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About the book
  • Published: 1 September 2016
  • ISBN: 9781448189885
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

The Tunnel Through Time

A New Route for an Old London Journey




The doyenne of London history travels over and under our great capital to reveal the layers of human existence underlying the Crossrail route as the new line through the heart of London takes shape

Crossrail, the ‘Elizabeth’ line, is simply the latest way of traversing a very old east–west route through what was once countryside to the city and out again. Visiting Stepney, Liverpool Street, Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street, Gillian Tindall traces the course of many of these historical journeys across time as well as space.

The Tunnel Through Time uncovers the lives of those who walked where many of our streets still run. These people spoke the names of ancient farms, manors and slums that now belong to our squares and tube stations. They endured the cycle of the seasons as we do; they ate, drank, worked and laughed in what are essentially the same spaces we occupy today. As Tindall expertly shows, destruction and renewal are a constant rhythm in London’s story.

  • Pub date: 1 September 2016
  • ISBN: 9781448189885
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

About the Author

Gillian Tindall

Gillian Tindall is a master of miniaturist history, well known for the quality of her writing and the scrupulousness of her research; she makes a handful of people, a few locations or a dramatic event stand for the much larger picture, as her seminal book The Fields Beneath, approached the history of Kentish Town, London. She has also written on London's Southbank (The House by the Thames), on southern English counties (Three Houses, Many Lives), and the Left Bank (Footprints in Paris), amongst other locations, as well as biography and prize-winning novels. Her latest book, The Tunnel through Time, traces the history of the Crossrail route, the forthcoming ‘Elizabeth’ line. She has lived in the same London house for over fifty years.

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Praise for The Tunnel Through Time

“Tindall has an eye for a good line. Her sources are eclectic and illuminating...The Tunnel Through Time is a book to savour. It is subtle, considered and powerfully evocative of London's "changeful" landscape.”

Daily Telegraph

“Tindall is a sure-footed, even revelatory guide to the treasures of London that Crossrail has unintentionally brought to our notice.”

Jerry White, Guardian

“In this engaging book Gillian Tindall ... a veteran historian with an eye for the macabre, the quirky and the absurd ... deftly weaves together archaeology, social history, politics, myth, religion and philosophy”

Richard Morrison, The Times

“Ms Tindall skilfully blends ancient histories, archaeological findings and contemporary context”

The Economist

“These underground stories remind us that buried spaces are places of protection as well as of the fearfully unknown, of hope and of political resistance, of science as well as of persistently chthonic mythology. There’s always a quirky and sometimes a grisly journey to be had beneath our streets”

Evening Standard

“[Gillian Tindall] has long been interested in resurrecting the lives of some of the hosts of the London dead who, as she says, lie "under our busy, careless feet". By following Crossrail's route, both below and over ground ... she has found a new and rewarding way of doing so”

Nick Rennison, Sunday Times

“Tindall delivers a fine, concise account of the early history of the Tube… In its research, its anecdotes and its historical imagination, The Tunnel Through Time is a readable journey across a two millennium-old route.”

Edwin Heathcote, Financial Times

“[It is] enchanting.”

Sunday Telegraph

“[The Tunnel Through Time is] absorbing.”

Sunday Times

“The hidden tales she recounts are the distilled results of knowledge acquired over decades by a veteran historian with an eye for the macabre, the quirky and the absurd…she deftly weaves together archaeology, social history, politics, myth, religion and philosophy…expect to be constantly surprised, even if you think you know London well.”

The Times

“Meticulously researched and full of lively vignettes.”

Spectator

“What differentiates Tindall…is the sheer scale of her enterprise and the breadth of her knowledge.”

Literary Review

“These underground stories remind us that buried spaces are places of protection as well as of the fearfully unknown, of hope and of political resistance, of science as well as of persistently chthonic mythology. There’s always a quirky and sometimes a grisly journey to be had beneath our streets.”

Evening Standard

“The book is at its best when Tindall is concerned with the city’s guts, the workings, when she lets herself witness this great transformation of our own time. Transport aficionados will appreciate her attention to detail while general readers will be heartened to be introduced to this mysterious world.”

Craig Taylor, Observer

“[Tindall] has written an absorbing account… This is a work of love and scholarship.”

Catholic Herald

“A thoughtful and engaging interpretation of London’s history through metaphors of tunneling and excavation.”

Richard Dennis, History Today

“Enchanting.”

Daily Telegraph

“Fascinating… One of her strengths is to discover historical first-person narratives, and this, plus her extensive research, make her book an entertaining and informative read”

Chris Nancollas, Tablet

“Engaging… It’s an entertaining book. Crossrail should stock copies on its trains, ready for the inevitable day when signal failure traps thousands of us between Bedlam and a plague pit.”

Richard Morrison, The Times


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