A lively new history of London told through twenty-five buildings, from iconic Georgian townhouses to the Shard
A walk along any London street takes you past a wealth of seemingly ordinary buildings: an Edwardian church, modernist postwar council housing, stuccoed Italianate terraces, a Bauhaus-inspired library. But these buildings are not just functional. They are evidence of London’s rich and diverse history and have shaped people’s experiences, identities, and relationships.
In this engaging study, Paul L. Knox traces the history of London from the Georgian era to the present day through twenty-five surviving buildings. Knox explores where people lived and worked, from grand Regency squares to Victorian workshops, and highlights the impact of migration, gentrification, and inequality. We see famous buildings, like Harrods and Abbey Road Studios, and everyday places like Rochelle Street School and Thamesmead.
Each historical period has introduced new buildings, and old ones have been repurposed. As Knox shows, it is the living history of these buildings that makes up the vibrant, but exceptionally unequal, city of today.
Paul Knox is an expert in the social and architectural history of London. Originally from the UK, he is now University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech. He is the author of Metroburbia: The Anatomy of Greater London, London: Architecture, Building and Social Change, and Cities and Design.
“Packed full of fascinating details and wonderful anecdotes, this book will make you see the city with fresh eyes. Essential reading for any Londoner.”—Alice Loxton, author of Uproar!
“An incisive and compelling biopsy of an impossible city-state as it metastasised, swelled, triumphed and achieved its critical condition. The essential diagnosis is delivered through brisk histories of era-defining buildings. An addictive performance.”—Iain Sinclair, author of London Orbital
“A book that changes our view of London. Knox brings exciting new perspectives to his study of London’s built environment. He shows us that the familiar was once novel and the seemingly ordinary was often momentous. An impressive achievement.”—Margarette Lincoln, author of London and the Seventeenth Century
“A fascinating volume in which Paul Knox transports us through the architectural history of London by examining buildings ranging from Lambeth Workhouse and St Pancras Station to Harrods and Admiralty Arch, providing an explanation of the British capital through key structures.”—Panikos Panayi, author of Migrant City
“A must-read for anyone interested in the ever-changing face of London. Combining architectural and social history over 300 years, Paul Knox guides the reader through the streets providing context to the history and built environment in one of the greatest cities in the world.”—Melanie Backe-Hansen, co-author of A House Through Time
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