29 January 2015
Vanished City: London's Lost Neighbourhoods by Tom Bolton
ANYONE WHO ENJOYED Tom Bolton’s last book London’s Lost Rivers is in for a treat with his latest investigation Vanished City: London’s Lost Neighbourhoods. Here’s part of a review I’ve written about it:
Vanished City is at its most vivid when describing the individuals and communities who lived in these now-liminal places. We meet obscure figures like Thomas Venner, the leader of the Fifth Monarchists cult, and the mudlarks William Smith and Charles Eaton, who made cack-handed forgeries to be passed off as antiquities found at low tide, complete with spelling mistakes (both were illiterate). Somehow they escaped prosecution. Better-known names like Dan Leno, Alexander Pope and Joseph Grimaldi also appear and Bolton’s marshalling of information gives their lives precise geographical context. Bolton reserves short shrift for the writer Thomas Burke, sometimes needy and indiscriminately friendly in his other London writings, here nailed as ‘absurdly melodramatic’ in his accounts of the East End’s Chinese in Limehouse Nights.
You can read the whole thing on the Caught by the River website.
On Monday 2nd February I’ll be in conversation with Tom at a Caught by the River evening in The Social. Also on the bill are films by Paul Kelly, St Etienne and William Raban, and a reading by Michael Smith from his book Dark Waters.
Looks like a good night for anyone interested in the Thames and London, and all at one of the best bars in the West End. Hope to see you there.