From Knobbly Knees contests to exotic cocktails and whale blubber pies, holiday camps

Billy Butlin, a Canadian born in 1899 in South Africa, first had the idea for his holiday camps between the wars. He noticed that in Britain it always rained, and yet families were locked out of their dismal boarding houses during the day and had absolutely nothing to do. 'Everyone has a right to leisure', he insisted, not only the idle rich, who anyway could always escape the downpours by travelling abroad.

Normally, when people are described as 'forgotten figures', there's a faint air of regret about it. In the case of MP John Beckett, though, his obscurity seems thoroughly deserved.

Whatever happens in next Tuesday's election, the United States is in for a first. If Hillary Clinton wins she'll become the first female president, while Donald Trump would be the country's oldest at 70.

Delight in the pages of this wonderful book of portraits as Hummus models various outfits, including a glam punk get-up and a 'Frida Katlo'. Who said fashion was going to the dogs?

At first glance, this is an utterly bonkers book. Peter Stothard, recalls Latin sessions with four friends in an East End pub, talking about Seneca. The four of them were all connected with Margaret Thatcher.

The Zoo by Isobel Charman tells the astonishing tales of London Zoo

Isobel Charman's account of how London Zoo was founded in the 19th century is a very personal one, told through the eyes of seven of the people involved. First up is Sir Stamford Raffles, who, in 1824, returns to Britain from his role with the East India Company a broken man: four of his five children have died. The one thing keeping him going is the dream of founding a menagerie in London. His wife, Sophia, encourages this, knowing the pleasure Raffles got from their collection of animals in the East. The couple share 'joyful memories of their children playing with the young tigers in the nursery... how they had all traipsed through the aviary, dodging flapping wings and bullets of excrement'.

Incredibly, one British study showed that almost a fifth of parents had misspelled their child's name on the birth register. Keira Knightley, for example, should have been Kiera.

My Life In Fashion includes an extremely rare interview in which Bardot tells us how she put her stamp on style, and the glamorous photographs that accompany it are as show-stopping as ever.

Craig Murray was sacked as British Ambassador to Uzbekistan in 2004. He had revealed that Britain was receiving information gained from victims of the barbaric tortures inflicted by the Uzbek state

Tara Browne must be one of the few people who is more famous for dying than he ever was in life. His death ended up inspiring John Lennon to write the song A Day In The Life.

'Taking photos of attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places' was how Slim Aarons described his work and this extraordinary book, Women, reflects that perfectly.

To celebrate the end of World War II, Diana's aunt Joyce had paid for the two young women to travel to Florence for two weeks.

Simon Garfield, author of Timekeepers, is fascinated by the way our lives are dominated by time. We never seem to have enough.

In New York in the early summer of 1893, the bodies of dead cats began turning up all over Brooklyn. The area already had a reputation for being overrun with 'noisy tramp cats'.

According to this book by German author Norman Ohler, the whole of the Third Reich was awash with narcotics. The apt title of Blitzed sums up how drugged up he believes the nation was.

Drinks with Dead Poets: Bringing great poets back to life over a few stiff drinks 

The poet and playwright Glyn Maxwell has taught at Princeton, Columbia and New York universities, and it is an imaginary poetry seminar that provides the framework for his latest book on the who, why and how of poetry. If you love poetry, you should read this. But if you think poetry is too hard, too boring, too old-school, then you must read it. It might just change the way you see the world.

Who better to write a book on happiness than a professional illusionist like Derren Brown? We all know - don't we? - that the quest for happiness, as an end in itself, is a chimera.

Bainbridge's biographer, Brendan King, was her editorial assistant for 23 years and has set himself the task to be a detective - sifting through her letters and journals.

Mike Massimino seems a nice bloke, smiley, calm and straightforward, as this memoir shows him to be. His book isn't up there with the fairies, it's completely down to earth - and that's a recommendation.

John de St Jorre's earliest memory is of a young, blonde woman in a half-open blouse, standing in a large, tile-floored room as snow fell outside on Thirties London.

Tim Marshall's tour of the world's flags, their histories and meanings, is a sobering lesson in just how silly we human beings can get.

What better way to showcase Man's Best Friend than with a lovely collection of quotes and photographs all squished together in this adorable book? Sure to cheer up those with a canine crush.

Brave boys the fat man branded liars: How Cyril Smith's victims were ignored when they

All this week, Labour MP Simon Danczuk is laying bare how the Establishment, the Liberal Party, the police and even MI5 covered up the industrial-scale child abuse of 29-stone Rochdale MP Cyril Smith. Today, how his victims were ignored and betrayed when they tried to expose their suffering.