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on 18 March 2013
I want to start by saying that it is a great book - fully recommended with some very interesting stories!

However - I brought it as a kindle book. The book has lots of maps and diagrams - with text annotations and these were unreadable on my kindle (via iPad). The quality was poor and blurry when you tried to expand them. It did really effect the enjoyment of the book

I have queried this with amazon who have given me a refund and will be passing my feedback to the publisher and they hope to resolve it at some point

So - probably best to keep to the book version for the moment if you are thinking about buying this title
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on 1 July 2014
I did not realize there was so much to learn about 'MY' home town. I enjoyed this book immensely and am pleased that I got it from the library first, so I could really browse through the pictures when I had finished it. AND then have it to delve back into to refresh certain points.
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on 10 September 2014
A weighty book covering the suburbs of London. It's well written and well researched and for anyone interested in the other London other than just the central part this is informative and quite eye opening. A good buy.
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on 22 August 2015
an area I rember
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on 2 June 2013
I have not had time to really read this book. I have only dipped into it and viewed the illustrations. I grew up in a London suberb and know some of these areas quite well so it promises to be an excellent read. I bought one copy myself for a grandson who is now working and living in London. Having previously given him the Times Atlas of London, which he was very pleased with I thought this woould be an interesting addition. I heard Nick Barratt give a fasinating lecture recently and felt that this book would be of a similar calibre.
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on 28 February 2013
This is a splendid publication and is thoroughly recommended to everyone interested in the development of this great world city, whether they have lived in London or simply visited the capital. It is also a challenging read of more than 550 pages and this reviewer would also recommend the use of a large-scale atlas, such as the Times Atlas of London (2012), and/or the Cassini boxed set of Ordnance Survey Maps 1805-1948, whilst reading the book.
I suppose my only faint criticism, as a retired geographer with a particular interest in the Interwar suburban growth of London, would be that Nick Barratt, like many historians, insists on going back to the very earliest beginnings of the foundation of the city, so that the the more recent developments receive rather less coverage than expected. However, this should not detract from a well-researched and magnificently illustrated text.
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on 15 March 2015
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on 22 May 2017
This has some interesting information in it but it is full of errors and the maps and pictures are very badly reproduced.
Not very rewarding.
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on 24 January 2015
This book is certainly impressive in its scope. Unfortunately, when I looked at the parts that I knew something about I discovered it was riddled with errors and omissions throughout, so that I am now unable to believe anything that the author tells me. The area concerns transport, especially railways. I realise you can't expect one person to have comprehensive familiarity with every aspect of this vast subject, but it is quite evident that not only the writer but also the team of researchers mentioned in the acknowledgements didn't have the first clue about this aspect. It's a bit like a general historian having never heard of the Battle of Hastings.

It is not true, for instance, that the railways came relatively late to the capital (p179) , unless Nick Barratt is referring specifically to central London, in which case it would be better to say they hardly penetrated the area at all before the tubes from the 1890s. His list on pp179-182 leaps from Euston (1837, not 1838) to King's Cross in 1852, ommitting 6 termini that opened between 1838 and 1848. Curiously he then lists Paddington, which indeed opened in 1854 as stated, but fails to inform us that the Great Western's first terminus opened nearby as early as 1838. By this time the London & Greenwich has been dismissed for building a viaduct - not "an ideal solution", apparently - a method that "certainly won few imitators around London." Personally I can't think of a better solution than that viaduct in 1836 and, needless to add, it won plenty of imitators in London and elsewhere. Just take a look at inner South London, for a start.

In terms of detail, at least two railway companies are mentioned that never existed, while others such as the North London are missed despite their significant contribution to London's suburban railways in particular. Apparently the line to London Bridge was extended to Victoria - in actuality it was extended to Charing Cross, not Victoria, and in the 1860s, not 1850s - and neither company mentioned was involved. Indeed, one of them didn't exist in the 1850s and, when it did, it never went to London Bridge. (It was the South Eastern that extended from London Bridge, another company that doesn't get a mention.)

Although the early tube lines are covered, they are treated as if they were simply more underground lines, like the earlier Metropolitan and District Railways (p190). It is even suggested they commenced with steam operation - an absurd notion.

At least two aspects of railways in the capital are inadequately tackled, if at all. One is freight. For instance, I haven't found a mention of coal, which once had to reach every house in the city. And milk might have made an interesting topic, exploring the effects of refrigeration. The King's Cross potato market opened 1865 gets a mention, though (p199), apparently set up by a company that didn't exist until 1923.

The other topic, totally ignored, so far as I can see, is the railway as employer. Battersea and Stratford were among locations with significant railway employment, but I've found not a mention here.

Finally, I will mention the map on pp180-1. This is barely legible but my complaint is that it is legible at all: it omits major lines while adding a few that never existed. At least one place (I think it's a tram terminus) is ascribed a fictitious name, while at least one station is in the wrong place. Many major stations are omitted while relatively minor ones are named. One of the Thames bridges is wrongly named. And so on...

Enjoy this book by all means. Just make sure you file it with your fiction.
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on 27 March 2013
Well I have just got to the end of the book and as a Londoner I have been amazed at how much info Nick has managed to put into this book. To see the growth of London from its early days to the current sprawl - and see how different parts of London have gone from desirable to unloved and back again really shows how organic London is. Truly a world city, London has been a magnate for people from the rest of the UK and the four corners of the world and that melting pot of cultures, beliefs and practices has moulded the city over time. I have learnt all sort of interesting snippets, which have helped flesh out the places where my ancestors lived and worked. If you have an interest in London beyond the 'city' (which has retained a remarkable control over its own dominion), then this is a book that is really worth having. Enjoy.
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