Victorian London

  • by Liza Picard
  • Narrated by Anton Lesser
  • 6 hrs and 39 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Like her previous books, this book is the result of the author's passionate interest in the realities of everyday life, and the conditions in which most people lived, so often left out of history books. This period of mid-Victorian London encompasses a huge range of subjects: Victoria's wedding and the place of the royals in popular esteem; how the very poor lived, the underworld, prostitution, crime, prisons and transportation; the public utilities, Bazalgette on sewers and road design, Chadwick on pollution and sanitation; private charities, Peabody, Burdett Coutts, and workhouses; new terraced housing and transport, trains, omnibuses, and the Underground; furniture and decor; families and the position of women; the prosperous middle classes and their new shops, e.g. Peter Jones, Harrods; entertaining and servants, food and drink; unlimited liability and bankruptcy; the rich, the marriage market, taxes and anti-semitism; the Empire, recruitment and press-gangs.
The period begins with the closing of the Fleet and Marshalsea prisons and ends with the first (steam-operated) Underground trains and the first Gilbert & Sullivan. All the splendours and horrors of Victorian life will be vividly recalled.


What the Critics Say

"Reading her book is like gazing at one of those energetic, crowded canvanses by the Victorian painter William Powell Frith." ( Evening Standard)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


This is by far one of the most insightful thorough books ever written on Victorian London. Liza Picard describes every aspect of life in this era. Packed full of fascinating facts and holds the reader from start to finish. I was sorry when it ended.
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- Heather

Puts Dickens in a very real context

This is a wonderful supplement to any reading of Victorian fiction - here is the background. Though the book depends perhaps a little too much on one or two particular sources (hence four stars, not five), this is vivacious, informative, and fascinating. It is beautifully read - Anton Lesser imparts the most complex information is a way which makes it all easy to follow.
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- Nicholas W. N. Jones

Book Details

  • Release Date: 19-04-2006
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Group Limited