Thank you Netgalley and Amber Books for the opportunity to review this beautifully illustrated tome.
Written by one of London’s most innovative Blue Badge Guides, Katie Wignall’s Abandoned London takes you on a journey around forgotten, or unknown (at least to this cabbie) buildings and sights in the capital.
Each chapter covers a single theme, from transport to shops and retail.
Accompanying the images are descriptions by the author disclosing little known facts about the subject. Who knew that the decrepit Asylum Chapel in Peckham was, rather than a hospital for the mentally ill, a retirement home for pub landlords that is now a licensed wedding venue.
London is forever a city that reinvents itself and some of the buildings I discovered on the knowledge are, like the Hungarian Gay Hussar Restaurant in Soho, in business since 1953, are now featured here as derelict, awaiting reinvention.
As the Londonist website acknowledges, the title also holds a slight irony, given that the book was written during the lockdown, when much of central London was all-but-abandoned.
This lavishly illustrated book with over 200 photos of abandoned places capturing a moment in time is sure to appeal to anyone who has a passing interest in London.
Featured image from the book: Grade II Listed Savoy Cinema, Burnt Oak by Ewan Monro (CC BY-SA 2.0).