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Lost London, 1870-1945 Hardcover – Illustrated, 1 Sep 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Transatlantic Press; First Edition edition (1 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0955794986
  • ISBN-13: 978-0955794988
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 24.8 x 29.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 69,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

This endlessly absorbing book that is at once a record of destruction, a haunting collection of relics and a door into the past. --John Carey - The Sunday Times

An extraordinary and sometimes upsetting record of the capital s architectural richness. Stuffed with beautiful images ... this satisfyingly heavy book depicts a grimy, muddy city with spots of aristocratic grandeur, a city on the verge of transformation. --Edwin Heathcote - Financial Times

An extraordinary and sometimes upsetting record of the capital s architectural richness. --Philippa Stockley - Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

Philip Davies is English Heritage s Planning and Development Director for London and South-East England.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Bungliemutt on 10 April 2010
Format: Hardcover
Despite Philip Davies's claim in his wonderful introduction to this sumptuous book that we should not mourn too deeply for some of the lost buildings and streets of London - they were unarguably homes to grinding poverty and nascent social breakdown - it is hard not to feel horrified by the sheer scale of loss and wanton destruction. What comes out strongly is that despite the efforts of the Luftwaffe, much of the loss was self-inflicted long before the German bombers took to the skies. Ruthless Victorian and Edwardian developers and planners swept away vast tracts of London's Georgian, Shakespearean and medieval heritage in the cause of improved transport connections and a desire to replace the ordered elegance of Regency terraces with statement-making stone edifices more in keeping with Britain's new imperial status. Buildings that escaped the Great Fire and the Blitz succumbed ultimately to the joint wills of commerce and progress.

Modest though some of the lost buildings clearly were, they represented a link to a historical past that has now entirely disappeared in some areas. Their human scale guaranteed them no protection whatsoever in the days before planning controls, but larger public buildings were also swept away with an insouciance almost unthinkable today.

This is a superb book, filled with beautifully reproduced black and white photographs of a capital city that looks hauntingly familiar, but that most of us have never seen. Endlessly informative and fascinating both visually and textually, it offers a profoundly moving evocation of a lost age. Many of the photographs were taken as a last record of buildings already condemned to die. Others are in traffic-free streets bustling with humanity.
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131 of 134 people found the following review helpful By Green Knight on 14 Nov. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Finally, a book of old photographs that we (mostly) haven't seen before.

This is a splendid publication, beautifully produced, with an intelligent and informative text, crammed full of pictures that speak volumes to lovers of London and its vanished past. It's the forerunner and companion to the same author's later and physically larger work 'Panoramas of lost London' - which has taken some of the same material (though by no means all of it) and given it a different treatment.

'Lost London' is a good and hefty volume, well worth having - and the price tag (especially if you order from Amazon) is fantastic value.

Be warned - the book is heavy, so likely to bust any mailbag, shopping bag - or Christmas stocking!
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62 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Dillonphoto on 12 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover
A fabulous and generous book of wonderful photographs of a London that has been lost in time due to neglect, crass planning desisions or wartime bombs.
Highly recommended for anyone interested in history, photography or London. a great coffee table gift that will be much admired.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Sandy on 15 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for my husband, who has been totally absorbed reading it. The photography is fabulous. He is still reading through it. Fantastic value for money.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 29 May 2010
Format: Hardcover
There are lots of London photograph books around, then there is Lost London.

The photographic reproduction is art house quality with pin sharp images filling the A4 sized pages the majority of which are early 1900s with some stretching back into the 1800s. The captions are short, informative and too the point with a 30 page introduction. The images cover the whole capital although there are inevitably more pictures of central London, but I guess that must reflect the available material.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By L. Chapman on 9 Nov. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My husband, on receiving this book as a gift was overjoyed. For someone who was born and brought up in London after the second world war it was like rediscovering a world he had lost. It is proving to be an absolute delight. This is not a book to flick through. It requires time and attention. The images alone tell amazing stories. For anyone who knows and loves London, this book is a 'must'.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Close Range. on 11 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Several of the reviewer comments on the back cover of this book have used the word 'heartbreaking' when describing the images inside. It is a heartbreaking experience to see so much beauty that now only exists in these photographs. And yet, there is a feeling of such gratitude that the photos do exist as a record. Someone took the time to photograph these buildings, and we should be so thankful to them. The large hardcover book is very well-made, printed on high-quality paper, with remarkable clarity in the printing. In the era covered, large glass negatives were used, and so a huge amount of detail could be captured. Details such as carved staircases,handpainted shop signage, elaborate moulded ceilings, and stained-glass windows are some the beautiful examples here. There is also great detail such as the use of exact dates and names,when known, such as the photograph of a chimney sweep and his family, The Kiland family, photographed on 11 June 1906.
A few examples that give an idea of the type of image here: Paternoster Row,north of St Paul's churchyard, photographed in 1908, entirely destroyed by bombing on 29 December 1940 ; The Oxford Arms,one of the most famous coaching inns in London ; Pre Great-Fire houses that survived into the 20th century, only to vanish due to bombing, road-widening, or what we call progress ; Ghostly faces of people (and even their pets) that have been dead for a century or more, peer out of windows. All amazing in their variety and their unpretentious recording of what a particular street looked like on a particular day. Some of the places are unrecognisable today, for example the Westminster Hospital (1910) site in Broad Sanctuary is where the modern steel, glass & concrete Queen Elizabeth II conference centre now stands.
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