Elizabeth's London

Everyday Life in Elizabethan London

Liza Picard

St. Martin's Press

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Liza Picard immerses her readers in the spectacular details of daily life in the London of Queen Elizabeth (1558-1603). Beginning with the River Thames, she examines the city on the north bank, still largely confined within the old Roman walls. The wealthy lived in mansions upriver, and the royal palaces were even farther up at Westminster. On the south bank, theaters and spectacles drew the crowds, and Southwark and Bermondsey were bustling with trade. Picard examines the streets and the traffic in them; she surveys building methods and shows us the decor of the rich and the not-so-rich. Her account overflows with particulars of domestic life, right down to what was likely to be growing in London gardens.

Picard then turns her eye to the Londoners themselves, many of whom were afflicted by the plague, smallpox, and other diseases. The diagnosis was frequently bizarre and the treatment could do more harm than good. But there was comfort to be had in simple, homely pleasures, and cares could be forgotten in a playhouse or the bull-baiting and bear-baiting rings, or watching a good cockfight. The more sober-minded might go to hear a lecture at Gresham College or the latest preacher at Paul's Cross.

Immigrants posed problems for Londoners who, though proud of their nation's religious tolerance, were concerned about the damage these skilled migrants might do to their own livelihoods, despite the dominance of livery companies and their apprentice system. Henry VIII's destruction of the monasteries had caused a crisis in poverty management that was still acute, resulting in begging (with begging licenses!) and a "parochial poor rate" paid by the better-off.

Liza Picard's wonderfully vivid prose enables us to share the satisfaction and delights, as well as the vexations and horrors, of the everyday lives of the denizens of sixteenth-century London.

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About the Author

Liza Picard

Liza Picard was born in Essex in 1927, the youngest daughter of the village doctor. She read law at the London School of Economics but chose not to practice, despite qualifying as a barrister. She is the author of Restoration London (1997) and Dr. Johnson's London (2000).

Liza Picard

Liza Picard

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Available Formats and Book Details

Elizabeth's London
Everyday Life in Elizabethan London
Liza Picard

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
January 2014
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466863460
ISBN10: 1466863463
368 pages, Includes sixteen pages of black-and-white photographs
$9.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin
June 2005
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312325664
ISBN10: 0312325665
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 368 pages, Includes sixteen pages of black-and-white photographs
$21.99
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