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Coldbath Fields

Simon Bradley: In Praise of Peabody

21 June 2007
London in the 19th Century: ‘A Human Awful Wonder of God’ 
by Jerry White.
Cape, 624 pp., £20, January 2007, 978 0 224 06272 5
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... but the contemporary voices in the text tend to be less unworldly. Some of them – Hazlitt, Louis Simond, Dickens, Charles Booth, Arthur Munby, ‘Walter’, Molly Hughes – are well known. Others are obscure but representative figures picked out from press reports, or nameless voices recorded from the crowds, such as the Euston Square prostitute who ...

Trains in Space

James Meek: The Great Train Robbery

4 May 2016
The Railways: Nation, Network and People 
by Simon Bradley.
Profile, 645 pp., £25, September 2015, 978 1 84668 209 4
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... many times over, in the town where I grew up. Those engines were new in the 1970s. Unlike Simon Bradley I lack the trainspotter’s enthusiasm for locomotives, and I’ve had some horrible journeys on that train. But the theatrical grandeur of its arrival always alters my sense of my surroundings, as if a door had opened, offering a glimpse of an ...

In the City

Peter Campbell: Public sculpture

22 May 2003
... of Britain. It does for public sculpture (but not sculpture inside churches or galleries) what Simon Bradley and Nikolaus Pevsner do for the buildings the sculpture is on (or near) in The Buildings of England volume on The City of London. In a way it does more. While buildings have to be interesting in themselves to get into Pevsner, Ward-Jackson can ...

Positively Spaced Out

Rosemary Hill: ‘The Building of England’

6 September 2001
The Buildings of England: A Celebration Compiled to Mark 50 Years of the Pevsner Architectural Guides 
edited by Simon Bradley and Bridget Cherry.
Penguin Collectors’ Society, 128 pp., £9.99, July 2001, 0 9527401 3 3
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... Pevsner’s is more difficult than it looks. It defeats A.N. Wilson in Who Was Oswald Fish?, as Simon Bradley points out in a wide-ranging essay on ‘Pevsner in Fiction, Theatre and Cinema’. Imitation even of the most laconic entries is difficult. Only Alan Hollinghurst, among Bradley’s examples, gets it nearly ...

Diary

Alan Hollinghurst: In Houston

18 March 1999
... reading the wonderful fat new edition of Pevsner’s City of London, revised and expanded by Simon Bradley.* I found myself repeatedly escaping from the shallow architectural culture of Houston (founded 1836, the year of Texan independence) into imaginary rambles through my own city (founded 50 BC); and indulging a slightly self-conscious relish for ...
9 October 2013
The Hamlet Doctrine 
by Simon Critchley and Jamieson Webster.
Verso, 269 pp., £14.99, September 2013, 978 1 78168 256 2
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... In The Birth of Tragedy Nietzsche gives what Simon Critchley and Jamieson Webster call a ‘fascinating short interpretation’ of Hamlet, from which they take their title. They don’t think much of the book up to that point: it’s when he gets to Hamlet, they argue, that Nietzsche wakes up. This isn’t a view everyone would share, but it’s of a piece with the many assured judgments they make about Hamlet in the play with the most canonically self-doubting hero ...
31 October 1996
Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of his Time 
by Dava Sobel.
Fourth Estate, 184 pp., £12.99, August 1996, 1 85702 502 4
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... or otherwise misused them. There were odious villains, such as the Astronomers Royal, James Bradley and Nevil Maskelyne, who used their Greenwich power base to orchestrate the conspiracy against Harrison. Maskelyne gloried in giving clockmakers ‘a bone to pick that would crack their teeth’. The day was saved by the King himself – mad George was ...

‘They got egg on their faces’

Leofranc Holford-Strevens: The Oxford English Dictionary

20 November 2003
The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary 
by Simon Winchester.
Oxford, 260 pp., £12.99, October 2003, 0 19 860702 4
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... of Parliament, I must declare an interest: I am employed by the publisher of both the OED and Simon Winchester’s account of its genesis. However, I have had no involvement with the latter, whose author’s qualities are well known to readers of his previous books, most relevantly The Surgeon of Crowthorne, and little with the former, which hardly needs ...

Diary

Iain Sinclair: Swimming on the 52nd Floor

23 September 2015
... stone was laid on 18 March 1903. The official opening was on 25 June 1904. Ian Gordon and Simon Inglis’s book Great Lengths: The Historic Indoor Swimming Pools of Britain tells us that E.J. Wakeling, vice chairman of the Shoreditch Baths and Washhouses Committee, animated the occasion by plunging into the pool and swimming a 100-foot length ...

Growing

Barbara Everett

31 March 1988
... equally wrong-headed and useful. The practice is summarised in the mocking footnote we attach to Bradley: ‘How many children had Lady Macbeth?’ A similar topic, once much debated though now rarely reverted to, is: ‘How old, exactly, is Hamlet?’ The dimensions of the problem are these. The Prince is introduced to us as an undergraduate. But in the ...

Who Are They?

Jenny Turner: The Institute of Ideas

8 July 2010
... according to Monbiot the educational charity Sense about Science – a prominent supporter of Simon Singh in his recent dispute with the British Chiropractic Association – has a former LMer for a managing director, and another one as her deputy; the director of the Science Media Centre is Fiona Fox, a former LM contributor and younger sister of Claire ...
16 August 1990
... generated in opposition a series of essays implicitly radical in their attitudes. Looking back to Bradley’s very fine, essentially liberal, praise of Falstaff, Auden’s and Empson’s essays, for instance, like Orson Welles’s film, Chimes at Midnight, make a brilliant case, in different ways, for the old knight’s generous, even loving, even saintly ...

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