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Strangely Contemporary View of a London that has Disappeared
on 11 April 2014
This idiosyncratic guidebook describes the "underbelly" of London as it appeared in 1962, just as it was about to be swept away by the never had it so good and swinging sixties boom (in themselves supplanted by seventies decline, yuppification, boom and bust, and lately 2012!). The book spawned a film drama-documentary narrated by a sardonic James Mason, and still after 50 years has an enthusiastic following. Broadcaster Dan Cruickshank writes a foreward to the latest edition, and has made a radio series under the same title. There's even a superb Flickr site with photographs of surviving buildings.
The book is perfect for ambles around places like Islington and Whitechapel, spotting the little that still remains and what has replaced it. The book has a perfect reminiscence of the Jewish East End, and with the author's accompanying pencil sketches, a mind-boggling chapter - almost a mini Which Guide on the outdoor and underground urinals of London - starting with the sentence "I have always been a keen connoisseur of Victorian lavatories... ". Fantastic!