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Don’t lock up the wife

E.S. Turner: Georgina Weldon, 5 October 2000

A Monkey among Crocodiles: The Life, Loves and Lawsuits of Mrs Georgina Weldon 
by Brian Thompson.
HarperCollins, 304 pp., £19.99, June 2000, 0 00 257189 7
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... in Newgate and Holloway, combined with a rackety way of life, had left unravaged the face of Mrs Georgina Weldon, whose radiant likeness appeared on the London buses in the year of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. An accompanying legend ran: ‘I am 50 today, but thanks to Pears Soap my complexion is only 17.’ London’s favourite jailbird and troublemaker had ...

What are we telling the nation?

David Edgar: Thoughts about the BBC, 7 July 2005

Uncertain Vision: Birt, Dyke and the Reinvention of the BBC 
by Georgina Born.
Vintage, 352 pp., £10.99, August 2005, 0 09 942893 8
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Building Public Value: Renewing the BBC for a Digital World 
BBC, 135 pp.Show More
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... have tended to assume that the transformation which occurred in the 1990s was self-imposed. But as Georgina Born makes clear in her definitive analysis of the John Birt and Greg Dyke eras, the consistent impetus came from government. It’s no surprise that Margaret Thatcher wanted to take on the BBC – if anything, the surprise is how long it took ...

Back to the future

Julian Symons, 10 September 1992

The Children of Men 
by P.D. James.
Faber, 239 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 571 16741 1
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A Philosophical Investigation 
by Philip Kerr.
Chatto, 336 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 7011 4553 6
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by Georgina Hammick.
Chatto, 212 pp., £13.99, August 1992, 0 7011 4133 6
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The Death of the Author 
by Gilbert Adair.
Heinemann, 135 pp., £13.99, August 1992, 0 434 00623 8
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Jerusalem Commands 
by Michael Moorcock.
Cape, 577 pp., £15.99, July 1992, 0 224 03074 4
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... Versions of the future (1). The year is 2021, human life is dying out. The last human being was born in 1996, and has just been killed outside Buenos Aires in a pub brawl. Infertility is world-wide, but we are not concerned with its effects in North or South America, Africa or India, or anywhere but Britain, where the apparently benevolent authority of the Council is ruled or guided by the Warden, Xan Lypiatt ...

Christina and the Sid

Penelope Fitzgerald, 18 March 1982

Christina Rossetti: A Divided Life 
by Georgina Battiscombe.
Constable, 233 pp., £9.50, May 1981, 0 09 461950 6
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The Golden Veil 
by Paddy Kitchen.
Hamish Hamilton, 286 pp., £7.95, May 1981, 0 241 10584 6
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The Little Holland House Album 
by Edward Burne-Jones and John Christian.
Dalrymple Press, 39 pp., £38, April 1981, 0 9507301 0 6
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... the one frog we dwell upon. But she was also, and this was central to her whole existence, twice-born. At the age of about thirteen she became, in company with her mother and sister, a fervent High Anglican. The keynote which Pusey and Keblehad set was self-sacrifice. To find enough to sacrifice and to suffer for, ‘not to keep back or count or ...

How does he come to be mine?

Tim Parks: Dickens’s Children, 8 August 2013

Great Expectations: The Sons and Daughters of Charles Dickens 
by Robert Gottlieb.
Farrar, Straus, 239 pp., £16.99, December 2012, 978 0 374 29880 7
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... to the rather more real Garrick. The marriage took place on 2 April 1836 and the first child was born on 6 January the following year. Nine months almost to the day. From then on Twelfth Night would always be an occasion for rumbustious family celebrations and elaborate theatricals of which Dickens was both creator and main performer. Over the next 15 years ...

Young, Pleasant, Cheerful, Tidy, Bustling, Quiet

Dinah Birch: Mrs Dickens, 3 February 2011

The Other Dickens: A Life of Catherine Hogarth 
by Lillian Nayder.
Cornell, 359 pp., £22.95, December 2010, 978 0 8014 4787 7
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... well, it seemed, with the memory of her angelic sister Mary, who had died unexpectedly at 17. Georgina, another Hogarth sister, lived with the family, and kept the children in order without adding to their number. Georgina’s capable presence exacerbated Dickens’s sense of Catherine’s shortcomings and he began to ...

Ooh the rubble

Rosemary Hill: Churchill’s Cook, 16 July 2020

Victory in the Kitchen: The Life of Churchill’s Cook 
by Annie Gray.
Profile, 390 pp., £16.99, February, 978 1 78816 044 5
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... are more than a thousand books about Winston Churchill, but this is the first about his cook, Georgina Landemare. Since it may well also be the last, it’s fortunate that she has fallen into the sympathetic hands of Annie Gray. Gray is a food historian and she sets Landemare’s long life in the context of changes in diet and eating habits over nearly a ...

Out of Ottawa

John Bayley, 21 November 1991

By Heart. Elizabeth Smart: A Life 
by Rosemary Sullivan.
Lime Tree, 415 pp., £17.99, October 1991, 0 413 45341 3
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... case of obsession, pathos and absurdity. Its very pretension produces its own sort of humour. Born in 1913, she was a privileged girl, from a rich and cultured Ottawa family, and in girlhood a great striver and succeeder, as Sylvia Plath was to be. To this ominous comparison it must be added that Elizabeth is apt to fatigue the reader by her normality, to ...

Crusoe was a gentleman

John Sutherland, 1 July 1982

The Gentleman in Trollope: Individuality and Moral Conduct 
by Shirley Letwin.
Macmillan, 303 pp., £15, May 1982, 0 333 31209 0
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The Idea of the Gentleman in the Victorian Novel 
by Robin Gilmour.
Allen and Unwin, 208 pp., £10, October 1981, 0 04 800005 1
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... slender. She habitually refers to characters such as ‘honest Joe Crumb’ (John Crumb), ‘Georgina Longestaffe’ (Georgiana Longestaffe) and ‘Father Barnham’ (Father Barham). This could be put down to dyslexia or forgetful proof-reading. But one could make no such excuse for the extraordinary misconception of Roger Carbury, the character Trollope ...


John Sutherland, 15 September 1988

The Secret Life of Wilkie Collins 
by William Clarke.
Allison and Busby, 239 pp., £14.95, August 1988, 0 85031 960 9
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Wilkie Collins: Women, Property and Propriety 
by Philip O’Neill.
Macmillan, 238 pp., £27.50, September 1988, 9780333421994
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... mistresses (or one mistress and morganatic wife, as Clarke prefers to classify them). Wilkie was born the eldest son of William Collins, a successful painter principally of landscapes. Collins senior was an odd mixture: High Church and yet bohemian in his way of life. The young Wilkie spent much of his early childhood being dragged around Italy and had the ...

Nelly gets her due

John Sutherland, 8 November 1990

The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens 
by Claire Tomalin.
Viking, 317 pp., £16.99, October 1990, 0 670 82787 8
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The Autobiography of Margaret Oliphant 
edited by Elisabeth Jay.
Oxford, 184 pp., £16.95, October 1990, 0 19 818615 0
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... widely suspected that another woman was involved. Some assumed it was Dickens’s sister-in-law, Georgina Hogarth. This lady suffered the indignity of a virginity test, to disprove what would have been incest as well as adultery. Those closer to Dickens knew better. ‘No such thing – it’s with an actress,’ Thackeray told his mother, adding: ‘It’s ...

A Girl Called Retina

Tom Crewe: You’ll like it when you get there, 13 August 2020

British Summer Time Begins: The School Summer Holidays, 1930-80 
by Ysenda Maxtone Graham.
Little, Brown, 352 pp., £18.99, July, 978 1 4087 1055 5
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... in the sense of not being ordinary. They were almost always women. ‘My ears pricked up when Georgina Hammick told me she had had an excellent English teacher at Beaufront called Mr Butts,’ Maxtone Graham notes. ‘It turned out it was not Mr Butts but Miss De Butts.’ Hatherop Castle was headed by a Mrs Fyfe:‘Was there a Mr Fyfe?’‘Yes there ...
... in Hauts-de-Seine, seems likely to find a place in Calvados. The Minister for Social Affairs, Georgina Dufoix, has been parachuted into Gard – but is being fiercely resisted by the local party. The Minister for Foreign Trade, Edith Cresson, is having a similarly difficult time after being parachuted into Vienne. The Minister for the ...

Plimsoll’s Story

Stephen Sedley, 28 April 2011

The Oxford History of the Laws of England 1820-1914: Vol. XI, English Legal System; Vol. XII, Private Law; Vol. XIII, Fields of Development 
edited by William Cornish et al.
Oxford, 3571 pp., £495, February 2010, 978 0 19 925883 3
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... drank in the Palsgrave Tavern which once stood here). Alongside the noisy travail of the born-again legal system and its new emporium, novel administrative structures had been quietly growing. These were to transform the state more fundamentally than the reconstitution of the courts. They ranged from railway and canal commissions, headed by a judge ...

Who Cares?

Jean McNicol, 9 February 1995

The Report of the Inquiry into the Care and Treatment of Christopher Clunis 
by Jean Ritchie, Donald Dick and Richard Lingham.
HMSO, 146 pp., £9.50, February 1994, 0 11 701798 1
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Creating Community Care: Report of the Mental Health Foundation into Community Care for People with Severe Mental Illness 
by William Utting.
Mental Health Foundation, 76 pp., £9.50, September 1994, 0 901944 17 3
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Finding a Place: A Review of Mental Health Services for Adults 
HMSO, 94 pp., £11, November 1994, 0 11 886143 3Show More
The Falling Shadow: One Patient’s Mental Health Care. Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Events Leading up to and Surrounding the Fatal Incident at the Edith Morgan Centre, Torbay, on 1 September 1993 
by Louis Blom-Cooper, Helen Hally and Elaine Murphy.
Duckworth, 230 pp., £12.99, January 1995, 0 7156 2662 0
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... pressed and also comes close to endorsing her explanation of the causes of the murder. Clunis was born in 1963 in Muswell Hill, North London of Jamaican parents and went to school in Luton where his father worked at the Vauxhall car plant. He did quite well academically but left before sitting A-levels: he wanted to be a jazz guitarist. He joined the Aqua ...

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