Spectacular Vernacular: London's 100 Most Extraordinary Buildings
David Long

Spectacular Vernacular: London's 100 Most Extraordinary Buildings

Lifting the lid on London, and richly illustrated with more than 150 new, specially commissioned photographs, the book reveals the stories behind London's strangest and most enigmatic buildings. Some are open to the public, if you know who to ask. Others remain strictly off-limits, thus heightening the sense of mystery surrounding them. But many are so familiar that that few of us ever stop to consider just how curious they are. In the heart of Kensington, for example, a 300ft tower attracts few glances because even the locals don’t know it’s there. South of the river the city’s widest building at nearly 1,000ft has been favourably compared to the Winter Palace at St Petersburg. And in Chelsea a medieval hall, once home to a king and moved brick by brick from the City to escape demolition, has been extensively remodelled as London’s largest private house. Elsewhere one finds an arts centre built of old shipping containers, a Victorian explorer lying dead in a tent, literally acres of secret underground government offices, even a privately-owned tunnel running beneath the Thames and large enough to drive a car through.

Book Details:

  • Author: David Long
  • Published Year: 2006
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: The History Press

David Long

David Long spent 25 years writing features for national newspapers and editing glossy magazines before turning to books, initially as a ghostwriter. Since then, under his own name, he is the author of many successful non-fiction titles for adults and children. With an engaging historical focus, his books have been well received by readers and reviewers alike and translated into a dozen languages. In 2017 his book Survivors was the Blue Peter Book of the Year. He lives in Suffolk, is the father of two boys, and has made regular appearances in the Times, Sunday Times, Sunday Pe...
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Book Reviews

  • "It’s a book I think everyone should have."
    Robert Elms, BBC Radio London
  • "The photographs are enigmatically stark, the text rich in anecdotes. Long brings a genuine pleasure to his subject..and encourages his readers to look at London with an unceasing curiosity."
    The London Magazine
  • "This admirably structured and coherent book draws attention to the uncontrived diversity in London’s architecture."
    Maxwell Hutchinson, past-President RIBA
  • "Even the most eager historians will find their knowledge challenged by this new book about the capital."
    Evening Standard