The London That Was & Wasn’t
More on those books below – ‘London As It Might Have Been’ is an in-depth look at all of the palaces, towers, mausoleums, archways and vast ridiculous constructions architects have planned for the city over the centuries – and there have been a lot of them, idealistic, breathtaking and plain wrong. It’s a fun book to skim.
‘The London We Have Lost’ is sadder because these things were there, and through fire, disaster, changing fortunes and ownership or simple thoughtlessness on behalf of town planners they’ve disappeared. Duelling, leper houses, highwaymen and executions we were better off without, although Execution Dock is still marked, while Fribourg & Treyer, Gamage’s department store and Verrey’s restaurant have all vanished in my lifetime. Luckily there are many London improvements which have found favour (and disfavour) with the public. Rule of thumb; if we like them, we give ’em a nickname.