In a labour of love and as a gift to his readers the life, as lived by Richard Hall, shopkeeper (haberdasher) sited on London Bridge is presented in this delightful book.
The diarists great-great-great-great grandson has edited his ancestor’s diary and rewrites its highlights in our language and what a joy it is to behold.
We are told what life was back then, its day to day details, the inner workings of London, the world’s first city.
What was it like to go to the dentist? (horrifying]).
What products were available to the shopper? (surprisingly quite varied).
How did parish affect family life (constant) in its social mores and what was acceptable?.
In interesting asides the dreaded gout is described and remedies suggested ‘eat two or three boiled herrings at bed time…’If thirst ensues, eat straw or hay’!
Mr Hall appears to have had an interesting private life and sought sanctuary in this his diary.
There are some hilarious moments and examples of lack of guile in matters of the opposite sex.
A man of some vanity he loved fancy waistcoats.
What fascinates about this book and its clever presentation is its straight forwardness.
A diarist at this time was rare among people of this class and education, and one gets a sense of the first draft of history, from the bottom up.
This is the book’s great strength and pleasure.
Some fascinating comments present how a leopard attracts its prey (its smell), the fact that a shark has 144 teeth and a suggested remedy for ‘bowels being out of order’.
Author Mike Rendell has done what many have dreamed of doing before him, he has traced his roots and made its history sing.
As a lawyer (like the editor), I appreciated the appendices which offer fascinating facts as to ‘wills, probates and inventories’ .The majority of us that leave life rarely leave little more than a list of possessions.
Mike Rendell does far more with this excellent publication.
I loved the book’s illustrations and its elegant colouring and lettering.
This fine presentation is an example of a book being as good as its cover.
Open up and enjoy. It may prompt you to burrow into your own family archives and do the same.
The Journal of a Georgian Gentleman The Life and Times of Richard Hall,1729-1801.
Published by the Book Guild.
STAR RATING 8/10