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Exploring London as an #urbanread character

April 9, 2014
St Paul’s Cathedral from under the Millennium Bridge – by Sue Apple

St Paul’s Cathedral from under the Millennium Bridge – by Sue Apple

London Pride has been handed down to us – Noel Coward

The Shard & the Gerkin, reach for the future with their foundations sunk in the past. The city is layer on layer. London’s Guildhall stands beside London’s Roman amphitheatre.

Famous Landmarks were remade for the millennium. Find out about Norman Foster and the British Museumby Sudjic, Deyan.  Buildings left for dead have been reborn. Read how Bankside Power station became Tate Modern in Power into art by Sabbagh, Karl

A London architect becomes a fictional character. Ernő Goldfinger had his surname taken to become of James Bond’s adversaries the villain Goldfinger in Goldfinger by Ian Fleming  
Architect NicholasHawksmoor’s real life has been an enigma ever since he rebuilt churches after the 1666 fire. Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd

St Pauls Cathedral survives the wartime blitz protected by the ARP (Air Raid Protection) wardens in The night watch by Sarah Waters

Wharfs that once loaded tea are expensive apartments – Adam Dalglish lives in Queenhithe – the site of a dock named for Matilda, daughter of King Henry I -which he leaves reluctantly to catch killers in Hampstead in The Murder Room by PD James:

Roads have names like Houndsditch for an old ditch where dead dogs were thrown. Lanes & Alleys called Shoe, Fetter and Leather echo their past trades and were once walked by Cromwell inBring up the bodies By Hilary Mantel

London’s rivers are now mainly contained under the city. Get wet in The water room by Christopher Fowler, one of his many Bryant & May peculiar crime thrillers that burrow into London’s history and geography.

These rivers flow into the Thames whose great stink was embanked and flushed down sewers by Sir Joseph Bazalgette in Worms of Euston Square by William Sutton

The tunnels under London used by Bryant & May include the darkest recesses of the 150 year old London Underground as explored in Bryant & May off the rails by Christopher Fowler

London has been an #urbanread for years, Dickens characters fill the streets, Sherlock Holmes returns to 221b Baker Street. And new stories and alternative Londons live on for example in Neverwhere byNeil Gaiman

Sue Apple from @SurreyLibraries

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