The Real World of Poldark

You’ve watched the TV series. You’ve read the books. But what was the Cornwall of Poldark’s time really like? The gentry couldn’t have spent all their time galloping up and down the cliffs. So what did they do? Haymakers wouldn’t often have been scything with their shirts off. So what did they wear?

Moreover, were Cornish miners prone to riot? And why? What was the humble cottage like the one in which Demelza grew up actually like? Were prisons as bad as the one in which Jim Carter was kept?

What was Cornwall’s national sport? What happened during a religious revival? How rife was smuggling? Did wreckers loot ships? What did a bal maiden actually do? And who were the real models for the Warleggans?

In this book you’ll meet some of the characters that make up the background in the Poldark saga. People like the irascible and hyper-active Sir Francis Basset, John Opie the talented Cornish artist, and Richard Trevithick , the equally talented Cornish engineer. Moreover, you’ll be introduced to more humble folk, such as the woman who was convicted of poisoning her husband, the tramp who committed suicide in a lonely field and the clergyman who managed a parliamentary borough, not to mention the woman who conducted her own defence after she had accused him of corruption and was sued for libel.

The chapters are …

  • The Mine
  • The Counthouse
  • The Cottage
  • The Road
  • The Sea
  • The Chapel
  • The Plain an Gwarry
  • The Crowd
  • The Great House
  • The Prison
  • The Borough
  • Conclusion and reflections

The paperback book is on sale at Amazon for £9.99. It’s available on all the Amazon sites, now including Australia. There is also an ebook, priced at £4.99. The book is also stocked by the excellent Edge of the World Bookshop at Penzance.

Some reviews

from the UK: “Brilliant knowledgeable writer. Really enjoyed it. Very easy to read. Many things I didn’t know.”

from Australia: “This book is important because it gives a real insight into life in Cornwall during the years 1783 to 1820, when the Poldark books are set. Winston Graham researched his novels well and this book is interesting for those who read the Poldark novels as well as for those with family roots in Cornwall. Many people of Cornish descent can trace their family history back to the late 18th century and ‘The Real World of Poldark’ by Bernard Deacon gives very useful insights into the ways of life of their ancestors. This book is a must for lovers of Cornwall, readers of the Poldark novels, and anyone of Cornish descent as well as the general reader.”

from the USA: “When I found ‘The Real World of Poldark’, I just had to read it and I’m glad that I did. The book is well researched, documented, and very readable including quotations from the newspapers of the period. Yes, reading about the real poverty, the callousness of the gentry toward the poor, the illness and death, squalid living conditions of many is tough but reality bites, doesn’t it. The look back was very enlightening.”