This is a comprehensive history by anecdote, so the enlightening facts come thick and fast... Picard enforces the idea that history really is all around us.
A highly readable account of nineteenth-century London... Picard's book is a mine of information told with great enthusiasm and passion.
Her survey of Victorian London is as enjoyably wide-ranging as her previous volumes, and her curiosity about apparent trivia resurrects the realities of the past more successfully than many more solemn works of social and political analysis do.
I was delighted, as usual, by Liza Picard's Victorian London, the fourth of her grand series on life in the capital
This book is a feast of tit-bits, bringing 19th-century London to life piecemeal with the accumulation of facts ... a valuable addition to the literature of London
She cannot be denied her bid for the heavyweight crown. She writes the old history, descriptive and unanalytical, painted in exhilarating colours
Picard enjoys recounting the gruesome daily mechanics of living in what Cobbett described as "the great wen"
Thus the book proceeds, by typifying anecdotes, which are well chosen and impeccably annotated, and all linked together by Picard's untroubling, readable prose
The glories of Picard's magpie style are immediately apparent. She paints a picture with deft, sure strokes, then finds the perfect quotation
Her vivid panorama of London between 1840 and 1870
Vividness is the book's aim, and this is achieved splendidly
A wonderful achievement
Whether she is describing the music halls, such as the Alhambra in Leicester Square, or the criminal underworld, or the foundation of London University, or the lives of the costermongers, or the expansion of the middle-class suburbs, she never loses her eye for the telling detail. Reading her book is like gazing at one of those energetic, crowded canvases by the Victorian painter William Powel Frith, who brought the age to life through a multiplicity of detail
She is an engaging companion, always wondering out loud about the sort of questions which you've asked yourself ... an enjoyable book
Liza Picard's Victorian London is a mine of information and very readable
This is a comprehensive history by anecdote, so the enlightening facts come thick and fast, from the suggestion that Queen Victoria had a slight German accent to the idea that linoleum is best washed with milk. And while there is certainly no pretence at some grand narrative, there is a genuine sense of time and place. It makes it a book to pick at - where else could one find out about velocipedes, costermongers and the "Monster School"? - but it's also one that adds incalculable depth to a walk round the capital. From houses to cemeteries, Picard enforces the idea that history really is all around us