A Curious Guide to London

Random House
Free sample

From petticoat duels and lucky cats to the Stiffs Express, Lord Nelson's spare nose, the Piccadilly earthquake and the Great Beer Flood of 1814, A Curious Guide to London takes you on a captivating, wildly entertaining tour of the city you think you know, unearthing the capital's secrets and commemorating its rich, colourful and unusual history.

Brimming with tales of London's forgotten past, its strangest traditions and its most eccentric inhabitants, this book celebrates the unique, the unusual and the unknown.

Perfect for tourists, day-trippers, commuters and the millions of people who call London home, this alternative guidebook will make you look at the city in a whole new light.

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About the author

In a previous life Simon Leyland was a City trader and as such has always been fascinated by the ridiculous and the absurd. Now a full time writer, he lives in a small cottage on the west coast of Ireland.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Random House
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Published on
May 22, 2014
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9781448171354
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Industries / Hospitality, Travel & Tourism
History / Europe / Great Britain / General
History / General
Travel / Essays & Travelogues
Travel / Europe / Great Britain
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Discover hundreds of fascinating facts about London in this enthralling miscellany

Travelling through the villages and districts that make up the world's most dynamic metropolis, Christopher Winn takes us on a captivating journey around London to unearth the hidden gems of legends, firsts, inventions, adventures and birthplaces that shape the city's compelling and at times turbulent past.

See the Chelsea river views that inspired Turner and find out where London's first nude statue is. Explore London's finest country house in Charlton and unearth the secrets of the Mother of Parliaments. Discover which church steeple gave us the design of the traditional wedding cake, where the sandwich was invented and where in Bond Street you can see London's oldest artifact. Visit the house where Handel and Jimi Hendrix both lived. Climb the famous 311 steps of the Monument and fly the world's biggest Ferris wheel. Brimming with stories and snippets providing spellbinding insight into what has shaped the city, I Never Knew That About London is a beautifully illustrated gem of a book that informs and amuses in equal measure.

"Will not fail to enhance months, even years, of gentle urban exploration...Any number of morning or weekend outings can be constructed from these rich pages... the selections and observations remain unfailingly interesting." --The Guardian (UK)

I Never Knew That:

Tucked away below Clive Steps at the end of King Charles Street can be found the small underground rooms where Winston Churchill and the War Cabinet met during the air raids of the Second World War.

The first-ever Valentine Card was written from the Tower, where in 1415 the recently imprisoned Duke of Orleans composed a love poem to his wife.
The measurement of one foot comes from the length of the foot of St. Algar's statue, carved on the base of one of the columns near the entrance of St. Paul's Cathedral.
The design for the traditional wedding cake is drawn from the steeple of St. Bride's church in Fleet Street.

The New York Times bestselling account of the real-life murder that inspired the birth of modern detective fiction.

In June of 1860 three-year-old Saville Kent was found at the bottom of an outdoor privy with his throat slit. The crime horrified all England and led to a national obsession with detection, ironically destroying, in the process, the career of perhaps the greatest detective in the land.

At the time, the detective was a relatively new invention; there were only eight detectives in all of England and rarely were they called out of London, but this crime was so shocking, as Kate Summerscale relates in her scintillating new book, that Scotland Yard sent its best man to investigate, Inspector Jonathan Whicher.

Whicher quickly believed the unbelievable--that someone within the family was responsible for the murder of young Saville Kent. Without sufficient evidence or a confession, though, his case was circumstantial and he returned to London a broken man. Though he would be vindicated five years later, the real legacy of Jonathan Whicher lives on in fiction: the tough, quirky, knowing, and all-seeing detective that we know and love today . . . from the cryptic Sgt. Cuff in Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone to Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade.

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher is a provocative work of nonfiction that reads like a Victorian thriller, and in it Kate Summerscale has fashioned a brilliant, multilayered narrative that is as cleverly constructed as it is beautifully written.
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