Dazed and confused...
Happiness is a warm book

England is Beautiful

The English Lakes front coverThis is one of the earliest guide books in the Beautiful England series that Blackie and Son published from about 1910 until the 1950s.

As far as I can work out, this copy was published in 1911.

There’s a dozen plates of softly coloured watercolour paintings, and a square detail from one painting pasted to the front cover.

Chapters are named for parts of the district; Windermere and Coniston, and Rydal and Grasmere are just two chapters.

It’s not a thick book; there’s only about 60 pages of text. As usual with books this age, the plates are separate and not numbered, so they add another twelve leaves, in a smoother, denser paper and only printed on one side.

The English Lakes Windermere and ConistonWhat prose! Here is one line, concerning the people of Thirlmere and Helvellyn:

“Here were a people, ranging as individuals from peasant to yeoman, to put it roughly; four hundred square miles, say, of freehold farmers, who have never known a landlord since the Crown in the sixteenth century held them as tenants on Border service; a complete democracy among themselves, into whose lives the influence of an aristocracy, as exerted everywhere else without exception in Great Britain, never entered.”

The English Lakes Blackie and Son

I didn’t think you could stack semi colons like that, but the whole book is written like this.

Once I got my head round it, I was fine and enjoyed it.

I was given this book by a woman I did some work for; it was by her front door, ready to go to the charity shop. She must have spotted me as "A Reader".

Much of the information here will be long outdated, but the book is a lovely thing; I’ll be keeping it.

The English Lakes   Described by A.G. Bradley, pictured by Ernest Hazlehurst.


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