London Books Review: London Sight Unseen

I was given this book by a friend, who knows my love of London, and who hopefully sometimes follows CabbieBlog.

Much of the buildings featured in this book formed the nucleus of the early blog and although published nearly 20 years ago is still one of my favourite London books. Over 120 unique London buildings are captured by one of the great photographers of the twentieth century.

[L]ORD SNOWDON traversed the city, taking pictures that are evocative, intriguing and inspiring. The result is a tour of London’s architecture that reveals the unexpected, the unusual and the largely unseen.

He takes you to a boathouse that’s the epitome of Georgian elegance tucked away on the banks of the Thames to a lodge opposite Buckingham Palace, unnoticed by tourists which serves no purpose whatsoever.

The Leaning Tower of Rotherhithe, the sole survivor of this area’s industrial past described as “one of the most solitary houses in London”, makes for a stark picture.

On Old Brompton Road, visit a humble cottage that presents a cheerful face to the world, painted in a sunny yellow colour or further up the road a block of apartments described as a 21st-century reworking of a mid-19th-century re-creation of a Tudor college or cloister”. How these structures came to be built and for whom and when, is engagingly described by Gwyn Headley.

London Sight Unseen by Snowdon and Gwyn Headley. First published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson 1999

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