Liverpool Station, date unknown. Picked up here, and seemingly out of copyright

Liverpool Station, date unknown.
Picked up here, and seemingly out of copyright

First: a caveat. I am not a professional historian. I’m really a fiction writer.

Cat mummy, British Museum (photo by me)

Cat mummy, British Museum (photo by me)

However, since I write historical fiction (historical mysteries to be precise) I spend quite a lot of time doing research. I might as well admit it – I’m wildly enthusiastic about research, and I want to know as much as possible about the world I’m writing about.

There are so many things that would have been obvious to the people of the past, that we don’t have a clue about. How did they manage hygiene? What would the price of a loaf of bread be? What would be today’s hot gossip topic? How do you send a letter? Who would be behind the counter of a typical pub in any given era?

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Early phone belonging to my family, date unknown

They may be little things – details, some would say – but all those little things add up to the big picture. The little things are such an ingrained part of our mental world that they are not “details”; they are the very fabric which makes up our daily lives. More than anything, they convey the direct experience of people living and breathing in the past, and while I am interested in the big picture too – political events, artistic movements, scientific inventions – I find that, as a writer, it’s the  little things that are the most important. The Devil, as they say, is in the details, but really, so are the angels.

My current projects are set in 1919 and 1628 respectively, but I am eclectic and have roamed all over the past in earlier projects. And so, I thought “why not share some of the ridiculous amount of research I do online and see if anyone cares?” If nothing else, maybe it can save someone else a lot of hard work, and maybe, I can get a bit of help and not have embarrass myself by making silly mistakes.

Detail from Smokers in an Interior by David Teniers the younger, ca 1637

Detail from Smokers in an Interior by David Teniers the younger, ca 1637

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NOTE: This blog was earlier on Blogger.

I try to stick to copyright laws, something not made entirely easy by the fact that they differ from country to country and that it is sometimes hard to identify the creators of old images.

If you have objections to any use of images on this site, please let me know and I will take them down asap. You can reach me at this email address.