Brewer's Dictionary of London Phrase & Fable
Russ Willey

Brewer's Dictionary of London Phrase & Fable

A Greater London version of the much-loved and frequently revised Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, which was compiled by the Reverend Ebenezer Cobham Brewer and first published in 1870. The content will include significant historical events, especially those that have passed into the language in some way and/or mention a street or place in London, e.g. the Putney Debates, the Battle of Cable Street; significant historical Londoners, and a selection from the present day, who have made a mark on the city, for good or ill, from the Emperor Claudius (who established London as a Roman outpost) to Ken Livingstone; London customs and ceremonies; major London institutions, organisations, clubs, etc; mythological or well-known fictional characters related to London, e.g. Brutus of Troy (mythological founder of London), Sherlock Holmes; the most important artistic and literary works depicting London, including paintings, plays, books and films; London artistic or literary circles, e.g. the Camden Town Group (of artists), the Bloomsbury Group; words with a London origin; London slang terms and catchphrases and well-known buildings and other locations, especially those with names that are widely recognised in everyday conversation.

Book Details:

  • Author: Russ Willey
  • On Submission
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Chambers

Russ Willey

Russ Willey comes from an all-London family with roots traced back as far as an eighteenth century innkeeper on Oxford Street.To his great regret Russ was born just outside the present London boundary but he has tried to make up for this by spending almost all his adult life in the capital, living in Chiswick, the City and Twickenham.He studied social sciences at the University of York and has pursued a career in advertising and marketing.Russ’s interests include literature, popular culture and football – from Arsenal to West Ham and AFC Wimbledon. He is particularly fond of roc...
More about Russ Willey

Book Reviews

  • "If The London Encyclopedia is your sage and venerable grandfather ... Brewer’s is your funky godfather, full of genial triviality and good humour ...   "
    Time Out, Big Smoke blog, 19 October 2009
  • "Russ Willey’s book, which incorporates London entries from the original Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable alongside many new ones, has much to commend it. At its best, reading it is like dipping into Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project. If anything, there is less editorialising here, thought it should be remembered that Benjamin was often happy simply to present and juxtapose interesting nuggets of information about Second Empire Paris. This is key to the charm of both books … There is real pleasure in uncovering the layers of meaning that attach to different locations, and observing the ways in which they are constantly reinterpeted.   "
    Times Literary Supplement
  • "… the wonderful and idiosyncratic Brewer’s Dictionary Of London Phrase & Fable, which gathers together the people, places, events, culture, anecdotes, slang and catchphrases of the city.   "
    Christopher Fowler (author), blog, 27 February 2010