An idiosyncratic and beautifully illustrated guide to walking the city, by the nation’s favourite architectural historian
‘All power to Cruickshank and his intrepid and knowledgeable kind. We need them.’ TLS
London. City of ancient churches and bustling markets, palatial townhouses and modest terraces, two millennia of expansion, commerce and street life. This is its story.
In Cruickshank’s London, Britain’s favourite architectural historian offers a tour through thirteen districts that made London into London. From the mysterious Anglo-Saxon roots of Hampstead Heath, via Christopher Wren’s magisterial City churches, to the industrial bustle of Victorian Bermondsey, each of his walks explores a crucial site in our capital’s history – and reveals how it forged the modern capital.
Jumping between East Ham in the east and Kew in the west, Dan Cruickshank explores both world-famous buildings (the Tower of London and St Pancras Station) and oft-overlooked local landmarks (Dagenham Civic Centre and Kensal Green Cemetery). His tales reveal not only the most important moments in London’s history, but also the forgotten characters who witnessed them: the Huguenot weavers who transformed Spitalfields into a vibrant enclave of Georgian London, the visionary architects behind the likes of Somerset House and the Houses of Parliament, and the streetwalkers who once thronged London’s great sexual highway. Along the way, he peppers the book with beautiful photographs, historical sketches and handy maps, so you can immediately follow in his footsteps.
Above all, Cruickshank calls on you to explore London. Every street in the city contains a story. This book invites you to hear them.
“[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.”
“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.”
Best Travel Books, Shortlist
“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 in this huge book . . . All power to Cruickshank and his intrepid and knowledgeable kind. We need them.”