Scarborough's gem of a church is perfect setting for historian Simon Heffer's Victorian treat

Historians Simon Heffer and Allan Mallinson in St Martin-on-the-Hill
Historians Simon Heffer and Allan Mallinson in St Martin-on-the-Hill

Another new setting was added to the repertoire when St Martin-on-the-Hill became a venue for the Books by the Beach annual literature festival.

The backdrop of windows and paintings of William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti was perfect for Simon Heffer's event based round his book The Age of Decadence: Britain 1880 and 1914.

It is one of Scarborough's true gems and a venue with the grafitas the event demanded.

Host and fellow historian Allan Mallinson introduced Heffer and the book and hastened in a discussion of the period - from politics and Disraeli and poverty and opulence to music hall and Marie Lloyd and cricket and football.

It was a heavyweight event - full of intelligent insight and considered observation on past and present - shot through with the light of Heffer's wry humour.