A yummy lunch today with Lady Antonia Fraser at the Whistler Restaurant at Tate Britain. Tate sits on the site of the Millbank Penitentiary where Joshua Cross (one of the labourers who started the fire) did time. And of course it houses the Turner watercolours of the 1834 fire, along with the rest of the Turner bequest, so all very evocative.
We talked about the old Palace of Westminster in relation to the Great Reform Act: that’s to be the subject of her next book, entitled “The Perilous Question”. Should I rethink my title? Perhaps “The Day Parliament Burned Down” would be better? It certainly does what it says on the tin. It might be a better subtitle at any rate than “The Burning of the Houses of Parliament in 1834”. On the other hand, as my agent points out, “Conflagration” is nicely historical and has typographical possibilities for a strong cover.
The bottom line is: which option will sell the most books?