well read - London History Festival

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History is brought to life from November 14 to 24, when the London History Festival comes to Kensington and Chelsea to educate and enthrall book lovers and history buffs alike.


The London History Festival

The London History Festival allows visitors to engage with some of today’s bestselling historians, as they both entertain and enlighten through their books and talks, in a city itself steeped in a long and fascinating history.

Eight events bring together writers of fascinating books about the past, to chat and answer questions. Visitors can listen to lectures and discussions from leading authors and historians including Simon Sebag Montefiore, Max Hastings, and Norman Davies.

Historians Leo Hollis and Nigel Jones discuss the history of the capital through some of its iconic buildings; acclaimed biographer Claire Tomalin will discuss Charles Dickens – the subject of her latest book – as well as her previous works on Pepys, Hardy, and Austen; while Hallie Rubenhold (Mistress of My Fate), Alex Von Tunzelmann (Red Heat), and Imogen Robertson (Island of Bones) will talk about their latest books and women in history, as well as women writing history.

Book reviews

The Stones of London: A History in Twelve Buildings
By Leo Hollis

The story of 12 London buildings: Westminster Abbey, Greenwich Hospital, the Houses of Parliament, Wembley Stadium, 30 St Mary Axe, and more; how these buildings have captured and shaped our past. Not just a book on architecture, it is the stories of the people and events that took place within the buildings, and that caused their creation. The book takes the reader from ancient ruins that can still be seen to the steel and glass of the newest skyscrapers.


London 1000 Years: Treasures from the Collections of the City of London
By David Pearson

Through a selection of 100 treasures from the capital city, this book tells the history of London, through iconic items connected with famous people or important moments in history, such as William I’s confirmation of the city’s liberties, issued in 1067, or the city’s copy of Magna Carta, issued in 1297; and less obviously remarkable items, such as trade cards, plans for the Thames Barrier, or Elizabeth David’s annotated cookery books.


Panoramas of Lost London: Work, Wealth, Poverty, and Change 1870–1945
By Philip Davies

This sequel to the bestseller Lost London showcases 300 spectacular photographs of London’s lost buildings from the London Metropolitan Archive, including 100 previously unseen images. Tudor, Georgian, and Victorian buildings, some of them historic masterpieces, are captured in location just before their destruction between 1870 and 1945. The photographs are ‘narrated’ by Philip Davies, former Regional Planning Director of English Heritage.


The City of London: Architectural Tradition & Innovation in the Square Mile
By Sir Nicholas Kenyon

Celebrating the architecture of the Square Mile, The City of London is divided into eight chapters, each devoted to a particular district in the capital. Each chapter includes an introduction, a specially commissioned map of the district, and coverage of buildings and urban spaces, such as squares and public gardens. Entries include major landmarks such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Barbican, and each of the bridges that connects the City with the South Bank.


The Games: Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic Journey to London 2012
By Brendan Gallagher

The Games traces Britain’s great Olympic and Paralympic past through narrative, anecdotes, and over 250 original images. London’s previous roles as host, rescuing the Games in 1904 after Vesuvius erupted, and battling with post-war austerity in 1948, are considered both as contemporaries saw them and from a historical perspective. The final chapter focuses on preparations for next year’s events, and shows how London 2012 will both strengthen and refresh Britain’s historic Olympic ties.


London, England
Distance: 5,219 km
Flight Time: 7 hours, 35 minutes
Frequency: 6 flights a day

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