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‘How to Skin a Lion’ by Claire Cock-Starkey


In "How to Skin a Lion: A Treasury of Outmoded Advice" (British Library), advice on how to prevent tools from rusting sits next to advice on how to be a good man. Author Claire Cock-Starkey has mined the archives of the British Library for instructions on a wide range of matters, from putting back a dislocated jaw and making turnip wine to preventing bad luck (for starters, scatter primroses on the threshold and weave a branch of mountain ash into the house roof). Cock-Starkey, who was series editor for Schott's Almanacs, shares Ben Schott's mix of bemusement and reverence for the quirks of the past.