Wednesday, 18 March 2015

The #London Reading List No.12: Discovering London

We've asked London Walks Guides & London Walkers to recommend a favourite book or story, and we've also raided the archives here at The Daily Constitutional to bring a rich and varied selection of London-themed and London-set reading matter.

Whether you live here in London, work here, play here or if you are in the throws of planning a trip to visit us here, these are the books you need to read. As usual, you can give us a shout with your own recommendations – thrillers, literary classics, biographies, anthologies, anything! – at the usual email address, via Twitter or Facebook, or simply leave a comment below.

No.12. Discovering London

Suggested by award-winning Blue Badge Guide and Daily Constitutional Associate Editor Kim 

"One book?  You seriously want me to recommend one book when I often think I live in an actual library?

So, if you insist – and it has to be about London – then I'm going to cheat and chose 8 books in 1!  Yes, it's a series called Discovering London and was produced in 1968 to accompany a series on London Weekend Television with that name.

The books are nice little slim volumes - no excess rubbish here, it's all good meaty stuff - and there are four volumes all contained in a cardboard cover and there were two series of the programme and the books.

The first series covers Roman London, The Conquerors London, Medieval London and Tudor London.  The second series (you're catching on here, aren't you?) is Stuart London, Georgian London, Regency London and Victorian London.

They have maps, photographs and cover everything from crime, fashion, architecture (if you are reading Regency) to dwellings, sports and pastimes and fairs (all contained in the Conqueror's London). 

They have proved to be fantastic little references on many occasions when researching bits of London and trying to add colour and texture to a particular area of the city.

Lots of  my walks have bits of interest thanks to these books and Darkest Victorian London  (Mondays from Monument at 10.45) is very grateful for them.

However, if you want to brush up on your London history from start to finish and can't get copies of these - or even if you can and want to see what they are talking about - then you can do nothing better than taking London Walks London History course which begins in our summer programme.  One period every week on a Saturday afternoon all contained in 2 hours.  You see a different part of London every week and by the end the whole city makes perfect sense. 

Me?  I always look forward to my contributions to this course which are Tudor London (on 5 September) and Georgian London (on 19 September).  Both begin at 2.30pm and both start from Chancery Lane.   Join me and the other guides for these wonderful history walks and keep your eyes peeled in second hand shops for the books.  They'll be the perfect accompaniment."

Thanks Kim.

You can hear a little more from our Associate Editor on the Political London Podcast here:


Kim, who has worked in the House of Commons and the European Parliament, is another 24-carat Blue Badge Guide: she won the London Tourist Board's Guide of the Year award in 2001.

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at

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