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5 December 1991
Thatcher’s People 
by John Ranelagh.
HarperCollins, 324 pp., £15.99, September 1991, 0 00 215410 2
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Staying Power 
by Peter Walker.
Bloomsbury, 248 pp., £16.99, October 1991, 0 7475 1034 2
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... falling away. The Sunday Telegraph has ceased its passionate flirtations with nostalgia. Besides, John Major is either dismantling some of what she did or failing to conceal his embarrassment at the consequences of what he cannot undo. In the balance between exalting the Thatcher years and distancing itself from them, the Major Government has slowly but ...
15 April 2013
... finds her measuring ‘my performance against that of other countries in the real world’.​R.W. Johnson, 20 April 1989 If you want to see the cutting edge of Thatcherism, go to Basingstoke. There, as we learn in Paul Hirst’s After Thatcher, the local council (careful, no doubt, with its ratepayers’ money) has allowed an insurance company to take over ...

Venice-on-Thames

Amanda Vickery: Vauxhall Gardens

7 February 2013
Vauxhall Gardens: A History 
by Alan Borg and David Coke.
Yale, 473 pp., £55, June 2011, 978 0 300 17382 6
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... and performance. Unsurprisingly, the most famous pleasure gardens were in London. Vauxhall, Ranelagh and Marylebone are the three best known, though there is evidence that at least 64 metropolitan venues were in business between 1661 and 1871. Outside London, urban pleasure gardens such as Spring Gardens in Leeds (in existence from 1715), Spring Gardens ...

Subversions

R.W. Johnson

4 June 1987
Traitors: The Labyrinths of Treason 
by Chapman Pincher.
Sidgwick, 346 pp., £13.95, May 1987, 0 283 99379 0
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The Secrets of the Service: British Intelligence and Communist Subversion 1939-51 
by Anthony Glees.
Cape, 447 pp., £18, May 1987, 0 224 02252 0
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Freedom of Information – Freedom of the Individual? 
by Clive Ponting, John Ranelagh, Michael Zander and Simon Lee, edited by Julia Neuberger.
Macmillan, 110 pp., £4.95, May 1987, 0 333 44771 9
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... make a comprehensive move towards more open government in the manner discussed by Clive Ponting, John Ranelagh, Michael Zander and Simon Lee in Freedom of Information … Freedom of the Invididual?, a new collection of essays edited by Julia Neuberger. Three newspapers are currently being sued and two others prohibited from carrying material that ...

At the British Museum

Peter Campbell: London 1753

25 September 2003
... In 1738 John Rocque, a Frenchman, began his survey of London. His map (engraved by John Pine) covers an area from Marylebone and Chelsea in the west to Stepney and Deptford in the east. It was finally published in 1747. Pasted together, its 24 sheets measure 13 x 6 ½ feet – that is how it is shown in the exhibition London 1753 at the British Museum until 23 November ...

On Thatcher

Karl Miller

25 April 2013
... wrote about her included Ian Gilmour, W.G. Runciman, Neal Ascherson, Christopher Hitchens, R.W. Johnson, Ross McKibbin, E.P. Thompson, Tam Dalyell and Peter Clarke. What they wrote seemed excellent to me, with Runciman bearing the palm for aphoristic conciseness. In embarking on a review, also in 1989, of Hugo Young’s biography of her, R.W. ...

Cultivating Cultivation

John Mullan: English culture

18 June 1998
The Pleasures of the Imagination: English Culture in the 18th Century 
by John Brewer.
HarperCollins, 448 pp., £19.99, January 1997, 0 00 255537 9
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... they were accessible to all who could pay the price of admission. One of the leading characters in John Brewer’s The Pleasure of the Imagination was a visitor to pleasure gardens. Anna Margaretta Larpent was a moderately prosperous lady living in London in the late 18th century, married to the state official responsible for vetting plays before they reached ...

Something for Theresa May to think about

John Barrell: The Bow Street Runners

7 June 2012
The First English Detectives: The Bow Street Runners and the Policing of London, 1750-1840 
by J.M. Beattie.
Oxford, 272 pp., £65, February 2012, 978 0 19 969516 4
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... most of the work: the cause of criminality, Theresa May was arguing, was criminality itself. Boris Johnson was quick to agree. When did it become a test of ideological purity to be able to say with a straight face that poverty and unemployment have nothing to do with the causes of crime? Who was the first politician to argue (if it can be called an ...
18 May 2000
The John Marsh Journals: The Life and Times of a Gentleman Composer (1752-1828) 
edited by Brian Robins.
Pendragon, 797 pp., $76, December 1998, 0 945193 94 7
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... its strange and extreme silentness’. Coleridge wrote this line in 1798, a couple of years before John Marsh finished the first part of his History of My Private Life, and a reading of ‘Frost at Midnight’, along with some of the other ‘Conversation Poems’ – ‘The Aeolian Harp’, ‘This Lime-tree Bower My Prison’, ‘The Nightingale’, for ...

Smocks

Rosemary Hill

5 December 1991
Gertrude Jekyll 
by Sally Festing.
Viking, 323 pp., £17.99, October 1991, 0 670 82788 6
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People’s Parks 
by Hazel Conway.
Cambridge, 287 pp., £49.50, August 1991, 0 521 39070 2
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The History of Garden Design: The Western Tradition from the Renaissance to the Present Day 
edited by Monique Mosser and Georges Teyssot.
Thames and Hudson, 543 pp., £45, May 1991, 0 500 01511 2
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... Gertrude Jekyll lived to see the first waves of the tide of gentility that swept over Surrey until John Betjeman could not look at one of Miss Jekyll’s beloved rhododendrons without thinking of a stockbroker. Less intellectual, in many ways less effective than Morris, she was, nevertheless, in one sense nearer the heart of the issue. In her work as a garden ...

What makes a waif?

Joanne O’Leary

13 September 2018
The Long-Winded Lady: Tales from the ‘New Yorker’ 
by Maeve Brennan.
Stinging Fly, 215 pp., £10.99, January 2017, 978 1 906539 59 7
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Maeve Brennan: Homesick at the ‘New Yorker’ 
by Angela Bourke.
Counterpoint, 360 pp., $16.95, February 2016, 978 1 61902 715 2
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The Springs of Affection: Stories 
by Maeve Brennan.
Stinging Fly, 368 pp., £8.99, May 2016, 978 1 906539 54 2
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... the difference between ‘beige’ and ‘bone’ at fifty yards that made her a natural diarist. John Updike said her ‘Talk of the Town’ pieces ‘helped put New York back into the New Yorker’. Her first column, in January 1954, was about a careless dry cleaner, and began the dispatches from ‘a rather long-winded lady’ whom the New Yorker heard ...

Last Night Fever

David Cannadine: The Proms

6 September 2007
... life for the best part of sixty years. Public concerts in such places as Vauxhall, Marylebone and Ranelagh Gardens had been a feature of 18th-century metropolitan life, but promenade concerts had originated in Paris, and were imported to Britain during the late 1830s. They were held in such theatres as Drury Lane, Her Majesty’s, the Lyceum and Covent ...
30 March 2016
... viewed with dismay the lack of restraint and caution in O’Donovan Rossa’s violent rhetoric. John Devoy, one of the leaders of Clan na Gael, the main Irish nationalist organisation in America, believed, as Kenna writes, that O’Donovan Rossa ‘had given the British ample warning of his plans through a desire for notoriety and theatricality, thus ...

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