London Books – I Give Up!

Bryant and May, London, Reading & Writing

Hatton Garden 1929

I’m currently researching the next Bryant & May book by visiting the area around Bleeding Heart Year, and reading some new London books, but this month there has been a veritable avalanche with simply too many to cover or recommend here – some thirty volumes!

These are the ones I’m studying for ‘Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart’.

‘A History of Londoners Buried Alive’

‘London’s Dead: A Guided Tour of the Capital’s Dead’

‘The Victorian Cemetery’

‘Death: A Self-Portrait’

‘Final Exits: How We Die’

‘Death: The Scientific Facts’

But the one I’d recommend to general readers is ‘Diamond Street; The Hidden World of Hatton Garden’ by Rachel Lichtenstein, about Jews and the diamond trade in London. Hatton Garden is still where those in the know go to buy their wedding rings, although I got mine at Stephen Einhorn in Islington because you’re provided with proof of provenance, which means they’re ethically mined. I’m also researching my supernatural novel, which involves the investigation of labyrinths, asylums and unusual London architecture. You realise all this costs me a fortune.

As for London books, one of the best selections is at The Wellcome Institute bookshop, where you can also see their free exhibition on death this month.

And there’s this, from a long poem about Bleeding Heart Yard, to consider, from The House-Warming!!: A Legend Of Bleeding-Heart Yard by Thomas Ingoldsby;

The last piece of advice which I’d have you regard
Is, ‘don’t go of a night into Bleeding Heart Yard,’
It’s a dark, little, dirty, black, ill-looking square,
With queer people about, and unless you take care,
You may find when your pocket’s clean’d out and left bare,
That the iron one is not the only ‘PUMP’ there!

Although I think it’s a lot safer these days.


4 comments on “London Books – I Give Up!”

  1. Dan Terrell says:

    Admin: If you give up buying London books, won’t you be harming the book business? Up to this date, you always could be relied on to buy at least a copy and to promote the better books. This is a very troubled time in publishing. Won’t you reconsider? You could always use them as prizes in your “So,You Think You Know London Town, Ha!” tests.

  2. David Penn says:

    Didn’t Andrew Taylor already do that? Couldn’t you just borrow his notes?
    ( My tongue is wedged firmly in my cheek.)

    If you are on the lookout for strange things that actually happen in North London I did once have to foot a narrowboat through the Islington tunnel of the Regent’s canal chasing a petty thief in a canoe. It’s very dark.

  3. David Penn says:

    That should have said kayak rather than canoe, according to the police report.

  4. David Penn says:

    And I seem to be ‘Doing a Bryant’ on the available technology: it sure as hell wasn’t 10:45 am when I posted my previous comment.

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