London Under

London Under

Hardback

By (author) Peter Ackroyd

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  • Publisher: CHATTO & WINDUS
  • Format: Hardback | 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 144mm x 204mm x 22mm | 299g
  • Publication date: 7 April 2011
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0701169915
  • ISBN 13: 9780701169916
  • Illustrations note: Illustrations
  • Sales rank: 20,959

Product description

From the author of the bestselling London: The Biography, a poetic and powerful urban history of life and legend beneath London London Under is a wonderful, atmospheric, imaginative, oozing short study of everything that goes on under London, from original springs and streams and Roman amphitheatres to Victorian sewers, gang hideouts and modern Tube stations. The depth below is hot, warmer than the surface, and tunnels down through the geological layers, meeting the creatures that dwell in darkness, real and fictional - rats and eels, monsters and ghosts. There is a Bronze Age trackway under the Isle of Dogs, Anglo-Saxon graves were found under St Paul's, and the monastery of Whitefriars lies beneath Fleet Street. In Kensal Green cemetery a hydraulic device lowered bodies into the catacombs below - 'Welcome to the lower depths' - while a door in the plinth of the statue of Boadicea on Westminster Bridge leads to a huge tunnel, packed with cables for gas, water and telephone lines. When the Metropolitan Line was opened in 1864 the guards asked for permission to grow beards to protect themselves against the sulphurous fumes, and called their engines by the names of tyrants - Czar, Kaiser, Mogul - and even Pluto, god of the underworld. 'The vastness of the space, a second earth,' writes Peter Ackroyd, 'elicits sensations of wonder and of terror. It partakes of myth and dream in equal measure.' Going under London is to penetrate history, to enter a hidden world.

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Author information

Peter Ackroyd is the author of biographies of Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Dickens, Blake, Wilkie Collins and Thomas More and of the acclaimed non-fiction bestsellers London: The Biography and Thames: Sacred River. Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning novelist, as well as a broadcaster, biographer, poet and historian. He has won the Whitbread Biography Award, the Royal Society of Literature's William Heinemann Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award and the South Bank Prize for Literature. He holds a CBE for services to literature.

Review quote

"Ackroyd is a knowledgeable and evocative guide to London's different archaeological levels" Times Higher Education Supplement