Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lost London

John Carey reviews Lost London 1870-1945: English Heritage by Philip Davies in the Sunday Times:
'We think of cities as solid, dependable things, fixed points, enduring landmarks. In reality, though, they are fluid, and as transient as a breath. It is usually poets or preachers who tell us truths like these...'.

Based on the English Heritage photo archive
Lost London Davies, takes the reader on a 'tour of destitution, the maze of squalid streets and alleys around Drury Lane and Clare Market that Kingsway put an end to, the labyrinths of Bankside and Bermondsey, old Westminster, only a stone’s throw from parliament, but notorious for its chronic poverty until well into the 20th century, and the East End, three square miles of densely packed terraced housing, known as the City of Dreadful Night. The districts change but the essential features remain the same: soot-blackened brick walls, sunless, airless, treeless, grassless courts and yards, stone paving, kept scrupulously clean, because hunger and want allow nothing to go to waste.'

Read John Carey's perceptive review in full, on the Sunday Times website:

[link shortened at tinyurl]