Another week, another slew of London books. ‘Ode To London; Poems to Celebrate the City’ is a slim volume perfect for browsing, edited by Jane McMorland Hunter, and is filled with graceful transport posters of the city, as well as some nice choices of London poetry, some very familiar, some not at all.
‘Lost London’ by Richard Guard is short and sweet (perhaps too short) but a bit of a cheat, as it includes not just lost buildings but snippets from Henry Mayhew’s ‘London Labour and the London Poor’. It’s a nice place for newbies to start but there were only a couple of entries that I had not seen elsewhere. I liked the bit on The Dvil Public House in Fleet Street, a 16th century pub with a sign depicting St Dunstan tweaking the Devil’s nose.
Another book on ‘London Lore’, this one by Steve Roud subtitled ‘The Legends and Traditions of the World’s Most Vibrant City’, is packed with over 400 pages of arcane fun, from bear baiting in Southwark to violent Guy Fawkes celebrations in Chalk Farm, and it’s nice to see some of Greater London’s legends being taken into account for once.
My London library has now reached capacity – anything else will have to earn its place very thoroughly!