelligence throughout the First World War; Room 40 was his Admiralty HQ. In the 1920s he wrote an autobiography, but it was banned by government order. The parts that have survived, published here with commentary by Philip Vickers, give an absorbing account of Room 40's staff and their top-secret work, including the decryption of the Zimmermann telegram and the interception of Kaisermarine’s cypher system.
The Battles for Kos and Leros, 1943
With the intention of capitalizing on the Italian surrender in 1943, Churchill ordered the seizure of key islands in the Dodecanese, in spite of the fact that his plan was not supported by the Americans. This account of the campaign explains how a lack of air support contributed to the successful recapture of the islands from the defending British and Italian troops in one of the last significant German victories of the war.
The Acid Bath Murders
The Trials and Liquidations of John George Haigh
John Haigh did not deny the murders of which he was accused during his trial in 1949 but claimed insanity, citing a history of disturbing dreams and claiming that he had drunk the blood of his victims before dissolving their bodies in sulphuric acid. This new analysis of the famous case draws on unpublished archive material, including letters that Haigh wrote from prison while awaiting execution.
The Victorian Master Criminal
Charles Peace and the Murders of Cock and Dyson
Charles Peace had served several short prison terms for burglary before he killed a policeman during a robbery in Manchester in 1876. Later the same year a second murder provoked a nationwide hunt for Peace, who was only apprehended two years later in London, where he had been living luxuriously on the proceeds of his crimes. This book tells the story of one of Victorian England's most notorious criminals, his trial, eventual confession and execution.
The Tudors in 100 Objects
Beginning with a silver-gilt boar, the emblem of Richard III, retrieved from the site of the Battle of Bosworth and Henry Tudor’s victory, John Matusiak sets himself the task of ‘recreating Tudor England through the medium of 100 objects’. Arranged by theme, and unravelling the stories behind objects as diverse as a birthing chair, a velvet sun mask, a chimney and an executioner’s axe, the book is a fascinating exploration of the social and material world of Tudor times.
The Thieves of Threadneedle Street
The Victorian Fraudsters Who Almost Broke the Bank of England
Although still in his twenties, Austin Bidwell was an experienced international criminal at the time of his arrest for a fraud on the Bank of England in 1873. Based on original sources, including court transcripts, this is the story of the American con man and his four co-conspirators who successfully passed off bills of exchange until a small mistake led to their arrest and a trial that exposed the fragility of the financial system.
A Signaller's War
The Sketchbook Diary of Pte L Ellis
Underage at 17, Lawrence Ellis joined up to fight in 1915. He served first as a private in the Royal Field Artillery, then in the Corps of Royal Signallers on the Western Front, witnessing the aftermath of the Somme and action at Cambrai. Ellis kept a diary of his wartime experiences, from training to demobilization, to which he later added more detail and over 1,000 sketches: a vivid account of a young volunteer’s coming of age in the trenches.
Ships to Remember
1400 Years of Historic Ships
From St Brendan’s sixth-century curragh or ‘naomhóg’ to 20th-century vessels, including Cunard’s Lusitania, the Blue Riband passenger liner sunk by a U-boat in 1915, and the workaday tug Yelcho that rose to the challenge of rescuing Shackleton’s men from Elephant Island, Rorke Bryan tells the stories of some of history’s most remarkable ships and their crews. Each of the 25 chapters is accompanied by details of the ships’ careers, maps, and drawings and paintings by Austin Dwyer.
The Quest for Speed
Air Racing and the Influence of the Schneider Trophy Contests 1913–31
The Schneider Trophy, a seaplane speed contest held between 1913 and 1931, played an important role in the development of aviation technology between the wars. Manufacturers from rival powers learnt from each other’s innovations and designers developed concepts that would shape the iconic fighters of the Second World War. This book examines each of the competitions and the aircraft entered for them and also assesses how Supermarine’s race-winning planes were developed into the Spitfire.
Passenger Steamers of the River Conwy
Serving the Famous Trefriw Spa
In the 19th century, Trefriw, twelve miles upstream from Conwy in North Wales, began to attract visitors to sample the healing waters of its chalybeate well, which encouraged the foundation of a passenger steamer service to the village. This book explores the tourist steamer fleet that flourished on the route throughout the century and into the Edwardian period, and also the development of Trefriw into a fashionable spa town.