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Adrian Tinniswood is the author of fourteen books of social and architectural history. A Senior Research Fellow at the University of Buckingham and a Visiting Fellow in Heritage and History at Bath Spa University, he has worked for and with the National Trust at local, regional and national level for more than thirty years. In 2013 he was awarded an OBE for services to heritage.
There is nothing quite as beautiful as an English country house in summer. And there has never been a summer quite like that Indian summer between the two world wars, a period of gentle decline in which the sun set slowly on the British Empire and the shadows lengthened on the lawns of a thousand stately homes. Real life in the country house during the 1920s and 1930s was not always so sunny. By turns opulent and ordinary, noble and vicious, its shadows were darker. In The Long Weekend, Adrian Tinniswood uncovers the truth about a world half-forgotten, draped in myth and hidden behind stiff upper lips and film-star smiles.
A delightful journey through the glamorous story of the English country house party by the bestselling historian. Croquet. Parlour games. Cocktails. Welcome to a glorious journey through the golden age of the country house party - and you are invited. Our host, celebrated historian Adrian Tinniswood, traces the evolution of this quintessentially British pastime from debauched royal tours to the flamboyant excess of the Bright Young Things. With cameos by the Jazz Age industrialist, the bibulous earl and the off-duty politician - whether in moated manor houses or ornate Palladian villas - Tinniswood gives a vivid insight into weekending etiquette and reveals the hidden lives of celebrity guests, from Nancy Astor to Winston Churchill, in all their drinking, feasting, gambling and fornicating. The result is a deliciously entertaining, star-studded, yet surprisingly moving portrait of a time when social conventions were being radically overhauled through the escapism of a generation haunted by war - and a uniquely fast-living period of English history. Praise for The Long Weekend: 'Delicious, occasionally fantastical, revealing in ways that Downton Abbey never was. It is as if Tinniswood is at the biggest, wildest, most luxuriantly decadent party ever thrown, and he knows everyone.' Observer 'A deliciously jaunty and wonderfully knowledgeable book. Tinniswood displays a terrific insider's grasp of gossip . A meticulous, irresistible story.' Spectator 'Elegant, encyclopedic and entertaining . A confident and skilled historian who understands the mores of his era and wears his learning lightly . Deserves to be on every costume drama producer's bookshelf.' Times
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge has been at the forefront of scientific endeavour for more than 350 years, since receiving its royal charter from Charles II in 1662. Philosophical Transactions, published in 1665, established the concepts of scientific priority and peer review and is the oldest scientific journal in continuous publication in the world. The 8,000 fellows elected to the Society to date include all of the scientific leading lights of the last four centuries, including Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Tim Berners-Lee and Stephen Hawking. The Society's motto, nullius in verba, 'on the word of no one', is a reminder of its founders' belief that authority must always be questioned; hypotheses can never be taken for granted; truths must be demonstrated or they are not truths at all. Adrian Tinniswood examines why the Royal Society has been such a pivotal institution in the cultural life of Britain and the world.
An upstairs/downstairs history of the British royal court, from the Middle Ages to the reign of Queen Elizabeth II Monarchs: they're just like us. They entertain their friends and eat and worry about money. Henry VIII tripped over his dogs. George II threw his son out of the house. James I had to cut back on the alcohol bills. In Behind the Throne, historian Adrian Tinniswood uncovers the reality of five centuries of life at the English court, taking the reader on a remarkable journey from one Queen Elizabeth to another and exploring life as it was lived by clerks and courtiers and clowns and crowned heads: the power struggles and petty rivalries, the tension between duty and desire, the practicalities of cooking dinner for thousands and of ensuring the king always won when he played a game of tennis. A masterful and witty social history of five centuries of royal life, Behind the Throne offers a grand tour of England's grandest households.
Behind the Throne is a history of family life. The families concerned were royal families. But they still had to get up in the morning. They ate and entertained their friends and worried about money. Henry VIII kept tripping over his dogs. George II threw his son out of the house. James I had to cut back on the drink bills. The great difference is that royal families had more help with their lives than most. Charles I maintained a household of 2,000 people. Victoria's medical establishment alone consisted of thirty doctors, three dentists and a chiropodist. Even in today's more democratic climate, Elizabeth II keeps a full-time staff of 1,200. A royal household was a community, a vast machine. Everyone, from James I's Master of the Horse down to William IV's Assistant Table Decker, was there to smooth the sovereign's path through life while simultaneously confirming his or her status. Behind the Throne uncovers the reality of five centuries of life at the English court, taking the reader on a remarkable journey from one Queen Elizabeth to another and exploring life as it was lived by clerks and courtiers and clowns and crowned heads: the power struggles and petty rivalries, the tension between duty and desire; the practicalities of cooking dinner for thousands, or ensuring the king always won when he played a game of tennis. Behind the Throne is nothing less than a domestic history of the royal household, a reconstruction of life behind the throne. Readers go on progress with Elizabeth I as she takes her court and her majesty to her subjects. They dance the conga round the state rooms of Buckingham Palace with George VI. They find out what it was like to dine with queens, and walk with kings.
'A masterpiece of social history' Daily Mail There is nothing quite as beautiful as an English country house in summer. And there has never been a summer quite like that Indian summer between the two world wars, a period of gentle decline in which the sun set slowly on the British Empire and the shadows lengthened on the lawns of a thousand stately homes. Real life in the country house during the 1920s and 1930s was not always so sunny. By turns opulent and ordinary, noble and vicious, its shadows were darker. In The Long Weekend, Adrian Tinniswood uncovers the truth about a world half-forgotten, draped in myth and hidden behind stiff upper lips and film-star smiles. Drawing on hundreds of memoirs, on unpublished letters and diaries, on the eye-witness testimonies of belted earls and unhappy heiresses and bullying butlers, The Long Weekend gives a voice to the people who inhabited this world and shows how the image of the country house was carefully protected by its occupants above and below stairs, and how the reality was so much more interesting than the dream.
2 SEPTEMBER 1666: 350 YEARS SINCE THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON In the early hours of 2 September 1666 a small fire broke out in a bakery in Pudding Lane. In the five days that followed it grew into a conflagration that would devastate the third largest city in the Western world. This short edition is the essential guide to the Great Fire of London and includes first-hand descriptions from the diaries of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn, as well as a gripping account from renowned historian Adrian Tinniswood.
From an acclaimed social and architectural historian, the tumultuous, scandalous, glitzy, and glamorous history of English country houses and high society during the interwar period As WWI drew to a close, change reverberated through the halls of England's country homes. As the sun set slowly on the British Empire, the shadows lengthened on the lawns of a thousand stately homes.In The Long Weekend, historian Adrian Tinniswood introduces us to the tumultuous, scandalous and glamorous history of English country houses during the years between World Wars. As estate taxes and other challenges forced many of these venerable houses onto the market, new sectors of British and American society were seduced by the dream of owning a home in the English countryside. Drawing on thousands of memoirs, letters, and diaries, as well as the eye-witness testimonies of belted earls and bibulous butlers, Tinniswood brings the stately homes of England to life as never before, opening the door to a world by turns opulent and ordinary, noble and vicious, and forever wrapped in myth. We are drawn into the intrigues of legendary families such as the Astors, the Churchills and the Devonshires as they hosted hunting parties and balls that attracted the likes of Charlie Chaplin, T.E. Lawrence, and royals such as Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. We waltz through aristocratic soir es, and watch as the upper crust struggle to fend off rising taxes and underbred outsiders, property speculators and poultry farmers. We gain insight into the guilt and the gingerbread, and see how the image of the country house was carefully protected by its occupants above and below stairs.Through the glitz of estate parties, the social tensions between old money and new, the hunting parties, illicit trysts, and grand feasts, Tinniswood offers a glimpse behind the veil of these great estates--and reveals a reality much more riveting than the dream.
The Rainborowes bridges two generations and two worlds, weaving together the lives of the Rainborowe clan as they struggle to forge a better life for themselves and a better future for humankind in the New World. Starting with William Rainborowe, a prominent merchant-mariner and shipmaster, and his equally formidable sons and daughters between 1630 and 1660, we follow their astonishing story through the Civil War, the Putney debates, and settling in America. The Rainborowes explains America and mourns England's failed revolution. It spans oceans and ideologies and encompasses personal tragedies and triumphs, the death of kings and the birth of nations. Using rare printed material from the period and unpublished manuscripts from collections in Britain and America The Rainborowes recreates day-to-day life on both sides of the Atlantic during one of the most tumultuous periods in Western history. In their efforts to build a paradise on earth, the Rainborowes and their friends encounter pirates and witches, prophets and princes, Muslem militants and Mohican Indians. They build new societies. They are ordinary men and women, and they do an extraordinary thing. They change the world.
The period between 1630 and 1660 was one of the most tumultuous in Western history. These three decades witnessed the birth of New England and, in the mother country, a chaotic civil war that rent the very fabric of English social, political, and religious life. At the center of this turbulent time was an outsized family: the Rainborowes. Shipmasters and soldiers, entrepreneurs and idealists, they bridged two worlds as they struggled to forge a better future for themselves and their kin. In The Rainborowes, acclaimed historian Adrian Tinniswood follows this singular clan from hectic London shipyards to remote Aegean islands, from muddy Boston streets to the bloodiest battles of the English Civil War, revealing their indelible mark on both America and England.A feat of historical reporting, The Rainborowes spans oceans and generations to describe a familyand a peoplestruggling to find its identity.
From the coast of Southern Europe to Morocco and the Ottoman states of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli, Christian and Muslim seafarers met in bustling ports to swap religions, to battle and to trade goods and sales - raiding as far as Ireland and Iceland in search of their human currency.Studying the origins of these men, their culture and practices, Adrian Tinniswood expertly recreates the twilight world of the corsairs and uncovers a truly remarkable clash of civilisations Drawing on a wealth of material, from furious royal proclamations to the private letters of pirates and their victims, as well as recent Islamic accounts, Pirates of Barbary provides a new perspectives of the corsairs and a fascinating insight into what it meant to sacrifice all you have for a life so violent, so uncertain and so alien that it sets you apart from the rest of mankind.
Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. In this extraordinary saga, Adrian Tinniswood draws on tens of thousands of letters, which survived by chance in an attic, to reveal the remarkable world of the Verneys, a family of Buckinghamshire gentry in the seventeenth century. Here is Edmund Verney, Charles I's standard bearer at Edgehill, who died still clutching the King's standard, and his children: Ralph, whose support of the Parliamentarian cause during the Civil War forced him into exile; Mun, a professional soldier who survived Cromwell's attack on Drogheda in 1649, only to be stabbed to death two days later; Mall, who fell pregnant out of wedlock, and Bess, who ran off with a clergyman. There was also Henry, who was obsessed with horse-racing; Cary, who gambled away a fortune, and Tom, a devout Christian and a petty crook. The next generation led equally exciting lives. Ralph's son Jack went to Syria and made a fortune. Cousin Pen stayed at home and slept with her sister's fiance. Cousin Dick was hanged at Tyburn. Jack's brother Edmund married a girl who was rich, beautiful and deeply in love with him and within months of the marriage, she lost her mind. The Verneys is narrative history at its very best - fascinating, surprising, enthralling.
There had, of course, been other fires, Four Hundred and fifty years before, the city had almost burned to the ground. Yet the signs from the heavens in 1666 were ominous: comets, pyramids of flame, monsters born in city slums. Then, in the early hours on 2 September, a small fire broke out on the ground floor of a baker's house in Pudding Lane. In five days that small fire would devastate the third largest city in the Western world. Adrian Tinniswood's magnificent new account of the Great Fire of London explores the history of a cataclysm and its consequences. It pieces together the untold human story of the Fire and its aftermath - the panic, the search for scapegoats, and the rebirth of a city. Above all, it provides an unsurpassable recreation of what happened to schoolchildren and servants, courtiers and clergyman when the streets of London ran with fire.
Christopher Wren (1632-1723) was the greatest architect Britain has ever known. But he was more than that. A founder of the Royal Society, he mapped the moon and the stars, investigated the problem of longitude and the rings of Saturn, and carried out groundbreaking experiments into the circulation of the blood. His observations on comets, meteorology and muscular action made vital contributions to the developing ideas of Newton, Halley and Boyle. His Invention So Fertile presents the first complete picture of this towering genius: the Surveyor-General of the King's Works, running the nation's biggest architectural office and wrestling with corruption and interference; the pioneering anatomist; the mathematician, devising new navigational instruments and lecturing on planetary motion. It also shows us the man behind the legend. Wren was married and widowed twice, he fathered a mentally handicapped child, quarrelled with his colleagues and fell foul of his employers. He scrambled over building sites and went to the theatre and drank in coffee-houses. The book explores what it was like to be at Oxford during the Commonwealth, as a generation struggled to make sense of a society in chaos; it recreates the tensions which tore apart the court of James II; it brings to life the petty jealousies that formed an integral part of both the building world and scientific milieu of the Royal Society. Above all, His Invention So Fertile makes clear to the general reader and the art historian just why Wren remains a cultural icon - both a creation and a creator of the world he lived in.