Before football, there was racing. What started out as the private amusement of a few aristocrats, when two young blades might challenge their best horses to a sprint, had, by the early nineteenth century, become part of a number of rakish activities that characterised the chaotic years of the pre-police age during the Regency. In Gentlemen and Blackguards, Nick Foulkes has taken the Derby of 1844, and the ensuing legal dispute over its outcome, as the focal point of a book that charts how racing spawned a gambling mania that swept through all levels of society.
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'Typical of Dickens to leave us with an unsolvable game of Cluedo. Was it John Jasper with the necktie in the cathedral, Stony Durdles with the fibula in the graveyard or Mrs Crisparkle with the arsenic in the close?'
Frances Wilson does some sleuthing.
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They 'disliked Georgian architecture because it was identified with the enclosure movement ... their preferred style was Elizabethan: half-timbered and gabled'.
Jane Ridley on the houses Edwardian Liberals built.