She tries out the communal medieval great hall, holds a candlelit tea party in a Georgian drawing room, explores the development of taste in a grand country house, discovers the wonders that gas and electric lighting brought to the Victorian parlour, and experiences leisure 1950s style. Lucy Worsley, chief curator of Historic Royal Palaces, focuses on the bedroom - a room which people now think of as one of the most private in the house and yet started for most as a noisy, busy communal space. A profile of her in the Nov. All these questions will be answered in this juicy, smelly, and truly intimate history of home life. Why, for centuries, did rich people fear fruit? The book is a tour of four main rooms of the house from medieval times forward, the bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen. It was taken over from 17th century England by the pilgrim fathers, and Americans were talking about things being crap in the 17th and 18th centuries. It died out because the Victorians found it rather undignified - and in the nineteenth century all the bedroom's social uses fell away and it finally became a private place used just for sleeping.
Why did gas lighting cause Victorian ladies to faint? I want to know what the average man did to earn his keep, feed his family, and clean his house. Why not Salem, Massachusetts in New England or Salem, Massachusetts, New England? Until only 100 years ago, people were happy to share not only their bedrooms but even their beds with work colleagues, or even strangers. November 2018 Worsley was born in ,. And did you know Americans store their hopes and dreams in closets? There is nothing stuffy about Worsley or her book, which is primarily an intimate history of bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms and kitchens. Lucy is the author of Courtiers: The Secret History of Kensington Palace and Cavalier: A Tale of Chivalry, Passion and Great Houses.
It's a guilty-pleasure history book: full of fascinating factoids and inferences about every day human behaviour in the past - the kind of thing that could inspire a teenager to do a history degree; however, if gathering evidence for an essay, you'd need volumes like those in the bibliography, as there are no footnotes, and this is obviously just popular narrative history to be devoured like a story. However, if your ears and eyes would prefer to read like it is 1888, then perhaps this isn't the book for you. Overall, If Walls Could Talk is a fascinating history of home and hearth that reminds me to be grateful for modern conveniences - many of which are more modern that I realised. Anyone who lives in a home with a kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedroom will delight in reading this history of the development of home life. That ground up makes really excellent tooth powder. In a word, she brings history alive.
I was born in Reading not great, but it could have been Slough , studied Ancient and Modern History at New College, Oxford, and I've got a PhD in art history from the University of Sussex. Why did gas lighting cause Victorian ladies to faint? Last year I started the book again and got so incensed by the Goodreads reviews from Americans who wanted special contextual footnotes or re-writing just to explain British things them, that I had to put the book away. A shirt 'today serves to keep the body clean', wrote a commentator in 1626, more 'effectively than the steam-baths of the ancients who were denied the use and convenience of linen'. There are some fascinating pieces of information and interesting suppositions in this book so far, but frankly I am going to have to take everything else in the book with a grain of salt. I was instinctively comfortable with these sections, whilst also thinking I'd have framed them a little more conditionally and cautiously if writing them down, and added supporting evidence. And it's fascinating how social mores and ideas of acceptable social behavior have changed over time. They put up with this lack of privacy partly for the lack of other options.
In the grandest Victorian houses, like Wightwick Manor in the West Midlands, we get sitting rooms and morning rooms and libraries and billiard rooms, and all of which could be described as living rooms. Friendly, informative and never boring. Don't belittle the book because it doesn't follow convention. At the same time, it makes me wonder what modern cultural or medical beliefs we hold will be mocked or looked upon with horror by future generations. 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 I am only on page 36 and am already pretty frustrated with this, and I may or may not keep reading. Worsley's personal touch adds humour and practicality to the mix, which strengthens the reading experience.
There were also precious few citations and no footnotes. And how did people brush their teeth with fish bones? It is only much later on bedrooms become private spaces deemed unsuitable to receiving visitors in, and Worsley takes us through each of their many uses: giving birth, dying, sex, masturbation, contraception and storing undergarments. Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful-William Morris 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. It's also got a very English feel to it. In any case the author of this book is the head of the agency that preserves several important British landmarks such as The Tower of London which is why the history of the home is told from a decidedly British point of view. Soon after that I moved to the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, in the lovely job for administrator of the Wind and Watermills Section. Archived from on 14 May 2014.
I find that Ms Worsley has an amazing ability to bring history to life, to make it interesting and accessible. Why did medieval people sleep sitting up? In 2014, the three-part series The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain explored the contributions of the German-born kings and. Worsley has excellent qualifications and works in this field. So they're interesting from that point of view. Luckily, while I am female, I am not Victorian, and I thought Worsley did a splendid job of walking the line between being forthright but nowhere near gross. In 2016, Worsley presented the three-part documentary Empire of the Tsars: Romanov Russia with Lucy Worsley in January and Lucy Worsley: Mozart's London Odyssey in June. Maid of the King's Court.
People in poverty feel, and indeed actually grow, poorer if forced to live in a sink estate, while the middle classes flee to their own leafy ghettoes outside city centres. All the details you want are there at the back of the book. Considering the alternatives, the hall floor was a terrific place to be: safe and warm, even if smoky, smelly and crowded. There are four main sections, looking at the bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen. It's also short; fully a third of the book on my Kindle is taken up with the bibliography, index and a whole series of pictures which should more properly have been in the body of the text, but presumably wouldn't fit. All of those processions, the regalia, the crown jewels — they're essential to our conception of who we are over here.
Worsley loves to ham it up and obviously delights in imagining all that history can offer the present. Courtesy of the author hide caption toggle caption Courtesy of the author Lucy Worsley is the chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity looking after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace State Apartments, the Banqueting House in Whitehall, and Kew Palace in Kew Gardens. This review also appears on my blog,. This has taken me from sauce stirring to breastfeeding, teeth cleaning to masturbation, getting dressed to getting married. Recommended for those who are addicted to shows such as Downton Abbey, Time Team and Antiques Roadshow. Packed into a little over 300 pages plus about a dozen inserts of colour images, this is an awful lot to cover in a relatively small space.
Retrieved 22 October 2016 — via lucyworsley. And don't get me started on the laundry! I was born in Reading not great, but it could have been Slough , studied Ancient and Modern History at New College, Oxford, and I've got a PhD in art history from the University of Sussex. Here I thought my closets mostly held clothes, bed linens - have to store the top sheets somewhere - and far too much junk. How were they fastened buttons and zippers are relatively modern inventions? All too brief in many places and almost too wide-ranging for such a short book yes, but put together it all works to make a cracking introductory tour through British domestic history. Topping and tailing in Britain was an eye-opener, as was the fact that the whole family slept in one room, particularly in the back-to-back houses that I didn't know about.