Monday, June 23, 2008

London, The Biography by Peter Ackroyd

I checked out the above mentioned book from my local library once before, but was unable to delve very far into it's 773 pages before it was due back. Today I decided that it was time to give it another go. Every page is packed with interesting tidbits and information.

"The relics of past ages have been found beneath many areas of London; they are the foundations upon which it rests."

In 1682 John Dryden wrote this rhyme recognizing the now forgotten landscape of London:

" Yet monsters from thy large increase we find
Engender'd on the Slyme thou leav'st behind. "

The remains of a mammoth were found in 1690 near what is now know as King's Cross. Hippopotamus and elephants were found beneath Trafalgar Square. Mixed in with the bones of the King's Cross mammoth were pieces of a flint hand-axe dating to the Palaeolithic period.

"In the late Neolithic period there appeared, from the generally marshy soil on the northern bank of the Thames, twin hills covered by gravel and brick-earth, surrounded by sedge and willow. They were forty to fifty feet in height, and were divided by a valley through which flowed a stream, We know them as Cornhill and Ludgate Hill, with the now buried Walbrook running between. Thus emerged London."

And so begins the biography of London.

I've been a visitor to this great city twice and I am now a dreamer of future trips. This is me exactly 10 years and 3 weeks ago.


  1. Don't you look brim-full of excitement at being in that great city! And those darling phone boxes...I wonder if they are still there. One hears of so many of the historic aspects of London, fading away.

    What lies intriguing topic. I hope you have better luck getting through that book now. I'm afraid my longlong book days are over; the old attention span is not what it was.

    I understand that Paris has interesting things beneath it too....miles and miles of catacombs.

  2. How lucky you are to have visited London twice. As I type this I am watching tennis live from Wimbledon. The book I used to make my paper wreath was an old book on Princess Diana. I was about to give it to a book drive when I remembered I wanted to make that wreath. I love your idea about the sunflower. I want to make a few I will try a yellow one.
    Enjoy your reading!

  3. Very intriguing book. One I would definitely enjoy, too.

    London is one of the few cities I have had the good fortune to visit back in 1989. It was wonderful. I would love to return and hit Portobello Rd. with a vengeance!

  4. I got to visit London in 1970 and it was grand. There is so much to see and do. I hope to go back some day. The underground of London sounds so dark and secretive. You come up with the most interesting things.

  5. Interesting history lesson on London. Thanks.

  6. Isn't it interesting to envision what a place looked like long ago and what treasures we are walking over every day?

    I've never been to London, but hopefully, someday....

  7. I have also had two trips to London and absolutely love it. So much to see in so little time. What amazed me about England was the history and that wherever we went there were ancient walls, nooks and crannies.

  8. Interesting to know.


I'm glad you stopped by and I look forward to your comments. As Dr. Fraser Crane would say, "Hello, I'm listening."