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Welcome to Shire Books

Shire has a new look!

The Shire Library series has received a beautiful revamp from renowned heritage designer and author Peter Ashley. Look out for nearly 100 of the new covers appearing here and on spinners everywhere over the course of 2014, and for a limited time only you can buy 3 books for the price of 2 here on the website. Happy reading!

London Plaques App

Now available on iTunes! Let this authoritative app, produced in association with Aimer Media and Open Plaques, be your guide to London's rich heritage of historical figures from Samuel Johnson to Charles Dickens to Jimi Hendrix. Perfect for both iPhone & iPad & only £1.99!

Railway Architecture

The great arched train sheds of Victorian Britain are often seen as the nineteenth-century equivalent of medieval cathedrals: once specific railway buildings became necessary around 1830 British architects seized the opportunity with both hands, designing some of the great buildings of their age. However, these grand buildings are only part of the story – not only was the country peppered with humbler individually styled station buildings, but also with bridges, signal boxes, engine sheds and other structures specific to the railways. In this illustrated introduction, Bill Fawcett tells the story of railway architecture from the age of George Stephenson to modern times, including such influential architects as Sir George Gilbert Scott and Charles Holden.

Art Deco

Although usually associated with the 1920s and the ‘30s, in fact the Art Deco style had begun to emerge in France prior to the advent of the First World War. But it was during the interwar years that the style, reaching full maturity, was adopted by the international elite as the perfect expression of modern opulence and elegance, and to this day Art Deco designs are redolent of the age of Jazz, cocktails, the Charleston, speakeasies, Hollywood glamour, New York skyscrapers and, above all, style. The ‘20s was also a period of great technological advances in engineering and transportation, and the perpetual modernity and futuristic aura of Art Deco are evocative of this too. Here, BBC Antiques Roadshow expert Eric Knowles provides a lavishly illustrated guide to this most alluring and timeless of styles.

Bed Manners

A vintage light-hearted guide to the fraught battlefield of bedroom etiquette ... Ever wanted to know how to avoid horrifying your husband with your nightly toilette? Or avoid incurring the wrath of your wife when creeping home late at night? First published in the 1930s, the humorous advice in ‘Bed Manners’ reveals the rules of bedroom etiquette, including whose responsibility it is to investigate strange sounds, how to make morning conversation, and coping with a bedfellow who kicks, snores or steals all the covers.

Horse Racing in Britain and Ireland

Often called the sport of kings, horse racing dates back at least to the chariot races of the ancient Olympic Games. Arriving in Britain with the Romans in the first century BC, its popularity among the elite led to the breeding of thoroughbred racehorses and prompted the establishment of a formal racing calendar with flat races and steeple chases at a plethora of dedicated racecourses throughout the country. Now no longer restricted to the aristocracy, a day at the races has become a perennial highlight of the social calendar. Shedding new light on this increasingly popular equestrian sport, Anne Holland here explores the broad history of horse racing from the horses, jockeys and racecourses to the practice of bookmaking and those in the audience.

Pillboxes and Tank Traps

With invasion a very real threat, in 1940 Great Britain began a huge military construction programme designed to stop an invading army in its tracks. Around vulnerable coastlines, and inland, thousands of pillboxes, anti-tank barriers and other obstacles were erected to defend against attacks from sea and sky. Though many of these structures were dismantled in the wake of the Second World War, the coast and even some inland areas still boast a wealth of fascinating remains; in this fully illustrated introduction, fortifications authority Bernard Lowry guides the inquiring reader in identifying these remaining defensive structures and explains their seemingly 'random' placement across the British landscape.

The Touring Caravan

From the original horse-drawn caravan to the sophisticated and well-appointed luxury leisure vehicle we know today, this book follows the dynamic evolution of the touring caravan over the last century. Using a selection of images from his archive, expert Andrew Jenkinson reveals how technical advances as well as interior design revolutionised the touring caravan in the United Kingdom, and how caravanning became a culture and a lifestyle choice. Covering well-known brands such as Eccles, Sprite, Swift and Bailey, this lively and informative book will appeal to caravan enthusiasts and social historians alike, and rekindle happy memories for anyone who has holidayed in a touring caravan.

Volkswagen Beetle

Few cars have achieved the iconic status of Volkswagen’s classic and much-loved Beetle – yet its origins are intertwined with the dark days of Nazism. This book looks at those origins, at the marque’s initial post-war rescue by the British and the effect of early VW Director General Heinz Nordhoff’s forward-looking desire to perfect one model rather than spread the company’s talent over a range of designs, at the impact of radical-minded advertising campaigns and at the Beetle’s never-to-be-beaten production record for a single model of nearly 22 million cars. Bringing the reader right up to the present day, marque expert Richard A. Copping recounts the Beetle’s story in a lively and authoritative manner guaranteed to delight devotee and casual browser alike.

Shire Journal

Eyes in the Sky: National Aviation Month

Stuart Hadaway & David Hadaway

From August 1914, for the first time armies could gain almost real-time information on the distant positions and movements of the enemy.  Faster than a speeding horseman, able to cover much more ground in one s...