Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Horrible Histories Gruesome Guides - Oxford by Terry Deary and Martin Brown (Scholastic)

Charlotte was absolutely delighted to find that she'd won a book in a colouring competition organised by Oxford Heritage at a recent kid's history event...
The "Horrible Histories Gruesome Guides" are fabulous little localised paperback history books chock full of rather stomach-churning information about your favourite towns and cities.

The "Oxford" edition pulls no punches, going way way back in history to the very first settlements on the bank of the Thames.

Oxford sprang up around the river, but it was when the first foundations for the University of Oxford were laid, all the way back in the 11th Century that the city became renowned as a seat of learning.

But no Horrible Histories book would be complete without a fair share of yucky stuff. Like for example the fact that one Oxford College was built over a sewer system, and part of a building collapsed into what was basically a colossal pit of poo. Or the fact that various English monarchs found Oxford streets the perfect place to burn argumentative religious figures throughout the middle ages - a very tough time to be a Bishop, obviously!

There's a fantastic map showing you all the highlights of where horrid things happened (in fact I'm sitting here typing this right next to the notorious Banbury Road, described in the book as being a fantastic spot for a bit of headless horseman spotting, but also pointing out that you're more likely to be run over by a speeding driver here now rather than a spectre on a horse!)

Having lived in Oxford for way too much of my adult life, it was a fascinating read. Dig up some history in your locale with the "Gruesome Guides" range.

"Horrible Histories Gruesome Guides: Oxford" by Terry Deary and Martin Brown is available now, published by Scholastic Books.