A city long shrouded in literary and historical mists—not to mention real ones—London seduces tourists and natives alike. From Big Ben to the grimy Victorian streets of Dickens novels on up to the sleek high-rises that dot the skyline of the twenty-first-century metropolis, the urban landscape of London is steeped in history, while forever responsive to the changing dictates of progress, industry, and culture. In London: A Life in Maps, acclaimed historian Peter Whitfield reveals a wealth of surprising truths and forgotten facts hidden in the city’s historic maps.
Whitfield examines nearly 200 maps spanning the last 500 years, all of which vividly demonstrate the vast changes wrought on London’s streets, open spaces, and buildings. In a rich array of colorful cartographic illustrations, the maps chronicle London’s tumultuous history, from the devastation of the Great Fire to the indelible marks left by World Wars I and II to the emergence of the West End as a fashion mecca. Whitfield reads historic sketches and detailed plans as biographical keys to this complex, sprawling urban center, and his in-depth examination unearths fascinating insights into the city of black cabs and red double-deckers. With engaging prose and astute analysis he also expertly coaxes out the subtle complexities—of social history, urban planning, and design—within the rich documentation of London’s immense and constantly changing cityscape.
London: A Life in Maps lets readers wander through the past and present of London’s celebrated streets—from Abbey Road to Savile Row—and along the way reveals the city’s captivating history, vibrant culture, and potential future.