If you are not familiar with Shire Books, they focus on one topic, making each of them an excellent source of information on a particular subject. They are rich in detail and have the bonus of being inexpensive. There are hundreds of titles. Some examples are:
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Ancient Boats and Ships: building and use of rafts, boats, and ships in north-west Europe up to 1500
Animal Graves and Memorials: county by county gazetteer of historic memorials and graves of animals.
British Military Rifles: History of the attempts to develop and improve the British army’s rifles.
British Teapots and Coffee Pots: This book charts the development of 300 years of tea and coffee pots and gives information on the materials, designs, factories, and styles. It includes relevant places to visit.
Cameras in Disguise: This book gives the history of cameras manufactured to look like different objects, some for fun and some for espionage.
Coade Stone: industrial history of the Coade stone factory in London.
Delftware Tiles: This book illustrates examples of the ‘Dutch’ blue and white tiles. How the tiles were made and decorated is explained.
Discovering Cathedrals: Includes 48 cathedrals with a plan and guide to each. 130 colour illustrations; cathedral websites.
Discovering Fortifications from the Tudors to the Cold War: British fortifications built in the age of artillery
Discovering Place-Names: This is the fourth edition of this popular book. More than 1500 place-names are explained from Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England, and the Isle of Man. Interpretations are offered against the background of historical events and cultural developments.
Goss and Souvenir Heraldic China: Adolphus Goss came up with the idea of applying coats of arms to pieces of porcelain produced at his father’s factory. Details are given on production and identification.
Porcelain Pastille Burners: These were used by Victorians to overcome household smells. 80 examples are shown in the book.
Scottish Pottery: This is a colour edition. Highlights include pre-industrial pottery, the factory system, the potteries, pottery marks, and arts and crafts.
Spoons: This book details the early history of spoons and then spans the years from the commonwealth through the 19th centuries. It moves on to include the Arts and Crafts movement to the present day. A list of places to visit is included.
Staffordshire Figures: These figures were made in the Victorian era for working class people. They were crudely modelled and naively painted and represent the interests of the common people. The book contains an overview that includes the manufacture, workers’ conditions, and illustrates some of the figures.
The Archaeology of Rabbit Warrens: description of the main archaeological features of warrens and discusses their date and function, the banks and walls used to contain predators, the lodges in which warreners lived and the mounds in which rabbits were encouraged to reside.
The Art of Death in Graeco-Roman Egypt: introduction to funerary art of the period.
The Salt Industry: explanation of the various processes by which salt is obtained and history of the industry in Britain
The Victoria Cross: This book discusses the origins of awards for gallantry, the impact of the Russian War, the creation of the Victoria Cross, its design and later changes, places to visit and other details.
Victorian and Edwardian Prisons: development of prison buildings, life and labour of prisoners, position of prison officers; attitudes to women and juvenile prisoners
War Memorials in Britain: Memorials are classified by type, structure, and designer; 100 colour illustrations and a gazetteer are included.
Wedgwood Ware: A colour edition covering blue and white jasper, black basalt, and creamware made by Josiah Wedgwood.
Windmills: the history and construction of Britain’s surviving historic windmills
Watermills: history and development of watermills as working buildings.
Wattle and Daub: explanation of the wattle and daub building technique of Britain’s historic buildings
For other titles and to order visit the website Shire Books