An idiosyncratic and beautifully illustrated guide to walking the city, by the nation’s favourite architectural historian
Cobbled medieval alleyways and ornate Georgian boulevards. Decadent marble mansions and sprawling Victorian slums. Heaths, churches, squares and railways that, between them, hold two thousand years of secrets: London’s history is written into the very fabric of its streets.
In Cruickshank’s London, one of Britain’s best-loved historians vividly describes twenty historic walks that span North, East, South and West London. As he tours the city, Dan Cruickshank uncovers the forgotten stories that shaped the districts we all thought we knew: from the mysterious Celtic origins of Hampstead Heath, via the West Ham churches inscribed with the occult symbols of the Knights Templar, to the features of Tower Bridge that were included to appease Queen Victoria’s infamous temper. Throughout, Cruickshank peppers the book with colourful photos and easy-to-follow maps that make his wanderings immediately useful for anyone who wants to follow his footsteps through the capital.
Passionately written and deeply researched, Cruickshank’s London is not just a walking guide: it is a love letter to a city whose history immerses and inspires anyone who passes through.
“[An] inspiringly illustrated guide to walks across London . . . The book is engagingly personal. It proves how much we can miss if we don’t pay close attention to our surroundings and doing these walks will keep one fit to boot. It’s a nice way to tick someone’s name off your Christmas shopping list – or you might just decide to keep it for yourself.”
“There can be few people more passionate about Georgian architecture than Dan Cruickshank . . . His book is a call to explore London, because every street contains a story.”
“Such a beautiful book . . . Absolutely fascinating.”
“Dan Cruickshank reveals the capital . . . Each of these walks explores a crucial site in London's history with maps, information and anecdotes. From big-hitters like the Tower of London and St Pancras Station to less-glamorous locales, including Dagenham Civic Centre, Cruickshank finds great stories in the Big Smoke.”
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“Historic walks covering all corners of the city . . . [Cruickshank] tells little known stories including the West Ham churches inscribed with the occult symbols of the Knights Templar, and the features of Tower Bridge that were included to appease Queen Victoria’s temper.”
“A closer look at our magnificent city, under the eagle eye of Dan Cruickshank.”
Robert Elms, BBC Radio London
“The mixture of wide historical coverage and precise detail that characterizes Dan Cruickshank’s television excursions is generously present . . . All power to Cruickshank and his intrepid and knowledgeable kind. We need them.”
“Featuring maps and photographs, this new book is the perfect guide to the hidden history of London’s streets.”
BBC History Magazine
“For armchair walkers or history buffs wanting a stroll with a headful of interesting facts to share, it’s an excellent guide.”