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Rubbishing the revolution

Hugo Young, 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 ...
... what she liked, and her own part in the Heathite reign of error only magnified her disgust. As John Ranelagh, who once worked for her at the Conservative Research Department, says, she was no intellectual. His book purports to be about the people who did her intellectual work for her, and what they undoubtedly had in common was the conviction that the ...

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 ...

On Thatcher

Karl Miller, 25 April 2013

... thing on occasion, for all its turns and denials. Calling her ‘the leaderene’, as Norman St John-Stevas did, wasn’t candid, or apt, or funny. The old fellows were bound to wish to hit back from time to time at the Handbag, and they did manage to get rid of it, none too soon, in the end.12 April 2013 Servicemen are starting to wonder more and more ...

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 ...

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 ...

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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... that nice Susannah York. Fielding died in 1754 and was succeeded at Bow Street by his half-brother John: ‘blind John’ as he had been since the age of 19, ‘Sir John’ as he became in 1761, after successfully agitating to be knighted so as to increase the prestige of his office. The ...
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 ...

The Devil upon Two Sticks

Charles Nicholl: Samuel Foote, 23 May 2013

Mr Foote’s Other Leg: Comedy, Tragedy and Murder in Georgian London 
by Ian Kelly.
Picador, 462 pp., £18.99, October 2012, 978 0 330 51783 6
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... to metropolitan notice through a sensational murder case involving two of his maternal uncles: Sir John Dineley-Goodere, who was the victim; and his younger brother Captain Samuel Goodere (after whom Foote was named), who was executed for the murder. The back story was a saga of legal wrangling over some hugely valuable estates so wrapped around with ...

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 ...
... 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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