Victorian London: The Tale of a City 1840--1870
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Victorian London: The Tale of a City 1840--1870

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  577 ratings  ·  31 reviews
To Londoners, the years 1840 to 1870 were years of dramatic change and achievement. As suburbs expanded and roads multiplied, London was ripped apart to build railway lines and stations and life-saving sewers. The Thames was contained by embankments, and traffic congestion was eased by the first underground railway in the world.

A start was made on providing housing for th...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published March 7th 2006 by St. Martin's Press (first published August 4th 2005)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Victorian London, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Victorian London

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,624)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Marte Patel
Jan 04, 2008 Marte Patel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Marte by: Victoria
Shelves: non-fiction, history
I enjoyed this book, although I got a little bit repetitive towards the end. The author chose to focus only on the years 1840-1870, which is definitely a good thing. Almost just the right length, with beautiful photos and a very interesting insight into Victorian London. Definitely recommended! Thanks Victoria!
Apr 27, 2009 rabbitprincess rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs
Recommended to rabbitprincess by: uncle
Shelves: cadeau, non-fiction, 2009
It's a mighty big effort to write about 30 years in the life of a city, especially one as big as London that was going through so many changes at that time. Still, Liza Picard manages to cover the essentials while packing in lots of interesting tidbits and providing her own witty commentary in places. Each chapter covers an aspect of life in London: for example, death, religion, education, and my favourite (the first chapter), smells. I was particularly interested in the section that covered the...more
Jill Hutchinson
This book covers the mid-years of Queen Victoria's reign and they were years of dramatic change and achievement.In 1840, London was basically a pest-hole, with sewage running in the streets and fouling the River Thames, crowded and filthy slums, appalling poverty, and disease. The author shows the reader the physical reality of daily living and it is not a pretty picture. But as the century moved forward, progress was made.....flushing lavatories, underground railways, umbrellas, letter boxes, a...more
Andrea Bowhill
Liza Picard opens up this book To Londoners, but I can safely add to history lovers, tourist and anyone fascinated with this Victorian era for the years of 1840-1870 there is simply a wealth of information about the social everyday life of Londoners. For all modern day Londoners living the life no need to look down at the pavement on your daily drudge to work because after reading this book you may look up and have thoughts of enlightenment and wonder. This era gives you an account of how you ca...more
If Guy Ritchie has one excuse to make another Sherlock Holmes movie, it is to be the filmmaker who built a scale model of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham and then blew it up. Or blew part of it up. I'd settle for a wing, and pay the twenty bucks to see it done in IMAX.

'Reclaimed', in the modern parlance, from the glass hall built for the Great Exhbition in 1851, the Crystal Palace was a Victorian Epcot Center of the ancient and prehistoric , built in the center of a three story hothouse, overdon...more
Jun 24, 2012 Nancy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Nancy by: Petra X
While it may seem odd to give 4 stars to a book I tagged as "did-not-finish", this really is that sort of book. Ms. Picard covers a wide range of topics, some of which didn't interest me. Victorian London is not a linear read, like a novel or history book, but a collection of chapters about different aspects of Victorian life. Feel free to skip to the chapters on topics that you care about. I found the chapters on the day to day lives of people in various classes particularly engaging. This is...more
Ade Cox
Absolute gold! This is history as I had never read before. Liza Picard takes an era of history (in this case Victorian) and tells it with the trivia of the day. You learn huge amounts very, very quickly by her conjuring up the sights, sounds and smells of London in the time she is portraying. I cannot recommend Liza Picard books whether written or audiobooks. Am now listening to Dr Johnson's London and that is at least as good if not better.
I had been enjoying this until the author Liza Picard went on a vicious tirade against MY Queen Victoria. I could just spit. I'd rip the pages out of the book and gleefully burn them but this is a library copy...
Amie Bjorklund
I used this as a research book for my thesis and it did not disappoint. It is filled with facts and information, organized for easy use. This is a great tool for anyone who is interested in the details of Victorian England.
Tambra Kendall
This book is packed with information. This is a keeper for my research shelf. Ms. Picard has a very relatable and likable writing style. I am enjoying how the book is laid out and her explanations of why she what information and why she only took the time periods of 1840 to 1870. I am planning to buy her other books as well.
I am trying to learn about the Victorian era for a series of books I'm planning to write.
I recommend this book for anyone interested in the era or to would like to learn abou...more
This book is a fun reference work of useful information. Ms. Picard covers London in the middle years of Victoria's reign and the nineteenth century, giving invaluable descriptions of daily life, public works, and entertainments. I would recommend it for anyone who would like a good grounding in mid-Victorian London.

Recommended for historical novelists, steampunk authors, and anyone with an interest in history of everyday life.
Really well written, this general history covers more than just the usual topics of a history, and strives to bring Victorian London to life. It has chapters on Smell, on clothing, Death, Education and more. Unfortunately, Picard can't go into depth, but by conscientiously acknowledging her sources (as well as assessing them), she provides you with a good starting point to find out for yourself what you want to know.

If you're interested in a more focused exploration of urban life during the time of Vanity Fair, then Victorian London could be a good choice. This book wasn't intended to clarify mid-nineteenth-century English life for readers, but could offer the snapshot of London at the time that you're looking for.
Guido Henkel
This book is a wonderful collection of all things London during the early Victorian days. To me it is an invaluable research tool for my own "Jason Dark" series. It is nicely structured and has so far covered everything I was looking for about life during that era.
Miramira Endevall
The writing is ridiculously biased rather than investigative, but informative nevertheless. I've picked and skimmed through it without really thoroughly reading it - the author's tone bothers me. Folks working Dicken's Fair would do well to read it.
Tory Ferrera
Great history of 19th century London with excellent photos. You get a feel for the conflicting values of the Victorians and how fast the world was changing at that time. It also makes one grateful for modern plumbing...
A great wealth of information, written in a way that is entertaining, just like her other time period books. Didn't read the whole thing, but when I need it, i'll keep coming back to it.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The Library Lady
She seemed to run out of steam by the last few chapters. But overall her writing style made this entertaining as well as informative.
Wonderfully written: comprehensive, entertaining, educational, humourous, horrible, and weird. Highly recommended.
Mar 10, 2010 Jen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
$10 (at 50% off) at a bargain bookstore! You cannot imagine my delight at getting such a gem.
This is a fantastic book for research on the Victorina era. Steampunk writers- get this book.
Laura Lee
Lots of fun tidbits! Some things I knew nothing about, as much Victorian literature I read.
kinda long and with too much minute details that it ends up feeling more like a list than a book.
Fascinating read. Ideal for history buffs and those who enjoy knowing odd facts.
A really great book shows us how everything is great and worth to die for
Gives good context for late 19th/early 20th c British novels.
Absolutely loved it. There is nothing else to say. Very detailed.
Stephanie Borders
In in-depth view of daily Victorian life.
Reading as background for my first book...
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 87 88 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England
  • The Victorians
  • London in the Nineteenth Century: A Human Awful Wonder of God
  • The London Underworld in the Victorian Period: Authentic First-Person Accounts by Beggars, Thieves and Prostitutes
  • Victorian People and Ideas
  • 1700
  • The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England
  • The Secret History of Georgian London: How the Wages of Sin Shaped the Capital
  • Inventing the Victorians
  • Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England
  • City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late-Victorian London
  • An Elegant Madness: High Society in Regency England
  • London 1849: A Victorian Murder Story
  • The Victorian Underworld
  • Necropolis: London and Its Dead
  • Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England
  • The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy
  • London: A Social History
Liza Picard was born in 1927. She read law at the London School of Economics and qualified as a barrister, but did not practise. She spent many years working in the office of the Solicitor of the Inland Revenue and lived in Gray’s Inn and Hackney, before retiring to live in Oxford.

Her legal training encouraged her to seek original evidence, rather than rely on other peoples' research. This she sa...more
More about Liza Picard...
Elizabeth's London: Everyday Life in Elizabethan London Dr. Johnson's London: Coffee-Houses and Climbing Boys, Medicine, Toothpaste and Gin, Poverty and Press-Gangs, Freakshows and Female Education Restoration London: Everyday Life in the 1660s The Life of London (4 Volume Set): Elizabeth's London, Dr. Johnson's London, Restoration London and Victorian London

Share This Book