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Authoritative back-up to a chattier guidebook?
on 26 August 2007
This book is around 6 inches by 3 inches and 160 pages long, so it fits neatly enough into a bag, although maybe not a pocket. It starts with an Introduction covering the history of churches in the city (around 35 pages) - this is detailed and helpful. The main part of the book is, of course, the description of the churches themselves. The description of each one varies in length from 1 page up to 3 or 4 pages. This is a historical guide but also a `proper' architectural guide so if, like me, you are a layman you will need the glossary of terms used. The glossary, like the text itself, would have benefited from some more drawings or sketches - indeed, one of the criticisms of the book is that the pictures are confined to a few pages in the middle of the book rather than being with the description of each church and they are not very inspiring. This is definitely a book to read while you are there. The other criticism I have is that the text is broken up into headings and this sometimes stops it flowing freely - it is more of a reference book than a chatty companion. Having said this, it is very authoritative.
In conclusion, I would say if you are looking for a short accessible guide to the churches of the City of London you should consider Stephen Millar's London City Churches, but if you found that a little too light, this would be an excellent back-up to provide depth and detail.