News and reviews

Nightingales in Berlin featured in the Observer

Added on 14/04/2019

Luscinia megarhynchos, the common nightingale, has been shunning the UK since the 1960s, during which time the population has slumped by 90%. The number of birds in Berlin, however, is on the rise.


The Bodleian’s Typographic Firsts reviewed in the Spectator

Added on 13/04/2019

Among the many lost methods of making an illuminated book in the pioneering days of Renaissance printing, the way we once obtained powdered gold may be the most lamented: ‘In a pot place nine lizards in the milk…’


Palaces of Pleasure by Lee Jackson reviewed in the Times

Added on 12/04/2019

During the mid-Victorian period a man called Sam Cowell almost single-handedly transformed light entertainment among the British masses. He was the star of the Canterbury Music Hall, the first purpose-built music hall in London.


Matilda by Catherine Hanley reviewed in the Guardian

Added on 11/04/2019

In 1142 Empress Matilda escaped from Oxford Castle. Since it was a snowy December, the “Lady of the English” wrapped herself in a white fur cloak to blend into the landscape before skating down the frozen river Thames to freedom.


Fruitmarket Gallery Bookshop wins Bookshop of the Year Award

Added on 10/04/2019

A Spokesperson for the Scottish Independent Retail Awards 2019 said: “These awards are now in their eighth year and are the leading celebration of the independent retailers who enhance our communities.”


Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth wins Tolkien Society Best Book Award

Added on 07/04/2019

Many congratulations to Catherine McIlwaine for winning Best Book in the Tolkien Society Awards 2019. Lavishly illustrated with over 300 images, the book traces the creative process behind Tolkien’s most famous literary works.


Amritsar 1919 reviewed in the Spectator

Added on 06/04/2019

Books such as Amritsar 1919 and The Patient Assassin are now more important than ever because they help us to understand why Indians — like so many other peoples around the globe — often have such bitter memories of British rule.


Gilded Youth reviewed in the Guardian

Added on 06/04/2019

Brooke-Smith’s argument is that almost since the moment of their foundation, the country’s elite private schools have been a nursery for dissent and sedition, sometimes to the point of outright insurrection.


A Massacre in Mexico reviewed in the LRB

Added on 04/04/2019

On the night of 26 September 2014, in the town of Iguala in the Mexican state of Guerrero, local police opened fire at several buses – some full of students, one carrying football players coming home from a match. Six people were killed.


Wally Funk’s Race for Space featured in the Times

Added on 26/03/2019

In the beginning, there was hope that a new space age would also bring a new age of equality. When Nasa began preparing its astronauts for the first Mercury missions, the Women in Space Program was set up in parallel.


The London Society reviews Cook’s Camden

Added on 20/03/2019

Cook’s Camden is a comprehensive, inviting and ultimately appreciative work of scholarship on the borough’s council house building programme from 1965-1973. Well evidenced and attractively designed, it assesses aspiration and delivery.


Arabs: A 3,000-Year History reviewed in the Observer

Added on 17/03/2019

Outside the window of Tim Mackintosh-Smith’s home in Sana’a are reminders of the long sweep of Arab history – child soldiers mourning martyrs of the country’s ongoing war, rocket salvoes and a mosque dating back to the 7th century.