Underground London: Travels Beneath the City Streets
11 journalers for this copy...
News reporter and author Stephen Smith goes below pavement level in London, allowing the reader to vicariously explore burial crypts, dug-up plague pits, sewers, excavated Roman walls, remnants of Henry VIII's tennis courts, poncy wine cellars, secret government bunkers, the bowels of Parliament, and forgotten corners of the Tube.
The good thing about this book is that the public can see some of the places the author did. He was able to visit other places because he's a journalist or because of his membership to Subterranea Britannica. A really interesting book. The chapter Monster Soup was yucky, that was a visit to a sewer.
It could have done with maps or drawings, I found a London Underground map useful.
This is going with me to Uncon 06.
Rescued from the groaning book table at yesterday's Uncon in Birmingham. And I got to meet ReetPetite, too. :) *waves*
This was a fascinating glimpse into the world underneath London’s streets. Before reading this book, if asked what I thought was below ground I would have said the Underground (obviously) and then would have struggled ... but there’s a whole world of sewers, water supply pipes and reservoirs; diverted rivers; archaeological remains; wine cellars; burial grounds; World War II bunkers; jewellery safes and strongrooms; chambers filled with telecommunications cables ... even the Underground isn’t as straightforward as it seems, with its ghost stations and tunnels used as bomb shelters.
The book blends the history of London, with its social history and geography and I thoroughly enjoyed it (including reading part of it actually *on* the London Underground!); although I agree with Reetpetite that a map would have been useful.
I'd like to share this book as a Bookray
Some brief "rules"
* Journal the book when you receive it.
* PM the next person on the list for their address when you receive it so as to try to avoid hold-ups later on.
* If you don't hear from the next participant within a few days, PM them again. If after a few more days you still haven't heard from them, PM me to let me know, and move on to the next person on the list.
* Read (and hopefully enjoy!) Don't feel pressurised to read it in a rush (and life gets in the way sometimes!) but if you need to keep hold of the book for longer than say a couple of months, please journal to let us know.
* Journal again when you've read it to let us know what you think of it.
* The person at the end of the ray gets to decide what to do with the book.
, Kingston Upon Thames
, Long Melford
, Great Bardfield
, Stanford in the Vale
Whew! That's a loooooong list! I'll add new participants to the end. If this causes any problems with posting internationally, let me know and I'll jiggle the order about if possible!
This book has headed off today on the first leg of its marathon journey. Happy travels, little book!
Hooray the book arrived - after the poor postman struggled through the snow to get here! Good idea to include a tube map dododumpling! Will start reading tonight...
I think I expected more from this book than it actually offered. I wanted to be dazzled with lots of interesting facts that I could bore people with and thought it was definitely had those (parts Henry VIII's tennis court - he was a great player apparently - can still be found in Cabinet Office in Whitehall) most of the text was either too anecdotal or just plain dull. Some chapters stood out from others though - The Love Games of Henry VIII, Lifting People, Going out with a Bang, and Euston we have a problem. The author's sense of humour is great! I just wished he'd spent a little more time investigating the 'dead' tube stations (there's one near my house that he didn't mention)
Will be sending this off to VLR tomorrow
Arrived today with thanks - looks like my kind of book.
Got this today. Will read and pass on asap.
Oops - I've had this much longer than I thought. I'll read and pass it on quickly. Apologies to all those downstream.
Well this was a thoroughly interesting and entertaining book. It's reminiscent of Iain Sinclair's books, but more user-friendly It took me a long time to read because I kept going off and researching the places in each chapter - I agree that some maps would have improved it a lot. I'm going to get my own copy so I can go some of the places that Smith has been like the sewer tour and the last gents cubicle in the ICA. I've even joined SubBrit, though more as a corresponding member than as a serious spelunker.
Anyway, I'll send this onto YowlYY asap.
Update 8/8/07: YowlYY is going away today and won't be back for two weeks by which time I will have gone away until early September so I'm going to swap YowlYY and Caligula03 around (hope this is ok) so the book doesn't sit around my house for another month.
Book is here. I will read it and pass it along to YowlYY.
Overall I found Underground London to be a fascinating read but some chapters didn't hold my interest. My favorite chapters were "Monster Soup", "Within the Stones", "Lifting People" and "Euston, We Have a Problem". Thanks for letting the book detour to the States. :)
Now off to YowlYY.
Journal Entry 15
YowlYY in n/a, n/a -- Controlled Releases on Saturday, September 22, 2007
Released 11 yrs ago (10/2/2007 UTC) at YowlYY in n/a, n/a -- Controlled Releases
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Posting to YowlYY.
Journal Entry 16
on Saturday, October 13, 2007
Hurrah! Despite Royal Mail strikes the book arrived this morning in Nottingham :) Thanks to caligula03 for mailing it, and to dododumpling for starting this ray. I saw recently "Creep"
on TV and thought about the book... I am not sure if I shall expect monsters in it, as in the film, but no matter what, I hope it will be an interesting read. I will try my best to have it moving within the next two weeks. Picture from www.thefilmasylum.com
Journal Entry 17
on Sunday, November 04, 2007
I agree with most of the comments made by the readers before me, and the only chapter I was not much interested in was the one dealing with the WWII bunkers.
I have made notes of some of the books listed in the bibliography as I would like to read more especially about the mediaeval London.
The book is leaving tomorrow to spend some time with Turquoisefloyd...happy reading, and thanks for sharing!
PS: I've added a map of the London Underground to make it easier to follow the trip of the author in the bowels of the capital...particularly useful for those who do not know well the place!
Bizarrely this is the second book registered by ReetPetite that's come into my hands in 24 hours! The first was a Georgette Heyer that was passed to me at the Chelmsford Meet last night.
Thanks then to ReetPetite for registering the book, doddumpling for starting the ring and Yowlyy who sent it to me with the dark chocolate and mint(eaten!) and the Tube map which shall now travel onwards with the book. Even more coincidentally, the next two participants in the ring, Pakasanelly and Candy-is-Dandy were both at Chelmsford last night as well and will probably travel with me to Ipswich on Saturday!
This was really quite fascinating stuff. When I signed up for it, I was expecting something more about the actual Underground network but I enjoyed finding out about the parts of London through the ages that have been buried. And following around the fella on the Northern Line was definitely my highlight.
Passing this onto Pakasanelly at the Sudbury Meet tomorrow.
Journal Entry 20
Caffe Nero in Sudbury, Suffolk United Kingdom on Friday, November 23, 2007
Released 11 yrs ago (11/24/2007 UTC) at Caffe Nero in Sudbury, Suffolk United Kingdom
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
To be passed to Pakasanelly when I see her at the Sudbury Meet!
Passed to me by TurquoiseFloyd last Saturday - thank you! And thanks for sharing, DodoDumpling :o)
Doubt I'll manage to read before 8th when I'll see Candy-is-Dandy but will read as quickly as I can.
Sorry I've had this so long. I took advantage of knowing I wouldn't see Candy-is-Dandy until tonight, so left reading it to the last minute! I think I read about 3/4 of it, picking and choosing the chapters after the first three.
I would have given this book more stars if I'd found the style easier to read. It's a real shame because the information was mostly very interesting. But I had to keep looking words up (in my new electronic dictionary - excellent gadget!) and often found the sentences awkward and overlong. I see that no-one else mentions this, so I'm heading for the bottom of the class :o(
Smith is amusing at times (i.e. better than the to-be-expected toilet humour) which was a second saving grace. Obviously has no idea about the treatment of phobias though;
|Despite their traditions of outlandish stories, toshers – now flushers – don’t dread rats the way you and I do. Familiarity drives out fear. Orwell’s Room 101 would have been a piece of cake for Winston Smith if only he’d done a few shifts in the sewers first. |
Definitely agree that maps and diagrams - and photos - would have been a bonus!
If you enjoyed this then look out for Do Not Pass Go
in which Tim Moore trots round overground London following streets familiar to us all from the game of Monopoly.
Passed on to me by Pakasanelly at The Chelmsford meet (15/1/08). I look forward to reading it and finding out more of the London you don't see.
An interesting read. I liked the historical bits best (Roman, medieval and Tudor especially) and the sections about plague pits and crypts.
Not as humorous a read as I expected and I didn't really see the relevance of visiting WW2 bunkers in Licolnshire.
Thanks for sharing dododumpling. This is now off to tuftynut.
I'm sorry, folks, but it looks like this book got lost in the post. However, candy-is-dandy has very kindly offered a replacement. You can follow its progress here
This copy of your book arrived in the post at my house yesterday! Looks like it's been on an adventure all of it's own, lol!! Luckily, I'm already registered so knew to check out the book number.
If you'd like me to pass it on to somebody on your list, then send me an address and I'll gladly post it on. xx