Books I’m Reading, Writing and/or Recommending

By way of clarification, books I’m reading will also include books I’ve actually read! I have tried to link to the cheapest place where each book can be obtained and in many cases the books are either cheap or freely available in the public domain. The books I find most helpful for social history research tend to be the esoteric personal accounts and, depending on why and whom, the accounts of the many observers of our ancestors’ lives including journalists and clergymen. Among these there are some marvels of clear empathetic and objective observation and understanding. I am not so much interested in the meddlers nor to any condescending writers given to patronising their subjects.

My Books

I’m still tidying-up my Lost Hospitals of Birmingham. Conceived as a concise resource for genealogists and family historians the book combines a number of short histories of Birmingham’s hospitals, both acute and specialist, explains their many connections together with an introduction to their records and archived sources of interest to genealogists and family historians.


Due to be published in December 2017 as an eBook and booklet.

Books I’m reading

Mrs Maybrick’s Own Story: My fifteen lost years

Florence Maybrick was tried and convicted at Liverpool in 1889, of poisoning her husband. Her case was one of the most controversial and well known of the Victorian era and doubts remain as to her guilt. Initially receiving the death penalty, Florence’s sentence was commuted to Life imprisonment and she served 15 years after which she returned to America. Following her release Mrs Maybrick was encouraged to write her account of the death of her husband and her subsequent conviction and imprisonment for his murder. This she did and ‘Mrs Maybrick’s Own Story: My fifteen lost years’ was published in 1905. The book contains much detail of Mrs Maybrick’s incarceration and the campaign to free her as well as wider reflections on crime and punishment during the late-Victorian era. As such, it is a valuable and perhaps unique addition to the library of the student of Victorian history including those family tree researchers wishing to gain more of an insight into how their ancestors lived.

‘Mrs Maybrick’s Own Story: My fifteen lost years’ is available from well-known internet retailers but I sourced my perfectly readable and free copy here


The War on our Doorstep: London’s East End and how the Blitz Changed it Forever by Harriet Salisbury (and others)

This book started life as an oral history project overseen by the Museum of London and includes contributions from such East End luminaries as Bernard Kops, Emanuel Litvinof and Leslie & Connie Hoe of Limehouse.  I found the book in equal measures gripping, inspiring and moving with its vivid descriptions of growing up in London’s East End during the first half of the 20th Century, often in very difficult circumstances.

Find out more about The War on our Doorstep and where to purchase it here.

Discover more about the Museum of London Oral History project here.