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News Archive

Sixty-Five Rhymes Written

Sixty-Five Rhymes Written

For the past two months we have been running a competition to find the best short poem in the style of a Ruthless Rhyme, a humorous verse form invented by Harry Graham. By the time the competition closed at midnight GMT on Sunday 4th March, we had received 65 rhymes from nine countries, including Australia, Germany, India, Nigeria, Romania, Spain, France, the UK and the US. The last entry came in at eight minutes to midnight.

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Wild Escape Competition

Wild Escape Competition

Sheldrake Press, publishers of the Wild Guides, are running a travel writing competition this month. Share one of your wild travel experiences with us for a chance to be published on our web-site and win a set of guides to Italy, Britain and Ireland.

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The January Wild Sale

The January Wild Sale

All this month, Sheldrake Press is offering you a 50% discount on Wild Italy.

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Brooking Collection Finds Temporary Home

Brooking Collection Finds Temporary Home

Charles Brooking’s major collection of architectural detail, referred to in our earlier news item, has been written up in The Financial Times, along with this griffin and other illustrations. The collection has now been moved to temporary storage, but is still under threat and needs a permanent home and financial assistance. To read the article in The Financial Times, click here. To find out more about the collection’s immediate needs, please visit their web-site.

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Can You Write a Ruthless Rhyme?

Are you a budding writer or a keen poet? Would you like to see your work published on-line? We are running a competition to find the best short poem in the style of a Ruthless Rhyme, a humorous verse form invented by Harry Graham.

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Help for the Brooking Collection

Help for the Brooking Collection

Since the age of two, Charles Brooking has been collecting architectural detail. He has amassed 250,000 items of salvage, which have just been moved into temporary storage following the withdrawal of support from the University of Greenwich. The collection urgently needs a new home and funding to preserve it for the future. Can you help? For more on this unique archive, click here.

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Weft and Warp

Weft and Warp

Among our Christmas Gift Ideas are a pashmina shawl from Global Nomadic Carpets, noted for their hand-made Kashmiri carpets.

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Presents for Gardeners

Presents for Gardeners

If you’re looking for a present for an avid gardener, visit our Twitter page to see the latest of our Christmas Gift Ideas.

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Our Christmas Gift to You

Our Christmas Gift to You

This month, Sheldrake Press is offering you a 50% discount on The Victorian House Book.

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Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932)

Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932)

On this day in 1843, the garden designer Gertrude Jekyll was born in London. She created over 400 gardens in the UK, Europe and America, and is particularly noted for her collaboration with the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens.  Her design style employed cottage-garden motifs to make her meticulous arrangements of plants appear effortless and uncontrived. Notable examples of her work are Vann Hambledon in Godalming, Surrey, Glebe House in Connecticut, USA, and Les Bois de Moutiers, France.

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Seven Billionth Human Born

Seven Billionth Human Born

Congratulations to all those special seven-billionth babies out there! To mark the occasion, we are giving our readers a 45% discount on The Kate Greenaway Baby Book, a baby journal for the first five years, and The Kate Greenaway First Year Baby Book. Simply write to us at to get a copy.

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Free Downloads

The following are now available as downloads:

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Plans for London Bridge Station

Plans for London Bridge Station

Network Rail have unveiled their plans for the redevelopment of London Bridge station. The aim of the new design, by the architectural firm Grimshaw, is to make it easier for passengers to enter and exit, but the scheme has drawn controversy due to the proposed demolition of the buildings at 64-84 Tooley Street.

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The Great Exhibition

The Great Exhibition

Today is the 160th anniversary of the closing of the Great Exhibition. In the five months since it opened, over six million people had visited and viewed the 100,000 objects on display, including exhibits from France, America, Canada, India and Russia. To the surprise of many, the exhibition made a profit of £186,000, most of which was used to create the South Kensington museums. The influence of the Great Exhibition on interior design is examined in The Victorian House Book.

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Membership Area

We publish books not just because they contain a good idea, but often because they advance a cause: for example, better home improvement, environmental conservation or literary revival.

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Augustus Pugin (1812-1852)

Augustus Pugin (1812-1852)

On this day in 1852, the architect Augustus Pugin died at his home in Ramsgate, Kent. His most famous project was his work with Sir Charles Barry on the Palace of Westminster after the old building had been destroyed by fire in 1834.

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50 Home Decoration Suppliers

50 Home Decoration Suppliers

Wilsons Antiques, based in West Sussex, is the 50th company to be added to the Victorian House Decoration section on our Links page. Over the past few months, this resource has grown steadily, and now profiles a wide selection of companies providing goods and services useful for the renovation of period houses.

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Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898)

Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898)

The Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones was born 178 years ago today.

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Should Architecture Be Attractive?

Should Architecture Be Attractive?

In our Architectural Mini-Quiz, launched on 23rd August, we asked you to say which of these three buildings you preferred: (from left) A, B or C. We can now report that 71% of respondents chose A, 20% B and 9% C. There is a lesson here.

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Mini-Quiz Results

Mini-Quiz Results

We asked you to say which of these three buildings you preferred: (from left) A, B or C. We can now report that 71% of respondents chose A, 20% B and 9% C. There is a lesson here. To read more, please turn to our Blog.

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Architectural Mini-Quiz

Architectural Mini-Quiz

Here are three buildings in the seaside town of Moneglia in Liguria, northern Italy.

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History of Artificial Stone

History of Artificial Stone

The invention of Coade stone in 1769 allowed architects to add more ornamentation to buildings than had previously been possible. Coade stone mimicked natural stone but was cheaper and longer lasting. The history of artificial stone, including Coade stone, is chronicled in a book by Simon Scott, director of Haddonstone Ltd. His company, just added to our Victorian House Decoration page, produces its own variety of artificial stone.

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Simply Mouldings

Simply Mouldings

In the 19th century, plasterwork such as cornices and dado rails played both a decorative and practical role. Dado rails, for example, prevented walls from being knocked by furniture, but also added visual interest because contrasting colours could be used above and below. If you wish to add or replace decorative plasterwork in your house, Simply Mouldings can make and install many features, including dado rails and ceiling roses. Their contact details are now available on our Victorian House Decoration page.

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Home Decoration Resource

Home Decoration Resource

Our list of recommended suppliers to the Victorian house renovation market has risen to 40, each with a profile describing the goods and services on offer. Take a look at our Victorian House Decoration Links.

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Sir Joseph Paxton (1801-1865)

Sir Joseph Paxton (1801-1865)

Today is the 210th anniversary of the birth of Sir Joseph Paxton, who designed the Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition of 1851. The building was modelled on a conservatory he had created at Chatsworth to house the giant Victoria amazonica water lily. The plant’s vein structure is said to have been the inspiration for his design. There is a chapter on garden design, including conservatories, in The Victorian House Book. Paxton’s railway work is covered in The Railway Heritage of Britain.

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Bespoke Front Doors

Bespoke Front Doors

‘However charming the gate or imposing the porch, it is the entrance door which captures the eye of the visitor as he waits to be admitted’ (Robin Guild, The Victorian House Book). Impress your visitors with a replica Georgian or Victorian timber door made by GBS Joinery, whose details are now available on our Links page under the Victorian House Decoration section. They offer a bespoke service, making and fitting doors and windows for residential and commercial properties.

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Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953)

Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953)

On this day in 1870, the Anglo-French writer Hilaire Belloc was born in La Celle-Saint-Cloud, France.

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Top Table at St Pancras

Top Table at St Pancras

The great days of railway luxury are returning. Today Top Table have a special offer on the St Pancras Grand, ‘a stylish, romantic destination restaurant’.

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Home Fires

Home Fires

The Victorians placed great importance on the fireplace as ‘the cornerstone of domestic comfort’ (Robin Guild, The Victorian House Book). If you would like to bring some authentic Victorian character into your home, Nostalgia UK Ltd supplies antique fireplaces in wood, stone, slate, cast iron and marble. We have just given them a link on our Links page under the category of ‘Victorian House Decoration’. They have a stock of more than 2,500 fireplaces, including classical, Gothic, Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau designs. Visitors to their web-site can take a virtual tour of their showrooms and warehouses.

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Browsers Bookshop and Café

Browsers Bookshop and Café

The Victorian House Book is now available at the Browsers Bookshop and Café, in the picturesque town of Woodbridge in Suffolk. This is an environment where visitors can browse at their leisure, with tea, coffee and cakes available if the mood takes them. Recipes for all the cakes can be found in the cookery books on the shelves. There is a children’s branch of Browsers further down the road.

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Scott of St Pancras

Grand staircase of St Pancras Hotel

Today is the bicentenary of the birth of Sir George Gilbert Scott, architect of the Midland Grand Hotel at St Pancras, re-opened this year and featured today as a Google Doodle.

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E. A. Higginson, Staircase Makers

E. A. Higginson, Staircase Makers

When so many people are doing loft conversions or digging out their basements, there is a frequent need for new flights of stairs. To ensure a seamless connection between old and new, you need to be able to copy your existing staircase accurately. This is just the sort of job that E. A. Higginson can do. Their contact details are now available on our Victorian House Decoration page.

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Star-Gazing Frog

Star-Gazing Frog

In Japan, frogs were thought to bring good fortune, allowing money to return to a person (the Japanese word for ‘frog’ is the same as ‘to return’).

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London Stained Glass

London Stained Glass

There can be no denying the importance the Victorians placed on first impressions, and with grandeur in mind they turned the front entrances of their houses into showcases of architectural detail and decorative art, in which stained glass was ever-present.

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Free Download Available Now

Free Download Available Now

The Victorian House Book by downloading an Extended Contents List, now available at the end of the standard Contents list on the book information page.

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Original Architectural Antiques

Original Architectural Antiques

We have added Original Architectural Antiques to our Links section. They supply oak beams, antique doors and door surrounds, new and old oak flooring, railings, chandeliers and limestone garden ornaments.

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Chapel House Fireplaces

Chapel House Fireplaces

We have given a link in our web-site to Chapel House Fireplaces, a family business in West Yorkshire that specializes in the restoration and sale of good-quality antique fireplaces.

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Amdega Collapse

Sadly, we have removed the link we gave in our web-site to Amdega Ltd, the world’s oldest conservatory makers. They have gone into Administration after trading for 137 years. You can read the story here.

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Mr Jones of North London

Mr Jones of North London

We have just added a link to Mr Jones of Muswell Hill, makers of curtains, blinds and traditional upholstery.

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Stung to Death by Savage Bees

Stung to Death by Savage Bees

For your entertainment, we have just posted sample couplets by Harry Graham in our Preview of When Grandmama Fell Off The Boat.

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Mother’s Day Competition Winners

This week five mothers or mothers-to-be have won copies of The Kate Greenaway Baby Book through KiddieBase, the on-line retailer. They are Kelly Brett, Wendy Stanger, Danielle Baker, Abigail Bishop and Samantha Ripley.

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Mother’s Day Competition

Mother’s Day Competition

This week five copies of The Kate Greenaway Baby Book can be won through KiddieBase, the on-line retailer. To win one of five prize bundles, including gift vouchers, hampers, jewellery and our Baby Book, KiddieBase invite you to say what being a mother means to you or submit your favourite quotation about motherhood.

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The Well-Known Mr Crapper

The Well-Known Mr Crapper

We have given a link to Thomas Crapper, who gave their name to an inglorious noun and verb.

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Praise for Baby Book

Praise for Baby Book

Sue Woodford-Hollick says of The Kate Greenaway Baby Book: ‘The cover is stunning and its simplicity makes it very powerful indeed.’ High praise, coming from the former Chair of the London Arts Council.

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Gifts for a Merrier Christmas

With every purchase of our beautifully presented hardback, The Victorian House Book by Robin Guild, get a free copy of the hilarious When Grandmama Fell Off The Boat by Harry Graham. To redeem this offer, simply enter the code WEB1210 at the check-out. Free UK P+P.

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Baby Book Published

Baby Book Published

The new edition of The Kate Greenaway Baby Book has arrived.

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Celebrate Our Launch

Celebrate Our Launch

To celebrate the launch of our new web-site, now live, we are offering 30% off two of our most popular titles, The Victorian House Book by Robin Guild and When Grandmama Fell Off The Boat by Harry Graham. To obtain these discounts, simply enter the promotional code WEB1110 at the check-out.

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