Lost London: An A-Z of Forgotten Landmarks and Lost Traditions

. October 2012. 192p. 978-1-84317-803-3. 15.95.
Documentary film editor Guard was a bicycle courier in London for six years and knows the city well. When he realized many examples of London’s long and varied history had been destroyed with no visible indications where they stood, he decided to do what he could to rectify the situation. In his words, “This humble book aims to amuse its readers by describing some of the buildings and streets, the jobs and habits, the markets, fairs and pastimes that have made London what it is today.” There are more than 150 diverse and fascinating entries, some illustrated with black-and-white drawings and engravings; for example, the Old Clothes Exchange, located near Petticoat Lane, featured secondhand clothing. Trading could be so spirited that the market acquired a reputation for rowdiness and brawling. On a sadder note, “Wren’s Lost Churches” includes a shockingly long list of Sir Christopher Wren’s churches that were destroyed by Victorian development or World War II bombing.
VERDICT Armchair travelers and history fans will both find riches in this unusual work.
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