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London's City Churches Paperback – 15 May 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
The book opens with an introduction which includes a brief history of church building in London, from Roman times until the post World War II period. There is a double-page map of the City showing all of the churches in the text marked clearly and numbered to correspond to the numbers in the text.
Each of the 47 churches and 8 stand-alone towers has at least a page dedicated to it and usually more. Black and white photographs accompany most of the churches. The description of each church opens with brief details of the church's history - when it was first recoreded, details of damage suffered, rebuilding, closure, reopening etc. The description then goes into details about the Church's construction history and highlights key features to look out for, mentioning, where applicable, interesting individuals who were associated with a given church. There are some fascinating stories about some of the churches.
Because this is intended to be a small and portable guide the details about the individual features within each church rather brief, but there is enough detail to enable the visitor to pick out the highlights. As another reviewer has remarked, there are many other books and websites which can offer more details if your interest is sparked by a specific location.
Each description ends with the church's address, nearest transport and opening hours.Read more ›
It's a small book in terms of page size (about 4 inches by 3 inches, so it fits easily into a bag) and is 200 pages long, in which it covers 47 churches and 8 towers (where the main body of the church has been demolished). There is no standard format but generally there are two pages of text and either one or two black-and-white pictures of each church and a shorter section on the towers. In addition there is a 12-page introduction, as well as guides to three walking tours through the city (eastern section, central section and western section) covering all the churches in the book.
I am not a historian, architect, or even a particularly religious person but for me this was pitched absolutely perfectly. There are more detailed (and drier!) texts you can use as a follow-up, if you so wish. If you are looking for a simple, accessible introduction, or the basis for a tour of the churches this book is thoroughly recommended and is excellent value at the price.
This little book fits easily in the pocket and is organised in such a way that you can easily find details on a church if you are walking past one. Each of the 55 churches and steeples gets a page or so and there is usually a photo on the opposite page.
You can track the churches down geographically and alphabetically and there are suggested walks towards the back. The maps give a rough idea of the location of each church though I would advise a more detailed map if, like me, you are not familiar with the area. Get something more detailed than the ubiquitous AtoZ.
The history of each church is detailed and you get an idea how much it has been bashed about by the Great Fire, the Victorians or even the IRA, in the case of the churches near Bishopsgate. Useful information like opening times and the nearest tube is detailed at the end of each entry. You also get snippets about "lost" churches and other buildings get mentioned in passing.
I have used the book on a weekend visit to the East End and found it invaluable. Clearly, on a page, you are not going to get much information but there is enough there to whet the appetite, and once you get into the building there is usually more information available.
I thoroughly recommend this book so have no hesitation giving it five stars.
At the back there are a number of walks which help give you an idea on how small the city really is.
Overall if you love churches buy this book and go to them, because chances are if you're buying it you already love them and have probably been to a few, this just points out ones you've missed, and if your just starting out...well say no more it's a perfect buy and also if used for research for tours very helpful as a quick reference guide too.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very informative book. I am using it as a guide for my walking tour of the London ChurchesPublished 6 months ago by John Thorne
packed full of interesting information,a must have guide for anybody with a passion for ecclesiastical architecture.Published 22 months ago by slasher
A handy, lightweight, but snappy guide , to London's City Churches, their history and architectural features. Easy to carry and very accessiblePublished on 26 Oct. 2013 by Miss Lynn Mead
Great little book, handy size and lots of information on the City Churches, would have loved the pictures to have been in colour, but that is a minor point.Published on 26 Aug. 2013 by Liz
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