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Lucy Lethbridge

Non-fiction writer
Courtauld Institute of Art

Lucy Lethbridge is a journalist and author, specialising in popular history books for adults and children. After many years working as a journalist for British and US publications, her first foray into writing books was a biographical study for nine to eleven year-olds of the nineteenth-century computer wizard Ada Lovelace. It won the 2002 Blue Peter prize for non-fiction. Since then she has written several biographies for the same age group, on subjects including Napoleon, Florence Nightingale, St Francis of Assisi and Annie Oakley. It was while she was working on a book about the history of piracy that she realised that the aspects of the pirate’s life that she found most intriguing were the domestic details of life aboard ship. This led, in a circuitous but logical way, to her first book for adults, a history of the domestic changes of the twentieth century through an examination of domestic service: Servants: a downstairs view of twentieth-century Britain was published by Bloomsbury in 2013.

Her next book (to be published in 2019) is a view of popular tourism entitled Tourists: how the British went abroad to find themselves. She is also the author of Spit and Polish: old-fashioned ways to banish dirt, dust and decay and Henry Smith: his life & legacy. Her current project is a history of office life so she spends quite a lot of time delving into the history of filing cabinets, shorthand, double-entry bookkeeping and time and motion studies; it’s a fascinating new world for someone who works at home in Camden, North London.

Lucy Lethbridge


Courtauld Institute of Art 2018-21
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