London’s Hidden Corners, Lanes & Squares

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London’s Hidden Corners, Lanes & Squares by Chesters, Graeme, 9781909282698
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  • ISBN: 9781909282698 | 1909282693
  • Cover: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2/7/2016

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The inspiration for this book was the advice of thegreat Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), something of an expert on London, to hisfriend and biographer James Boswell on the occasion of his trip to London inthe 18th century, to ‘survey its innumerable little lanes and courts'. In the21st century these are less numerous than in Johnson's time, so we've extendedhis brief to include alleys, squares and yards, along with a number of mews,roads, streets and gardens.
London's Hidden Corners, Lanes & Squarestakes you off the beaten track to seek out places that often fail to registeron the radar of visitors and also most residents. Entries range from ancient history-soakedalleys and lanes in the City – where you half expect to bump into one ofCharles Dickens's characters or even the author himself – to smart,pastel-painted mews in Chelsea built to house horses and carriages (now home tomulti-millionaires); and from unexpected oases of Georgian elegance in traffic plaguedcentral London to tranquil Kensington squares, where you can hear birdsong andalmost smell the scent of money on the breeze.
SamuelJohnson also said, ‘It is not in the showy evolutions of buildings, but in themultiplicity of human habitations which are crowded together, that thewonderful immensity of London consists.' Every corner featured in this book hasa story to tell, from those who lived there (actresses, bishops, painters,politicians, philosophers, writers… even ghosts of former residents!),significant historical events (from duels and demonstrations to plots andexecutions) and bizarre surviving landmarks such as a brick kiln, a sewer gaslamp and a Parisian pissoir.
Althoughthis book isn't intended as a walking guide, most of the places featured areclose to one another in central London – notably in the hubs of Westminster andthe City, where you can easily stroll between them – and all are near publictransport links and easy to reach.
Ihope you enjoy discovering London'sHidden Corners, Lanes & Squares as much as we did, and if you happenacross more secret gems on your travels, we would love to hear about them.

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