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London: The Biography

London: The Biography

Here are two thousand years of London’s history and folklore, its chroniclers and criminals and plain citizens, its food and drink and countless pleasures. Blackfriar’s and Charing Cross, Paddington and Bedlam. Westminster Abbey and St. Martin in the Fields. Cockneys and vagrants. Immigrants, peasants, and punks.


The City as Body

From Prehistory to 1066

Chapter 1: The Sea!

Chapter 2: The Stones

Chapter 3: Holy! Holy! Holy!

The Early Middle Ages

Chapter 4: You Be All Law Worthy

London Contrasts

Chapter 5: Loud and Everlasting

Chapter 6: Silence Is Golden

The Late Medieval City

Chapter 7: This Companye

Onward and Upward

Chapter 8: Rather Dark and Narrow

Chapter 9: Packed to Blackness

Chapter 10: Maps and Antiquarians

Trading Streets and Trading Parishes

Chapter 11: Where Is the Cheese of Thames Street?

A London Neighbourhood

Chapter 12: The Crossroads

London as Theatre

Chapter 13: Show! Show! Show! Show! Show!

Chapter 14: He Shuld Neuer Trobell the Parish No More

Chapter 15: Theatrical City

Chapter 16: Violent Delights

Chapter 17: Music, Please

Chapter 18: Signs of the Times

Chapter 19: All of Them Citizens

Pestilence and Flame

Chapter 20: A Plague Upon You

Chapter 21: Painting the Town Red

After the Fire

Chapter 22: A London Address

Chapter 23: To Build Anew

Crime and Punishment

Chapter 24: A Newgate Ballad

Chapter 25: A Note on Suicide

Chapter 26: A Penitential History

Chapter 27: A Rogues Gallery

Chapter 28: Horrible Murder

Chapter 29: London’s Opera

Chapter 30: Raw Lobsters and Others

Chapter 31: Thereby Hangs a Tale

Voracious London

Chapter 32: Into the Vortex

Chapter 33: A Cookery Lesson

Chapter 34: Eat In or Take Away

Chapter 35: Market Time

Chapter 36: Waste Matter

Chapter 37: A Little Drink or Two

Chapter 38: Clubbing

Chapter 39: A Note on Tobacco

Chapter 40: A Bad Odour

Chapter 41: You Sexy Thing

Chapter 42: A Turn of the Dice

London as Crowd

Chapter 43: Mobocracy

Chapter 44: What’s New?

The Natural History of London

Chapter 45: Give the Lydy a Flower

Chapter 46: Weather Reports

Chapter 47: A Foggy Day

Night and Day

Chapter 48: Let There Be Light

Chapter 49: Night in the City

Chapter 50: A City Morning

London’s Radicals

Chapter 51: Where Is the Well of Clerkenwell?

Violent London

Chapter 52: A Ring! A Ring!

Black Magic, White Magic

Chapter 53: I Met a Man Who Wasn’t There

Chapter 54: Knowledge Is Power

A Fever of Building

Chapter 55: London Will Soon Be Next Door to Us

Chapter 56: Nothing Quite Like It

London’s Rivers

Chapter 57: You Cannot Take the Thames with You

Chapter 58: Dark Thames

Chapter 59: They Are Lost

Under the Ground

Chapter 60: What Lies Beneath

Victorian Megalopolis

Chapter 61: How Many Miles to Babylon?

Chapter 62: Wild Things

Chapter 63: If It Wasn’t for the ’ouses in Between

London’s Outcasts

Chapter 64: They Are Always with ’Us

Chapter 65: Can You Spare a Little Something?

Chapter 66: They Outvoted Me

Women and Children

Chapter 67: The Feminine Principle

Chapter 68: Boys and Girls Come Out to Play


Chapter 69: Have You Got the Time?

Chapter 70: The Tree on the Corner

East and South

Chapter 71: The Stinking Pile

Chapter 72: The South Work

The Centre of Empire

Chapter 73: Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner

Chapter 74: Empire Day

After the Great War

Chapter 75: Suburban Dreams


Chapter 76: War News

Refashioning the City

Chapter 77: Fortune not Design

Cockney Visionaries

Chapter 78: Unreal City

Chapter 79: Resurgam

An Essay on Sources

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