If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home
Why did the flushing toilet take two centuries to catch on? Why did Samuel Pepys never give his mistresses an orgasm? Why did medieval people sleep sitting up? When were the two "dirty centuries"? Why did gas lighting cause Victorian ladies to faint? Why, for centuries, did people fear fruit? All these questions will be answered in this juicy, smelly, and truly intimate h
"Every single object in your home has its own important story to tell..."
If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home focuses on the history of the home, mainly four rooms - bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen. Most of the book focuses on English history and distinguishes between various social classes. The noble class and their servants feature prominently in the stories.
Changes in hygiene, technology, and social customs and ...more
For this book, there's a bibliography, there's a topical index, but there are NO FOOTNOTES. If you tell me that a medieval travel guide used certain phrases, then I want to know what travel guide it was, I don't want to have to pour through the bibliography hoping to stumble a ...more
It turns out that the book is an accompaniment to a television program of the same name that was shown on the BBC. And it reads as such. There are four main sections, looking at the bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen. Within each section there are little bits related to those areas - some are only a page or two, some a little longer. They are written in a very conversational style, and while I'm sure Dr. Worsley has an appropriat ...more
A few caveats, however:
1) This is about the BRITISH home. Actually, to be even more specific, it is about the ENGLISH home, as Scotland, Wales and Ireland are barely mentioned.
American (not to mention non-Western hemisphere) domestic dwellings and habits evolved differently. And while the Unite ...more
In a word, she brings history alive.
All the things a modern man (or woman) might instinctively associate with medieval, Tudorian, or perhaps Victorian age, the author ...more
“If Walls Could Ta ...more
If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home is written in a very readable tone, and covers the four main areas of the house: the bedroom, the bathroom, the living room and the kitchen, from medieval times to the present day. While most of the books I review are Christian, this one is not, and those with delicate sensibilities might be advised to avoid it.
As ‘An Intimate History of the ...more
Also, I expected An Intimate History of the Home to be a history reaching back further in time, and ranging over more of the world. This should have been titled An Intimate History of the Home in Britain from the Normans On, With Spe ...more
I haven't seen the series hosted by the author, Dr. Lucy Worsley - who has one of the world's dream jobs as chief curator at the not-for-profit caretaker charity Historic Royal Palaces - and perhaps her flighty, tip of t ...more
It took me a while to finish it because I've been reading novels at the same time. But I could have devoured this much faster if I had wanted too. Instead I savoured it.
I shall now read her other book "The courtiers"
** Having glanced down the list of ...more
Last year I s ...more
Want to know how Tudor England dealt with a gravy stain on the tablecloth? They peed on it. Or more accurately and with more decorum, the household laundry staff blotted the greasy spot with urine, which it turns out is a great stain-fighting agent.
Worsley loves to ham it up and obviously delights in imagining all that history can offer the present. Her interest is infectious and passing on her enthusiasm seems to be her purpose in writing the book. To me, she ...more
From the blurb:
Why did the flushing toilet take two centuries to catch on? Why did Samuel Pepys never give his mistresses an orgasm? Why did medieval people sleep sitting up? When were the two 'dirty centuries'? Why did gas lighting cause Victorian ladies to faint? Why, for centuries, did people fear fruit? All these questions will be answered in this juicy, smelly and truly intimate history of home life. Lucy Worsley takes us through the bedr ...more
Although many comparison will be drawn to Bill Bryson's "At Home" (2010), I believe that Lucy Worsley's addition to our knowledge of the home and home life is superior for several reasons. To be sure, Bryson has his charms, but "At Home" was a particularly disjointed ramble, although an enjoyable one. Worsley, however, manages to stay very much on topic, and focuses less on how the introduction of new technologies and information changed the room ...more
It sounds dull on paper, but the book is fascinating. And it answers questions I've always wondered abou ...more
I feel like I have so much to learn from Lucy Worsley, not only interesting facts, but also how to write a damn good book! I love her writing style, it's just like she's talking to you in one of her tv programmes. Also, I learned so many new little history tidbits that I am sure to pass on to anybody willing to listen.
The concluding chapter was a nice ending to the book. It made me slightly frightened of the future, but it really brought the histor ...more
It is generally an interesting book with some excellent information on day to day household life in prior centuries. Unfortunately for my curiosity, most of it focuses on intimate history of upper classes. I realize there is not much source material available for middle and lower classes. Mundane everyday life was rarely recorded for ordinary folks and ...more
My first job after leaving college was at a crazy but wonderful historic house called Milton Manor in Oxfordshire. Here I would give guided tours, occasionally feed the llamas, and look for important pieces of p ...more