Women’s London: A Tour Guide to Great Lives by Rachel Kolsky

Women's London A Tour Guide to Great Lives by Rachel Kolsky

Women’s London is the only guidebook that focuses on the women who have shaped London through the centuries and the legacy they have left behind. This new book provides the perfect opportunity to explore sights, statues, plaques and buildings associated with famous and some not so famous women who have left their mark on London’s heritage, culture and society. Their stories include scientists and suffragettes, reformers and royals, military and medical pioneers, authors and artists, fashion and female firsts … and more. The author, a popular London tour guide and lecturer, specialises in women’s history and has provided a series of original self-guided walking tours taking you to historic areas where important women lived, worked and are commemorated. Illustrated with new full-colour photography and specially commissioned maps, Women’s London will inspire visitors and Londoners alike to discover how much London owes to women.

Women’s London: A Tour Guide to Great Lives by Rachel Kolsky

It’s always nice to have historical nonfiction that tells the stories of women. For centuries the world in general has perpetuated the myth that men were the only people who ever achieved anything, which of course is incorrect.

Women’s London gives you information about some of history’s most famous women, but it also tells you some stories about the lesser-known women in the history of the city. For example, we learn of London’s first female cab driver (women were barred from the profession until 1977!).

While interesting, the copy of the book I read had some very problematic formatting. Even big-name guidebook companies like Lonely Planet struggle to make their ebooks accessible, so that’s no surprise.

An interesting book, with some layout issues that will confuse you.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Thomas Hardy’s Early Career

 

Today marks ninety years since the death of Thomas Hardy, famed English novelist of the Victorian era.

His famous works include Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891), and Jude the Obscure (1895).

However, when Dorset-born Hardy first came to London, he was not making money as a writer.

In 1868

One of his jobs was to clear graves to make way for the massive new St Pancras railway station, which opened in 1868.

Headstones were moved for the build, and stacked together. Today, there is a famous spot called the “Hardy Tree“, where – for the past 1.5 centuries – a tree has grown around them.

London – again.

I’m postponing my review of The Secret Marriage Pact until tomorrow.

It’s a little hard to pick and choose what tragedy to be sad about these days (I will point out that there’s been a severe escalation in fighting in Ukraine in the past couple of weeks – it’s not on the news).

However, I’m going to have to do a “Poor London” post #3 for the year, because of the fire yesterday.

I spent more than half of the time I lived in London renting not too far from where this disaster happened. You can see my street in the Notting Hill area (the curvy streets on the right) in the picture.

The nature of this event is shocking, as is the obvious corruption that helped to cause it.

At least 200 firefighters and 40 engines on the scene of a huge fire at Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, near Notting Hill, in West London. 14th June 2017.

A visit to Dr Johnson’s House

Samuel_Johnson_by_Joshua_ReynoldsPortrait of Samuel Johnson commissioned for Henry Thrale's Streatham Park gallery. BY Joshua Reynolds 1772.

My first full day in London in a while was a big one: a visit to Charles Dickens’ house, visits to two of the places I used to live, a night at the Royal Ballet… But before I got to the theatre I also visited the building I lived in the very first few weeks I was in England all those years ago: Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese.

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese London England EC4 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney February 2017

Before that, I finally paid a visit to the house of Dr Samuel Johnson, the man credited with creating the first modern dictionary, amongst other things.

Stealing the Wikipedia introduction:

‘Samuel Johnson (18 September 1709 [O.S. 7 September] – 13 December 1784), often referred to as Dr Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. Johnson was a devout Anglican and committed Tory, and is described by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as “arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history”. He is also the subject of perhaps the most famous biography in English literature, namely The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell.’

It was another famous landmark I’d lived practically next door to, but never visited. Built in about 1700, the house is VERY different to the Victorian-era Dickens house I’d been to earlier on.

Dr Samuel Johnson's House London England EC4 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney February 2017 Cat

Dr Samuel Johnson's House London England EC4 Sonya Heaney February 2017 Sittiing Rooms.

Dr Samuel Johnson's House London England EC4 Sonya Heaney February 2017 View

Dr Samuel Johnson's House London England EC4 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney February 2017.

Dr Samuel Johnson's House London England EC4 Sonya Heaney February 2017 Stairs to Basement

Dr Samuel Johnson's House London England EC4 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney February 2017

The Week: 20th – 26th March

Canberra’s sky this week.

We started the week so well! Temperatures in the 30s, sunny days. And then the rain hit. It’s so odd to have rain in Canberra at all, let alone a number of days in a row.

Friday evening.

The first Formula One race of the year is on in Melbourne this weekend, and it is the first time in about a decade I haven’t gone. We gave up our (crazy-expensive) premium seats after the race last year. The corruption in the sport was a real turn-off. Little did anyone know that new managers would sweep in and fire sleazy, misogynistic, Putin-loving boss Bernie Ecclestone soon afterwards!

However, all those thousands once spent on the F1 can now go to more trips to Europe!

There is something stirring in Belarus. If there’s one country in Europe people care even less about than Ukraine, it’s their neighbour. On Saturday there were protests; there’ve been mass arrests in Minsk – demonstrators and journalists alike (it is estimated about one thousand people were arrested); the riot police were out in force. The country’s opposition leader was arrested shortly before the protests began, and one woman was even put in a mental hospital for daring to protest.

This is Soviet-level stuff.

It looks like the stirrings of the 2013-14 revolution in Ukraine. Frightening, but important.

in other news, this story (below) yesterday was… even after reading it, I still don’t understand:

Naked demonstrators kill sheep under Auschwitz gates

Estonian children in a forced settlement in Siberia in 1952.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the beginning of the Kremlin’s mass deportation of 90 000 Baltic people (mostly women and children). They were sent to forced settlements in inhospitable parts of Russia, and most were never able to return.

I was on Westminster Bridge only three or so weeks ago (the photo above is from this month). The terror attack this week was… not unexpected. Sadly, I’m surprised it has been so long since something like this happened in London.

Some people have been saying: ‘Why should we care so much about London? How about (insert world conflict here)?’

Um… as if anybody cares about Yemen etc. any other day of the week! I wish they did!

People are allowed to care about London AND other things!

However, while everyone was distracted by London, Russia did some absolutely awful things in Ukraine this week. They assassinated a Russian Putin critic in the middle of Kyiv in broad daylight. They blew up the Ukrainian army’s biggest and most important munitions factory (the image above), heavily hampering their ability to fight the invasion. They killed more people in their war.

^^^^

This is an amazing – and funny – account mocking Putin, and if you have Twitter, you should follow it. Last year, the Kremlin actually bribed Twitter to ban it for a while – so much for freedom of speech! So they deserve support.

It seems bizarre that this week the US and the UK decided to put bans on electronics on aeroplanes, citing the need to stop terror attacks. The following day, a home-grown terrorist committed the London attack – without a Kindle, a laptop, a camera, OR a plane. Me not being able to take my Kindle when I fly through the Middle East twice more this year sure didn’t stop what happened in Westminster.

Travel is becoming exhausting. The ridiculous liquids ban on international flights was meant to have been lifted years ago. Instead, here we all are, still carrying lip gloss in little ziplock bags for no particular reason, and now we can’t even read a book during our flight!

I had to go through airport security FIVE times just to get home a few weeks ago. I wish there was a way I could do aeroplane-free travel, but it’s a bit of a problem, living on an island!

O-kay… I think the ranting is done for the moment.

Jugiong Writers’ Festival last weekend.

My review of The Prodigal Son (A Rowland Sinclair Novella) by Sulari Gentill

RITA Nominees Announced

A Visit to Charles Dickens’ House

Romance without feminism is no longer an option.

Monday Randomness