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Spectacular Vernacular: London's 100 Most Extraordinary Buildings [Kindle Edition]

David Long
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £19.99
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Book Description

Lifting the lid on London, Spectacular Vernacular reveals the stories behind its 100 strangest and most enigmatic buildings. Some are open to the public, if you know who to ask. Others remain strictly off-limits, thus heightening the sense of mystery surrounding them. But many are so familiar that few of us ever stop to consider just how curious they are. In the heart of Kensington, for example, a 300ft tower attracts few glances that even most locals don't know it's there. South of the river the city's widest building at nearly 1,000ft has been favourably compared to the Winter Palace at St Petersbury. And in Chelsea a medieval hall, once home to a king and moved brick by brick from the City to escape demolition, is now being remodelled as London's largest private house. Elsewhere one finds an arts centre built of old shipping containers, a Victorian explorer lying dead in a tent, literally acres of secret underground government offices, even a private tunnel used for running cable-cars under the Thames. Think you know London? Well, it's time to reconsider.


Product Description

Review

A quirkier look at the subject...plenty of new places here for
even the most knowledgeable Londoner to explore -- Museum of London Magazine, December 2006

It's a book I think everyone should have - Robert Elms -- BBC Radio London - Robert Elms Show, 10 May 2006

It’s a book I think everyone should have - Robert Elms, BBC Radio London, 10 May 2006 -- BBC Radio London - Robert Elms Show, 10 May 2006

Long brings a genuine pleasure to his subject..and encourages his

readers to look at London with an unceasing curiosity -- The London Magazine, November 2006

This admirably structured and coherent book draws attention to the uncontrived diversity in London’s architecture - Maxwell Hutchinson, past-President RIBA -- Camden New Journal, August 2006

This lavishly illustrated book is a must-read for for lovers of
London -- Good Book Guide, May 2006

This lavishly illustrated book is a must-read for for lovers of London - Good Book Guide, May 2006 -- Good Book Guide, May 2006

`It's a book I think everyone should have.' - Robert Elms -- BBC Radio London

`This lavishly illustrated book is a must-read for for lovers of
London.' - Good Book Guide -- Good Book Guide

About the Author

A writer and journalist for more than 20 years, David Long has
regularly appeared in The Times, Sunday Times and London Evening Standard and on television and radio.
As well as being an award-winning ghostwriter, under his own name he has written and illustrated a number of books on London including
SPECTACULAR VERNACULAR: LONDON'S 100 MOST EXTRAORDINARY PLACES, a sequel
TUNNELS, TOWERS AND TEMPLES: LONDON'S 100 STRANGEST PLACES, and most recently THE LITTLE BOOK OF LONDON, a trilogy reflecting a deep interest
in the quirkier side of the capital's long history, its architecture and often
eccentric inhabitants

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7873 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (30 Nov. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008XL1OWQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #173,210 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?


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
61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cabbies - so you think you have the knowledge ??? 30 July 2006
Format:Hardcover
As a London Cabbie I pride myself on the knowledge I have not only of routes through and around London, but also the many interesting and different places hidden away or just not thought about as we pass along the busy thoroughfares of London. I think that the cabbies will like this one.

This is a book about London and its peculiar architecture, which we pass everyday in the cab without so much as a second glance. One hundred buildings are identified as being the strangest and enigmatic. The introduction describes London as lacking an urban masterplan and is shown in contrast to Nazi Berlin, Paris or even Babylon. London's chief glory lies not in the theatrical effect of triumphant avenues aligned along carefully drafted axes, or meticulously planned grid of street and square, but rather in its many historic and often highly individual buildings.So the introduction goes.

The book is full of excellent black and white photographs, that show the buildings in a light, which could not be done justice in colour strange as though they might seem. With each photograph most of which are full page, the author gives a brief pen portrait of each location, which includes a history.

The book has ten chapters and each section deals with a specific aspect of architecture. For example, in the first chapter entitled "Tudor Manor Born" the author introduces Abbot's House, Deans Yard, Westminster moving on to Albany and Piccadilly. Crosby Hall features and once we have read through the text we discover that Crosby Hall was moved brick by brick from the City to its current site in Chelsea in 1908. You will pass it on Cheyne Walk just after Danvers Street. There always seems to be something going on there and it looks as though the builders will be there for a while longer.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coffee table tome meets un-put-downable read 29 Sept. 2006
Format:Hardcover
If you thought you knew London, think again. David Long's book combines in-depth research, with a talent for quirky anecdote. Such human-interest brings the tasteful black and white photos to life and distinguishes Spectacular Vernacular from other, sometimes fusty, architectural manuals. It's easy to dip into as it deals with one building at a time - text facing photograph - so there's no need to flip back and forth between pages. Once your curiosity is piqued, however, it is hard to put down. Will appeal to Londoners, and visitors alike.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true original 28 April 2006
Format:Hardcover
The trouble with most London books is they cover the same old ground as all the others. This one really doesn't though, being instead packed with intriguing facts about people and places most of us should know about but don't along with lots of buildings most of haven't noticed but should have, and then dozens more which, whilst we all recognise them, we probably haven't a clue what they are or what goes on in there. The only pity is that its large, copiously illustrated format makes it way too big to stick in my pocket whilst walking round these fascinating corners of this great capital city.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So THAT'S what that building is! 6 Aug. 2006
Format:Hardcover
One of THE most imaginative books on the capital, which really does reach the parts other books don't. Ignores the obvious, and goes straight for the stuff you never even knew you wanted to know about. Lovely pics as well
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Underbelly 17 July 2006
Format:Hardcover
An honest and real guide to the buildings that makes London what it is and isn't. It's also a partial explanation for why the English are who they are. Long's book in main avoids the standard tourist and more recognisable buildings but instead studies the buildings that really are unique and different. In short the 'extraordinary' buildings.

The interesting thing is that so many of the buildings in this book are those that you might have walked past once or twice or more and not realised just how unique or important they are.

If you want a tour of what London is really about architecturally and do it from your couch then this is a wonderful place to start. Or get off the couch and take it with you.

A fascinating insight.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two delighted dads 23 Jun. 2011
By Tess
Format:Hardcover
Well first I got this book for my dad's 81st birthday- lived in London his entire life and loves art and architecture. He thought this book was so good that when he had finished it he immediately lent it to a friend. Because of his positive and enthusiastic reaction, I then gave it to my step dad for his 81st! He loves esoterica and is always digging around in bookshops. He has lived in London for 60 some years. Once again this book was a fantastic hit. He loved it and called me several times during the reading of it to say once again how much he was enjoying it. If either of these dads sound anything like yours, I am sure the book will be very well received.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... and romantic semantics 12 Nov. 2009
By RoseC
Format:Hardcover
Exploration and discovery are endeavours as romantic as love, and lovers of London will find this book an emporium of romantic detail to set their imaginations soaring. This is not just about beautiful buildings, nor solely about their historical or geographical significance; it is about their intrinsic humanity - their creators, their creation, the stories that have been lived in them, the fascination that they continue to hold. The content is intriguing; the writing is exquisite, and, stripped of artifice as it is, conveys a searingly honest passion for London. Which, I imagine, is what the author wished to impart. I shall buy more of his books.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
not so good as a kindle book - wanted to hold it and look more carefully at the illustrations
Published 6 months ago by Cathy S
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile present for anyone inerested in buildings
excellent. a present for a retired architect who now has time to visit these places, The content was very interesting.
Published 13 months ago by Sheila Dutton
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating - more than a coffee-table book
I was introduced to this book when staying in a hotel recently - it was lying on the coffee-table and looked interesting so I picked it up and started reading. Read more
Published 22 months ago by GillianEliza
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular Vernacular
Just when you think that you have read everything you need to know about our capital city, along comes a book like Spectacular Vernacular. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular vernacular London's most extraordinary buildings
I was eagerly awaiting this book but was most disappointed when it arrived. I expected more pleasing and coloured photographs of the buildings In question and found a lot of the... Read more
Published on 20 Oct. 2010 by Mrs. Pm Hutchings
1.0 out of 5 stars Proceed with caution
I have made hundreds of purchase from Amazon and this is my first review motivated by wasting my money. Read more
Published on 4 Oct. 2009 by The_Quiet_One
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular Erections
A book about architecture in London? Puh-lease. Life's simply too short. But wait a minute, this is actually quite fun. Read more
Published on 21 Jun. 2006 by Brian Pike
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