By Celia’s Arbour, A Tale of Portsmouth Town – Walter Besant, James Rice


Three friends grow up in 19th Century Portsmouth: Laddy, the son of murdered Polish nobility; Leonard, an orphan whose mother took a family mystery to a pauper’s grave – and Celia, secretly loved by both.

Entrusted with Celia’s protection while Leonard seeks his fortune, Laddy fends off threats to friendship, honour and life from a cruel-hearted Prussian, and a vengeful Pole…

Spanning the 1840s and 1850s, By Celia’s Arbour is a vibrant story of intertwined lives and loves. A tale of murder, survival, espionage, loyalty, nation and blackmail, it gives a vivid insight into Victorian Portsmouth’s life and society.

Written with first-hand knowledge of the walled town by Sir Walter Besant and co-writer James Rice, the book abounds with authentic detail. Whether it is the moment the boys find a corpse on Southsea beach, soldiers march through the streets to the resounding cheers of the crowds, or sailors debauch themselves in gaming houses and drinking dens, Portsmouth provides a unique, intoxicating backdrop.

With compelling relationships and exquisite descriptions, scenes from the old town jump off the page in this yarn written by two neglected contemporaries of Charles Dickens, well worth discovering.

This book has been completely reset and edited for the modern reader to make it easy to read and does not have the faults and blemishes of a scanned facsimile. This is not a scan, but a brand new edition, with a preface by Dr Alison Habens of the University of Portsmouth, carefully edited by Portsmouth local historian Matt Wingett.


More about By Celia’s Arbour here:

Additional information

Weight .46 kg
Dimensions 15 × 21 × 2.5 cm


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