© Caroline Davidson 2018 

Champagne & Shambles: The Arkwrights & the Country House in Crisis

Catherine Beale

The History Press

March 2015 (reprint)

Champagne and Shambles is essential reading for anyone who has visited country houses in Britain and wondered why they ceased to be homes and, if not destroyed, instead became 'national treasures', rescued by the National Trust, Historic England or other groups and individuals for preservation.

 

Catherine Beale uses the real-life period drama of the irrespressible Johnny Arkwright (1833-1905) to illustrate how landowners saw their world disintegrate and disappear. Crucially she reconnects the country house to the land which surrounded it and reveals that many of the issues facing the countryside today are not new.

 

Johnny Arkwright's spirited personality animates every page, but even his extraordinary energy cannot resist the enemies that muster against his kind, including urban expansion, state legislation, anti-landlordism, imported foods and even the great British weather.

 

Champagne and Shambles rescues our national treasures from nostalgia and repopulates them with real people facing frightening times, showing how it felt to let such a rich inheritance go.

Eleftherios Venizelos: Greece 

Andrew Dalby

Haus Publishing Ltd

2011

Andrew Dalby profiles the Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos (1864–1936), one of the stars of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference.

 

He impressed many of the Western delegates who had a romantic view of ‘the grandeur that was Greece'. His charm and oratorical style of speaking evoked much admiration.

 

Venizelos won support for his country’s territorial ambitions in Asia Minor. The Greeks' ‘Great Idea’ was of a revived Hellenic empire controlling the Aegean and stretching to the Black Sea.

History

The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister

Helena Whitbread

Virago Press

June 2012

Anne Lister (1791−1840) defied the stereotype of nineteenth-century womanhood: she was bold, fiercely independent, a landowner, industrialist, traveller - and lesbian.

 

She kept intimate diaries of her life and loves, much of which were written in code. Helena Whitbread presents a revised edition of Anne’s diaries.