If you haven’t heard of them, Shire books are slim paperbacks (about 60 pages) dedicated to social history and nostalgia.

The titles tend to be quite specific, even niche; some of the more recent titles, for example, include ‘Patchwork and Quilting in Britain’ and ‘Fashion in the 1920s.’ Even though the books are short in length, the copy is succinct and they provide plenty of photographs, drawings and ads, depending on the topic. They’re also a good way to dip your toes in to a subject or to try out something new.

Topics range from archaeology and Egyptology to industrial history and beyond. Some of the more obscure titles include, ‘Walking Sticks’, ‘Old Lawnmowers’, ‘Ceramic Water Closets’ and ‘Animal Graves and Memorials.’

I currently have 12 Shire books in my collection, however, a visit to their website today has me hankering for ‘American Movie Palaces’ and ‘Art Deco Tiles.’

A selection of my collection (if you’ll excuse the unintentional rhyme), includes the ‘Victorian Cemetery’, ‘Gargoyles and Grotesques’, ‘The 1930s Home’, and ‘Japanese Gardens in Britain’, for which I will provide photographs below.

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You can purchase Shire books directly from the website http://www.shirebooks.co.uk or via Amazon.

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