let Ed be my guide

The London CompendiumLondon; A Pilgrimage

Having waded, and it really felt like hard work given the somewhat flowery prose, through London: A Pilgrimage only because the illustrations are so brilliant, I’ve now made it to my next London book.  Inspired by a previous Ed Glinert book – East End Chronicles, a book so crammed full of facts that it often left my head pleasantly spinning, I picked up The London Compendium a while back and am delighted to have finally got the chance to start reading it.  Designed as a guide more than book to read cover to cover, I couldn’t help myself from just diving straight in and wallowing in the fantastic historical detail contained within.  Ed has walked the streets that are covered in The Compendium and suggests that you read the relevant sections as & when you visit those areas themselves.  Well I’m far too impatient for that and have already worked my way through most of the City of London section already.  But I have decided to stop where I am and use Ed’s fantastic book as a guide through my working week.  So starting today, I am going to make a note of all the places I pick up or set people down and, if the place is mentioned in Ed’s book, give you a historical fact about that place.  As a taster, I am going to give my favourite bit from the book so far.  As Ed (I don’t know Mr Glinert, I just feel I can call him Ed) takes you down the south side of Fleet heading west he stops at No. 55a and tells us this;

Loius Rothman took the lease of a shop at 55a Fleet Street in the 1890s and sat there late into the night hand-rolling cigarettes to sell the following day to journalists.  Within ten years business was so good Rothman was able to move to a luxury showroom on Pall Mall.

And this is exactly the sort of thing you want to read about London isn’t it?  On the same page, in fact next door, you also get to know that No. 55 Fleet Street was the furthest west the Great Fire of London reached.  I hope my work will help throw up some suitably obscure and fascinating facts over the next few days.  Watch this space……

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3 thoughts on “let Ed be my guide

  1. I’m reading The Phoenix: The men who made modern London by Leo Hollis The story of the rebuilding of London after the great fire. If you are into Restoration London it starts with the premise that a small number of men made London what it is today.
    After your review The London Compendium will be on my shortlist.

  2. Glinert’s book is indeed a masterful compendium of London trivia. I read the whole thing cover to cover. It’s actually pretty useless as a reference book though, thanks to the limited index and eccentric chapter layout. Try finding the entry for king’s cross station, for example.

  3. I am currently reading A.N. Wilson’s London: A Short History but as no one history can contain all the interesting facts about a subject, I shall read with interest any snippets you post here.

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