Reading progress update: I've read 138 out of 384 pages.

The Lion and the Unicorn: Gladstone vs Disraeli - Richard Aldous

Ok, I'm out. DNF @ p. 138.

 

After another way-too-long section about the love lives of both Disraeli and Gladstone, I got a description about how Disraeli became a favourite of Queen Vic's. 

 

Then we have this:

1862 Exhibition

The parliamentary delegation stood together gossiping in a close gaggle only occasionally bothering to glance at the exhibits that surrounded them. Throughout the hall were great shows of armaments – uneasy symbols of British military prowess following a below-par war in the Crimea – and more crassly commercial merchandise that would soon earn this showcase the unkind popular nickname ‘the Palace of Puffs’. This was the follow-up to the Great Exhibition of 1851, now moved to a venue (later the Natural History Museum) just off Cromwell Road. The Queen had insisted that this new exhibition must still go ahead despite the death of Albert, but she did not bother to attend. With the energising patronage of the Prince Consort gone, and the Queen absent, this grand opening seemed flat and routine. ‘This is not so fascinating a one as that you remember when you made me an assignation by the crystal [palace],’ Disraeli afterwards wrote disappointedly to Mrs Brydges Willyams of Torquay.

Now, I know for a fact that this is incorrect. The Natural History Museum was not designed until 1864, it was not opened until 1899.

The building that our author refers to as the Palace of Puffs is the building that is now the Victoria and Albert Museum, and which previously housed a museum dedicated to manufacturing. 

 

Given that the history of both museums are easy to verify - and the NHM was famously purpose-built as directed by Richard Owen to house the natural history section that was previously housed in the British Museum, I am doubtful about the veracity of other "facts" presented in this book.

 

I doubt that I am missing out on much.