Category: books

One thing that I always meant to do, but have never actually got around to doing, is to put up lists of favourite or recommended London books – a) to perhaps give you some thoughts on what you might read next, and b) to show off about how fantastically erudite and well-read I am. With […]
Should you want a wee bit of titillation, there is a ‘Jack the Ripper tour’ just about every day of the year. In fact, so popular is this murder tourism, that some summer evenings the streets of Spitalfields are crowded with groups of people enjoying tales of violence and brutality against women. The ‘Ripper Industry’ […]
During the war the London County Council surveyors chronicled the devastation caused by enemy bombing on the capital. Hand colouring street level OS maps, they plotted the buildings damaged; generally speaking, the darker the colour, the more the devastation – black was “total destruction”, purple “damaged beyond repair”, right through to yellow “blast damage: minor in nature”.
I’ve done a book review for the London Society on a new collection of writing about London buses and the bus network called ‘Bus Fare‘. It’s a great read – about 100 different articles, letters, diary entries, journalism, biography, even fiction – about the history of ‘the buses’ and, more importantly, the cultural associations and […]
I’ve just done a review of Curiocity for the London Society (which you can read here). If you’ve not seen the book, go and do so, because it’s a fantastic piece of work – page after page of stories, trivia, maps and itineraries that take in a huge amount of London’s history, sites, legends and literature. […]
I have a terrible confession to make, one that will see me shunned by London society, if not drummed out of the city altogether: I don’t actually like Battersea power station. Giles Gilbert Scott’s brooding brick behemoth by Chelsea Bridge has always been too squat, too square for my tastes. His Bankside power station (now […]
There is no shortage of books about London – either histories of the whole city or of specific districts, works on particular aspects of its life and culture, or illustrated books of varying degrees of quality. The titles listed here are my favourite histories of the city; each has something different to offer and all […]
Get the Newsletter

Follow me on Twitter