Inside History Live!

Inside History Live! 19th Century Underworld 21st March 2020, 7.30, Tudor Lounge, Chester Join Inside History in Chester for our 2nd instalment of Inside History Live! This time our guest speaker is Dr Stephen Carver, the author of The 19th Century Underworld and The Author Who Outsold Dickens. The evening will focus on crime, corruption… Continue reading Inside History Live!

Sunk in Shark Alley

Historian on the incredible bravery and terrible tragedy when 450 on stricken ship died at Danger Point Sunday Post feature on yours truly, Shark Alley and the wreck of the Birkenhead by Sally McDonald They call it Shark Alley – an area of water off chillingly named Danger Point and the hunting ground for the world’s densest… Continue reading Sunk in Shark Alley

Man of La Manchester

It's been a long time coming, but my new biography of the 'Lancashire Novelist' William Harrison Ainsworth, The Author Who Outsold Dickens is published in hardback today from Pen & Sword Books. Here's the Prologue... On the evening of Thursday, 15 September 1881, the man they called the ‘Lancashire Novelist’ attended a mayoral banquet in his… Continue reading Man of La Manchester

Traveller in the Poor Man’s Country

New post for the Wordsworth Blog As the freelance journalist is never off the clock, William Thackeray was, like friend and rival Charles Dickens, a born people watcher. In a short piece for Punch entitled ‘Waiting at the Station’ written in March 1850, Thackeray thus turns the everyday experience of killing time at Fenchurch Street… Continue reading Traveller in the Poor Man’s Country

The Author Who Outsold Dickens

THE AUTHOR WHO OUTSOLD DICKENS: The Life and Work of W.H. Ainsworth By Stephen Carver Published by Pen & Sword History, January 2020 Now available from Pen & Sword here William Harrison Ainsworth (1805 – 1882) is probably the most successful 19th Century writer that most people haven’t heard of. Journalist, essayist, poet and, most… Continue reading The Author Who Outsold Dickens

Review: The 19th Century Underworld by Stephen Carver

A review of my latest book, The 19th Century Underworld, published by Pen & Sword History, by the inestimable Dr. Stephen Basdeo... Everyone nowadays seems fascinated by the Victorian criminal underworld. From Ripper Street to Peaky Blinders, it seems people cannot get enough of murdered sex workers and brutal yet gentlemanly gangsters. We all now… Continue reading Review: The 19th Century Underworld by Stephen Carver

The Last Chartist Petition – Part One

The million-strong People's Vote March today put me in mind of the Chartists. OK, I know that Chartism didn't end well, with the final petition discredited by the Tories (claiming the signatures were fake, the demonstration much smaller than it was, and turning out the army), but everything they were fighting for has since come… Continue reading The Last Chartist Petition – Part One

The Newgate Controversy

A new article for the Wordsworth Editions Blog, touching upon the subject of my next book from Pen & Sword History... When considering an author as culturally monolithic as Charles Dickens, it’s easy to forget that he wasn’t born the national author, anymore than Shakespeare was. As a young journalist in the early-1830s, although already… Continue reading The Newgate Controversy

The Real Harry Flashman

Speaking of Victorian pornography, here's an extract from my new book, The 19th Century Underworld, published by Pen & Sword Books... Edward Sellon was a particularly colourful public school Dugdale writer. A subaltern in the 4th Regiment of the East India Company Madras Infantry and a libertine of the old school, Sellon could have been… Continue reading The Real Harry Flashman

The Pornographer Royal

I was interviewed by Southwark News this week, talking about Henry Spencer Ashbee, Victorian businessman and erotomaniac... There are quite a few unusual things about Henry Spencer Ashbee, a Victorian gentleman who was born in the Rising Sun inn on Blackfriars Road in 1834. He was a self-made man and an only child in an… Continue reading The Pornographer Royal