I’d like to think I’m a bit of a history nerd; although I didn’t study as an elective in school, it still intrigues me immensely. I love learning about things people have done in the past, inventions and major events. What really interests me is old knowledge – what people knew and how they explained the world’s mysteries centuries ago, in comparison to what we have discovered now. So you can always find me in a second hand bookstore looking at those old gems!
I digress. What I am actually going to be reading next for Books That Wander is still historic, called Shakespeare’s Local: Six Centuries of History Seen Through One Extraordinary Pub by Pete Brown. The blurb is as follows:
Welcome to the George Inn near London Bridge; a cosy, wood-pannelled, galleried coaching house a few minutes’ walk from the Thames. Grab yourself a pint, listen to the chatter of the locals and consider this: who else has made this their local over the last 600 years?
Chaucer and his fellow pilgrims almost certainly drank in the George on their way out of London to Canterbury. Shakespeare may well have popped in from the nearby Globe for a pint, and we know that Dickens definitely did. Mail carriers changed their horses here, before heading to all four corners of Britain — while sailors drank here before visiting all four corners of the world…
The pub, as Pete Brown points out, is the ‘primordial cell of British life’ and in the George he has found the perfect case study. All life is here, from murderers, highwaymen and ladies of the night to gossiping pedlars and hard-working clerks. So sit back and watch as buildings rise and fall over the centuries, and ‘the beer drinker’s Bill Bryson’ (TLS) takes us on an entertaining tour through six centuries of history, through the stories of everyone that ever drank in one pub.
Tell me, is this a book you would be intrigued to read just by reading the blurb? Or does the cover of the book tickle your fancy more? Let me know in the comments!