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London Caffs (Architecture) [Paperback]

Edwin Heathcote
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

17 Sep 2004 Architecture
Where would we be without the traditional London caff? Milk bars, ice–cream parlours and espresso bars are all a feature of the London landscape that were borne out of the 1940s to 1960s. It is a time when floods of immigrants set up their businesses providing frothy coffee to the city’s workers. Today, many of these establishments still function as caffs and have their original elaborate and shiny machines that continue to dispense no end of steam and cups of tea, and still feature vinyl and tiled floors and walls. This book provides an affectionate look at one of London′s endangered species′, featuring 28 caffs throughout the capital. Each example is accompanied by anecdotal captions which evoke the atmosphere and context of each place, as well as addresses and nearest tube stations, so that anyone wanting a fix of old–style London can go and find it.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (17 Sep 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470094389
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470094389
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 16 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 436,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Edwin Heathcote is an architect, designer and writer living in London. He is the architecture and design critic of The Financial Times and has written over a dozen books. He is also a regular contributor to magazines including Icon and Apollo.

Product Description

Review

“…goes beyond the Formica to show the greasy spoon as an architectural marvel…”  (Esquire, October 04) “…this book celebrates their survival and urges you to visit while you may…” (Delicious, November 04) “…forget skinny mochas – what we really want is double egg and chips…” (Olive, November 2004) “… fine and long overdue book. With lovingly framed photos and reverential descriptions …” (Sportladsmag.com, November 04)  “...Buy this wonderful book featuring some of the UK’s oldest, most famous and salubrious greasy spoons...”(The Big Issue No 614, 25 October 04) “…a sympathetic and affectionate survey…Sue Barr’s excellent photography captures the decaying sadness of these establishments…” (Blueprint, November 04)  “…a handy, pocket–size guide and shameless ode to the fading Formica world of the great metropolis…”  (Instant; Café Culture Lifestyle – Edinburgh, November, December 2004)  “Owl staff love this feast of stylish, down–at–heel but always authentic, greasy spoons.” Independent on Sunday ‘Box Office Hit List’ top ten as provided by The Owl Bookshop in Kentish Town. 24 th April 2005

“…goes beyond the Formica to show the greasy spoon as an architectural marvel…”  (Esquire, October 04) “…this book celebrates their survival and urges you to visit while you may…” (Delicious, November 04) “…forget skinny mochas – what we really want is double egg and chips…” (Olive, November 2004) “… fine and long overdue book. With lovingly framed photos and reverential descriptions …” (Sportladsmag.com, November 04) “...Buy this wonderful book featuring some of the UK’s oldest, most famous and salubrious greasy spoons...”(The Big Issue No 614, 25 October 04) “…a sympathetic and affectionate survey…Sue Barr’s excellent photography captures the decaying sadness of these establishments…” (Blueprint, November 04)  “…a handy, pocket–size guide and shameless ode to the fading Formica world of the great metropolis…”  (Instant; Café Culture Lifestyle – Edinburgh, November, December 2004)  “Owl staff love this feast of stylish, down–at–heel but always authentic, greasy spoons.” Independent on Sunday ‘Box Office Hit List’ top ten as provided by The Owl Bookshop in Kentish Town. 24 th April 2005

From the Back Cover

From the 1940s to the 1960s, London catering was taken over by waves of (often Italian) immigrants. The boom coincided with the first wave of interest in modern design in Britain, inspired by the Festival of Britain. New materials including vinyl and formica, found their way into the new workers′ caffs along with gleaming chrome machinery to produce ′frothy coffee′ and huge quantities of tea. London Caffs is a document of a fast–disappearing London archetype, the workers′ caff, or greasy spoon. It features over thirty establishments with original contemporary fittings, which are still functioning today. The book is lavishly illustrated with evocative photography, specially commissioned from architectural photographer Sue Barr. Each caff is accompanied by anecdotal texts, which pick up on atmosphere and context, as well as design details. Under each entry, the address and nearest tube of the caff is listed, providing an essential guide to the best caffs in London. The scene is set by Edwin Heathcote in the introduction, where he examines the phenomenon of the caff and why it has constituted such a pivotal space in London life.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars London Eating. 23 Feb 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Interesting read, worth a look even if you only have a slight interest in london, its social history, and architcture.
Plus, obviously enjoying a good old fashioned fry up.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars A little Gem... 23 Jan 2006
By S. Hebbron - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
...if you are in the market for a book that gives you something of London that the usual, "Madame Tussaud is a must" guides don't then you must buy this!

It speaks of more than it's simple title suggests, for behind the facade of the greasy spoons, iconic British naffness and family run workhorses it describes is a fast dissapearing aspect of British culture, slowly being munched away by Burger dominance and Chain Gastro Pubs.

These places have an honest history and intigrity that speak so much of how Brits once supped and comunicated.

I would recommend a stay in London should include a fact finding walk and munch around some these cultural and architectural survivors.

Before we know it these places will be mocked up in Museums when we realise their significance too late. Visitors wishing to discover "real, workaday London" couldn't do much better.

A bonus is delightfully poetic writing style and stunning Photography.
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