Book Review The Famous Guide to Britain

But, here, he reveals another surprising talent: he’s a good tour guide to the scary, dirty, seedy side of the country. Beginning with a section exploring the history of our stores, restaurants, and baths, he continues with disasters, murders, murderers, and other notable criminals before expanding his tour to include sports, music, literature, and broadcasting.

Donnelley’s research is meticulous and his stories are often disturbing, including, whenever possible, the exact number of shots or hammer blows our most ruthless killers used to finish off their victims.

It is also a source of intriguing curiosities.

I was delighted to learn, among many other things, that Sherlock Holmes was originally called “Sherringford Holmes” and his partner, Dr. Watson, “Ormond Sacker”, and that the first public baths in London in 1852 were called public waiting rooms and they charged 2 pence. (tuppence) to spend a penny.

You will also discover where in Liverpool Adolf Hitler is said to have stayed in 1912.

Packed with remarkable facts, it’s a book that shows the seedy underbelly of this scepter island.

  • Paul Donnelley’s The Notorious Guide To Britain (Mardle, £12.99) is out now.

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