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The richly varied lives of the Martin brothers reflected the many upheavals of Britain in the age of Industrial Revolution. Low-born and largely unschooled, they were part of a new generation of artists, scientists and inventors who witnessed the creation of the modern world. William, the eldest, was a cussedly eccentric inventor who couldn't look at a piece of machinery without thinking about how to improve it; Richard, a courageous and tantalisingly elusive soldier, fought in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo; Jonathan, a hellfire preacher tormented by madness and touched with a visionary genius reminiscent of William Blake, almost burned down York Minster in 1829; while John, the youngest Martin, single-handedly invented, mastered and exhausted an entire genre of painting, the apocalyptic sublime, while playing host to the foremost writers, scientists and thinkers of his day. In The Firebringers Max Adams interweaves the fascinating story of this maverick family with a magisterial and multi-faceted account of the industrial, political and artistic ferment of early 19th-century Britain. His narrative centres on a generation of inventors, artists and radical intellectuals (including the chemist Humphry Davy, the engineer George Stephenson, the social reformer Robert Owen and the poet Shelley) who were seeking to liberate humanity from the tyranny of material discomfort and political oppression. For Adams, the shared inspiration that binds this generation together is the cult of Prometheus, the titan of ancient Greek mythology who stole fire from Zeus to give to mortal man, and who became a potent symbol of political and personal liberation from the mid-18th century onwards. Whether writing about Davy's invention of the miner's safely lamp, the scandalous private life of the Prince Regent, the death of Shelley or J.M.W. Turner's use of colour, Adams's narrative is pacy, characterful, and rich in anecdote, quotation and memorable character sketch. Like John Martin himself, he has created a sprawling and brightly coloured canvas on an epic scale.
In the spring of 1895 the life of Constance Wilde changed irrevocably. Up until the conviction of her husband, Oscar, for homosexual crimes, she had held a privileged position in society. Part of a gilded couple, she was a popular children's author, a fashion icon, and a leading campaigner for women's rights. A founding member of the magical society the Golden Dawn, her pioneering and questioning spirit encouraged her to sample some of the more controversial aspects of her time. Mrs Oscar Wilde was a phenomenon in her own right. But that spring Constance's entire life was eclipsed by scandal. Forced to flee to the Continent with her two sons, her glittering literary and political career ended abruptly. Having changed her name, she lived in exile until her death. Franny Moyle now tells Constance's story with a fresh eye and remarkable new material. Drawing on numerous unpublished letters, she brings to life the story of a woman at the heart of fin-de-siecle London and the Aesthetic movement. In a compelling and moving tale of an unlikely couple caught up in a world unsure of its moral footing, she uncovers key revelations about a woman who was the victim of one of the greatest betrayals of all time.
One of the bloodiest - and most romanticized - episodes in British history, the Civil War period was also one of the most copmplex. For three hundred years the civil wars have raised as many questions as leading historians could provideanswers; John Kenyon, a leading authority on the Stuart period, interprets that bitter and tormented age for the late twentieth century.
Bath, like Venice, is a city which is a 'total heritage site'. Its beauty lies in its exquisite Georgian architecture, its terraces, crescents and villas, but they came into being through fashion, and that fashion was made by Richard Nash, a self-made man from Swansea, son of a bottle maker, who became Master of Ceremonies in Bath in 1705, and soon made it the most fashionable place in Britain. This book is his biography. That so little is known about his early life is a tribute to his skill in inventing himself. We have to rely on the rich anecdotes about him - to a large extent the Nash of anecdote is the real man. Nash was born in 1674. He went up to Oxford but trouble with women soon took him down. Oxford was followed by the army or navy, and military life by the inns of Court, but his prime reputation was as a gambler. Then Bath's Master of Ceremonies was killed in a duel, and the Beau saw an opening. But how did this rackety adventurer become a leader of society who could turn away duchesses for being improperly dressed? When Nash came to Bath it was a small resort catering for the sick, when he died in mid century it was already the most beautiful city in the kingdom, to be visited by virtually every famous figure of Britain. Nash is the main character among scores who cross its pages in this fascinating 18th century story. It embraces tourism and spa culture, dancing and gambling (all aspects, morality of, legislation, how to play), property development and developers, landladies, town planning, religion, medicine, the marriage market - in Europe's hottest resort city. These are the questions this highly original biography by a young cultural historian sets out to answer, set against the background of a dynamic and changing center, which with its awareness of style, its consumerism and love of celebrity anticipated much of our modern world.
Robert Emmet was the leader of the doomed July 1803 rebellion. After a rapidly convened trial he was executed for treason by the British government in September 1803. He quickly became a legend, fuelled by his speech from the dock after the judge pronounced sentence, his doomed romance with Sarah Curran (whose father, a Patriot advocate, had refused to help Emmet), the moving scenes from his last night in prison, and his courage and defiance at the scaffold. His speech, 'When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then and only then may my epitaph be written' is among the great cri de coeurs of the republicans movement and was the romantic inspiration for the 'blood and honour' legend that built up around him. This coloured the whole course of the fight for Irish nationalism. Two hundred years from his death, many nationalists can still recite by heart his famous death oration. Because he never had a formal burial there has been a 200-year obsession with where his body might be buried.
Robert Emmet, the leader of the doomed July 1803 rebellion, was executed for treason by the British government in September 1803. He became a legend, fuelled by his speech from the dock after the judge pronounced sentence, his doomed romance with Sarah Curran (whose father, a Patriot advocate, had refused to help Emmet), the moving scenes from his last night in prison, and his courage and defiance at the scaffold. Two hundred years from his death, many nationalists can still recite by heart his famous death oration.
James Aitken, alias James Boswell, alias James Hill, alias James Hinde was born in Edinburgh in 1752, one of twelve children. His father died when he was young. He trained as a house painter but couldn't find work and tramped the country looking for jobs, housebreaking and pick-pocketing. A two-year spell in America - where again he couldn't find work and was refused by the army - didn't dampen his ardour. As terrorists always do, he decided to strike where it would hurt most - in the naval dockyards. They were vital to keep British naval supremacy. No ships = no navy. His first act of terror was to burn down Portsmouth Dockyard in December 1776 but luckily he only managed to destroy the Rope House. Bristol was next, where he set some fires. of scare stories. Was he acting alone? Or part of a gang? And who were his American masters? At the height of the scare, George III was being briefed daily and offered a personal reward. Habeas corpus was suspended. In the end, the huge rewards offered for information led to his capture and inevitable execution.
Between the mid-18th and mid-19th centuries, Britain evolved from a
substantial international power yet relative artistic backwater
into a global superpower and a leading cultural force in Europe. In
this original and wide-ranging book, Hoock illuminates the manifold
ways in which the culture of power and the power of culture were
interwoven in this period of dramatic change.
London has seventeen points where the Thames can be strolled over ranging from the fantastically fruity Tower Bridge to the grim functionalism of Wandsworth. Cross River Traffic tells the history of the current crossings (and their predecessors) - why and how they were built as well as incidents that have occurred on them, from ghost stories to terrorist plots, sexual antics to suicides. The book explores the reasons why the crossings are situated where they are and the effect on the communities they link as well as on London as a whole. The bridges stitch the north and south of the river together, and are crucial in making it the unified metropolis of the Victorian era and are aiding the refashioning of London's waterfront in the 21st century. It also answers crucial questions such as why do London's bikers meet on Chelsea Bridge, who was assassinated on Waterloo and how a hairdresser save Hammersmith and a poet the Albert Bridge. Illustrated with stunning photographs of each bridge by a selection of London based photographers, Cross River Traffic is a delightfully digressive and informative history.
The first Tay Bridge collapsed into the sea in 1879 only 18 months after it had opened, drowning 72 people travelling by train to Dundee. Shock reverberated through Britain, and the public demanded answers. The bridge had been hailed as a triumph of construction, and its fall shook society's confidence in the excellence of Victorian engineering. This epic tale of engineering follows the rise and fall of the career of engineer Thomas Bouch, ostracised from the engineering community when his bridge crashed into the Tay estuary. Over four decades, a fierce and dirty railway war drove forward the construction of the two largest railway bridges in the world, symbols of a modernising Scotland. Charles McKean offers new conclusions about why the first Tay Bridge collapsed and tells how the Forth and Tay bridges eventually became reality. He follows the railway battle for Scotland from 1845 - 95 and the people it involved: from the Victorian entrepreneurs, poets, journalists, lawyers, town councils; to the engineers, briggers, excavators and rivet boys; to the pioneering and inventive contractor William Arrol - who constructed the bridges that stand today. Meticulously researched and vividly told, "Battle for the North" explores the complicated reality underlying the Victorian pursuit of progress.
Originally published in 1991, and made available once again in this new edition, "Our Mothers’ Land "had been a pioneering text in the then-nascent field of Welsh women’s history. Ranging widely across both time and place, the book explores the many different lifestyles of Welsh women and also addresses the idealized image of Welsh women presented in periodicals, as well as the transgressive actions of advocates for suffrage.
This work provides a study of Benjamin Disraeli, one of the most enigmatic British political characters of the 19th century. Later generations associated the name of Disraeli with an awakening of the imperial spirit which they dubbed the "New Imperialism". Was Disraeli a prophet and pioneer of the New Imperialism or merely a charlatan intent on short-term political gain? By examining Disraeli's ideas and policies in their domestic, foreign and imperial contexts (as well as making use of his literary works), the author seeks to provide a new perspective on Disraeli the politician, his contribution to the emergence of the New Imperialism and to the character of British imperialism in the longer term.
While the Christian faith has played a major part in the history of both Wales and Scotland, there has been little previous work looking at their histories in a comparative manner. In the light of the establishment of the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament, this issue is of particular contemporary importance. This collection discusses religion in Scotland and Wales from a historical perspective and examines the contribution of religion to the sense of national identity in the period from the Evangelical Revival to the present day. It suggests that the histories of the two nations are only understood when the religious dimension is taken seriously. The various essays collected here offer new perspectives on particular denominations, from the Scottish Covenanters to Welsh Methodism, as well as discussing individual figures such as Howell Harris, Edward Irving and Arthur Price, in order to examine the complex relationship between language, national identity and religion. Religion and National Identity is an original and timely contribution, not only to the religious histories of Wales and Scotland, but also to the collective history of Great Britain in the modern period.
"Epic in the scale of tragedy, the loss of life, destruction of property and the injection of a new bitterness into the "ancient quarrel" between Ireland and England...Gahan tries to give us not just the facts of the rebellion but the probable state of mind of the participants at different stages in the saga." - Deaglan de Breadun. "...a masterpiece, a meticulously researched and written academic work for the lay reader and scholar alike...the complete definition and description of the military campaign on both sides, United Irish and English, in the two months of the most bloody warfare since the Williamite or Cromwellian campaigns" - Nicolas Furlong.
The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain provides a readable and comprehensive survey of the economic history of Britain since industrialisation, based on the most up-to-date research into the subject. Roderick Floud and Paul Johnson have assembled a team of fifty leading scholars from around the world to produce a set of volumes which are both a lucid textbook for students and an authoritative guide to the subject. The text pays particular attention to the explanation of quantitative and theory-based enquiry, but all forms of historical research are used to provide a comprehensive account of the development of the British economy. Volume I covers the period 1700-1860 when Britain led the world in the process of industrialisation. It will be an invaluable guide for undergraduate and postgraduate students in history, economics and other social sciences.
Transported by rats and fleas in the trading vessels plying between Ireland, England, and France, the plague appeared in Dublin and Drogheda in the summer of 1348. By land and sea it penetrated many regions, reaching outwards to Waterford, Youghal, Cork, and Limerick, wiping out whole communities in its path. Maria Kelly goes in search of the "Great Pestilence" and traces how the Irish reacted to this seemingly invisible killer.
This autobiography by Len Rush traces his life from childhood to his appointment by the Queen as her Royal Lofts Manager. As a child, he remembers being busy pig-keeping, crow-scaring and riding giant horses that did the work of tractors on a farm where both his parents were employed in the Norfolk countryside which today exists as a suburb of Kings Lynn.;He recalls the events which led to his royal appointment, when he received a letter from the Queen's agent at Sandringham in 1960 and was astonished to learn that the Queen knew of his reputation as a pigeon fancier and wished to appoint him as her Royal Lofts Manager. He kept the birds in lofts in his back garden and tells of the royal visits he had every year. This is a story written with the enthusiasm that made him so successful at his favourite occupation.
George III was born in 1738, and came to the throne in 1760, marrying his wife Charlotte in 1761 and producing with her no fewer than fifteen children. George was afflicted with porphyria, a painful disease which disrupted his reign as early as 1765 and, following further attacks of 'madness', went on to debilitate him in the last years of his reign. Personal rule was given to his son George, the Prince Regent, in 1811. George III died blind, deaf and mad at Windsor Castle on January 29, 1820.One of the longest reigns in British history, George's rule coincided with some of the most important events in world history, namely the American and French Revolutions and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. This magisterial work by Aiken, a contemporary biographer of the highest calibre, catalogues in fascinating detail the major events of this most remarkable reign. This first volume covers events up to the great British victory over Napoleon at Waterloo.
This book deals with changing methods of crop and livestock production during the Age of Improvement in Ireland, and some of the ways in which they shaped rural society and the landscape. Irish agricultural improvers were part of an international exchan
Presented in memory of the distinguished historian Philip Lawson, this collection of essays examines the domestic and colonial history of Britain in the period between the Hanoverian succession and the early-19th century. Beginning with two historiographical surveys, the contributions go on to discuss many of the issues at the forefront of historical research and controversy: the aristocracy, the British problem, the political role of women, British identity, and the problems of empire in both India and America.
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