London Books Review: Curiocity

Not so much Mao’s Little Red Book.

This tome runs to 450 A4 page and has been described as a love letter to the capital.

This is not what might be described as a scholarly work, although arranged alphabetically with thousands of cross-references and footnotes, its quirky style is far more engaging, containing a wealth of information.

[T]HE BOOK’S unusual style is immediately apparent when you pick it up, no dust cover, with a bright red cloth binding, a ‘map’, diagram or flowchart accompanies each chapter. To cap it all, one of the authors decamped from Crouch End to write this remarkable work in Argentina.

So what will you find between its scarlet covers having forked out north of £30?

The work is a veritable treasury of London-based data: myths; facts; trivia; traditions; lesser-known people; flow chart; all of which has cartography at its heart.

There are plenty of learned books about London, stuffed full of dry facts, Curiocity (or is that Curio City) is a refreshing change.

I have studied London for over 25 years, and every page produced a plethora of gems that were new to me. Explore London with this work, one of the greatest references for our city.

Added to that a series of clues throughout the book lead you to six ceramic tiles concealed around London. Find them all, and you’ll have all you need to track down a log book. Enter your name in this book and be listed in future print runs of Curiocity.

And no, I haven’t discovered all the clues…yet!

Curiocity: In Pursuit of London by Henry Eliot and Matt Lloyd-Rose. First published by Particular Books August 2016

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