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Hidden City: The Secret Alleys, Courts and Yards of London's Square Mile
 
 

Hidden City: The Secret Alleys, Courts and Yards of London's Square Mile [Kindle Edition]

David Long
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £19.99
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Product Description

Review

`I'll confess straight away, I'm a fan of David Long's books. He makes historical information accessible and entertaining to read...his knowledge is superb.' --GoLondon.com, April 2011

Product Description

"Sir, if you wish to have a just notion of the magnitude of this city, you must not be satisfied with seeing its great streets and squares, but must survey its innumerable little lanes and courts." Such was Samuel Johnson's advice to his companion Boswell, and more than two centuries later his advice is still just as valid. To a great degree the real London - the fascination of extraordinary goings-on during its long history, of famous Londoners past and present, and of some of its finest and most diverse architectural treasures - is often to be found not in its more famous streets and squares but in the small and obscure places which so many of us simply miss. David Long uncovers these forgotten locations and brings to life their fascinating history in his own inimitable style.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6501 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (30 Nov 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0090OZS0E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #70,838 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

'The Book of the Week. Even the most eager historians will find their knowledge challenged by this new book about the capital.' (Evening Standard)

'It's a book I think everyone should have.' (Robert Elms, BBC Radio London)

'The best possible start for anyone who wishes to get off the beaten track and under the skin of the hidden city that is modern-day London.' (Guardian)

'David Long's intriguing alphabetical survey - an attempt to impose order on chaos - lists hundreds of little courtyards and alleys, many almost forgotten among the banks and businesses.' (FT)

'This admirably structured and coherent book draws attention to the uncontrived diversity in London's architecture.' (Maxwell Hutchinson, President RIBA)

'The photographs are enigmatically stark, the text rich in anecdotes. Long brings a genuine pleasure to his subject and encourages his readers to look at London with an unceasing curiosity.' (The London Magazine)

'A quirkier look at the subject...plenty of new places here for even the most knowledgeable Londoner to explore.' (Museum of London)

'Quite an incredible wealth of information...an endorsement at the highest level should be given to David Long's new book'. (BBC Radio London)

'David Long tells the story of how a humble transport system rapidly became one of the city's greatest icons.' (The Spectator)

Fascinated by those strange, semi-hidden corners of London most of us cease to notice because we walk by them so often, David Long has been a writer since leaving a first class university with a second class degree in the 1980s. Whilst a columnist for the Sunday People he created a popular weekly cartoon strip which appeared in the Times, and continues to write for a wide diversity of newspapers and magazines both in Britain and abroad. Many of his most popular and best reviewed books reflect his longstanding interest in the less well-known aspects of London, its architecture and eccentric inhabitants - subjects, he says, which simply never run dry.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction and inspiration to explore 31 May 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As noted elsewhere the pictures are not of a high standard, but think of them just as something to bring a bit of flavour to the text. This is not a picture book.

Also a book that gives the appearance of being full of facts reads more comfortably when there aren't errors jumping off the page so repeating the outdated assertion that there are no "Roads" in the City of London (part of Goswell Road has been in it since the 1994 boundary change) and not being able to tell the difference between granite setts and cobbles make one wary.

Given the title it is odd that there are also excursions into the Boroughs of Islington, Southwark, Camden, and Tower Hamlets

But this is all trivial - here is a book that lists a considerable number of obscure alleys tucked away in the City and has a good deal of interest to say about them. As such it is a very different addition for a London book collection, and is useful when planning off-the-beaten-track walks. A good test for maps too! - I needed my 9" to the mile A-Z Super Scale to track some of these down. Online, Bing Maps does well in locating most of them.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Detail Lacking 24 May 2011
Format:Hardcover
Wonderfull book,spoilt by the author not clearly marking the photographs.
One is left wondering which photo relates to which article.Great pity.Hidden City: The Secret Alleys, Courts and Yards of London's Square Mile
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hidden City among other things 30 Dec 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was fascinated by the descriptions of all the hidden yards, alleys, courtyards etc
that the author lays out for us, and have resolved to track them all down one day - not
so easy when you don't live in London.
The photos are a bit of a let down. OK, so some have argued it's not a photo book - but
if you're going to have photos then why not have good ones?
Also there has been some carping about the details - I don't know the geography well enough
to arbitrate, so maybe it's nit-picking or maybe the fine print should have been checked before
it went to press? With a topic like the geography of London there's bound to be someone like
a London cabbie at least who's got an opinion!
However, all that aside, the idea is a great one, and it would be fun to explore with the book as a guide - pity there isn't a Kindle version!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No colour 3 May 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Arranged in alphabetical order. So you can't meander from passage to square and on. I can't wait for Google street view to add London's hidden ways.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book let down by photos 26 May 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a very nice book with some great detail and the text is excellent. What the book really needs is a photo editor. A boring courtyard with nothing in it is exactly that and there are too many untitled photos like that. Proper Black and White photography is an art form but these are just colour photos, taken from street level, with the colour removed in photoshop.The cover is a good example of this. The photos are in black and white for economic reasons and need to be more creative but thats not the authors fault but more the publishers for allowing it. The book could also have done with some nice colour plates and this would have elevated it to coffee table /gift status. All in all a good book and good value for the Amazon price.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The real, but hidden square mile 4 Oct 2013
Format:Hardcover
To a great degree the real City of London - the fascination of extraordinary goings-on during its long history, of famous Londoners past and present, and of some of its finest and most diverse architectural treasures - is often to be found not in its more famous streets and squares but in the small and obscure places which so many of us simply miss. David Long uncovers these forgotten locations and brings to life their fascinating history in his own inimitable style.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I worked many years in the City and often wondered where the some of the alley-ways led to and how the streets and the sqares/courtyards got their names. Well this super book reveals all. Either walk the City and explore with the book or, as I am doing, use Google Earth to find the street on your PC, Mac, tablet or phone. Then see what the author has described. Absolutely fascinating book and great value.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting insight into London's hidden nooks 17 July 2013
Format:Hardcover
It's a very interesting book, with lots of historical facts and background information. It did make me want to go out and explore, however, I would have liked the inclusion of better location information or maps so that everything I need is in the same book, rather than needing to consult elsewhere to locate the places if I wanted to visit, but maybe that's not the intention of the book. The photos could do with being a bit more vibrant, and labelled better too. I found the appendix on origins of street names within the square mile to be particularly fascinating.

I would say this is definitely more of a coffee table book than a visit guide, but there's nothing wrong with that!
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