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Spectacular Vernacular: London's 100 Most Extraordinary Buildings Hardcover – 20 Apr 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Frequently bought together

  • Spectacular Vernacular: London's 100 Most Extraordinary Buildings
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  • Tunnels, Towers & Temples: London's 100 Strangest Places
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  • Secret London - An Unusual Guide (Jonglez Guides)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 266 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press; 2007 Reprint edition (20 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780750941877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750941877
  • ASIN: 0750941871
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 2 x 26.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 365,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


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


"Spectacular Vernacular" is a guide to London's 100 strangest and most surprising buildings, new as well as old, revealing their histories and their many odd associations. Some are open to the public, if you know who to ask. Others remain strictly off-limits, this secrecy heightening the sense of mystery which surrounds them. And many more are so familiar that few of us ever stop to consider, actually, just how curious they are. Only yards from the Royal Albert Hall, for example, a 300ft-high tower attracts barely a glance and many Londoners don't even know it's there. A few miles away the capital's widest building at nearly 1,000ft has been favourably compared to the Winter Palace at St Petersburg. And on the river at Chelsea a Tudor hall, moved brick-by-brick from the City a century ago, is today being remodelled as London's largest private house.

Elsewhere there are the grand yet almost ostentatiously anonymous premises of London's traditional gentlemen's clubs, a handful of private palaces, fake castles, false house fronts that conceal a railway, and such peculiarities as an arts centre constructed out of old shipping containers, a replica Arab tent built for a Victorian explorer, and even a privately owned tunnel for running cable-cars under the Thames. Also featured are several buildings that, if they had been built, would have dramatically changed the face of London - such as Wembley's answer to the Eiffel tower and the Regent Street monorail. This beautifully illustrated book will be a revelation for Londoners who think they know all there is to know about their city.

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