Cover image for The annals of London : a year-by-year record of a thousand years of history
The annals of London : a year-by-year record of a thousand years of history
Richardson, John, 1935-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
408 pages : illustrations, maps (some color) ; 29 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DA677 .R53 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

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One of the world's greatest cities, the vast metropolis of twentieth-century London began in ad 43 when Aulius Plautius led the second invasion from Richborough to defeat the local army on the banks of the Thames. The victors then created a Roman settlement and established themselves on the river. They developed the city with a southern defense work (Southwark), and the settlement prospered as the preeminent trading base linking Britain to Europe and the Near East. The city's expansion through the invasions of the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings serves as a background for the first of the almanac entries, 1065, which sees the consecration of Edward the Confessor's Abbey at Westminster, shortly before the king's own burial in his new church.

The first appearance and gradual evolution of roads, buildings, and landmarks is set in the context of the ebb and flow of history through the capital's streets and rivers: from the local (the 1665 outbreak of plague, where the healthy were incarcerated with the sick to avoid further infection, and the spread of the great fire that decimated much of the city the following year) to the politically significant (the execution of the king in 1649 outside Inigo Jones's banqueting house, whose building in 1619 is also described).

The sweep of this book is vast and its detail magnificent. Disasters, innovations, and everyday events relating to politics, society, pageantry, the arts, religion, and industry are revealed to display the wide spectrum of London life. Year by year, from 1065 to the present day, events that have shaped the London we know are brought vividly to life by John Richardson's informative text, which is supported by an extraordinary and eclectic collection of historical illustrations.

Author Notes

John Richardson is the author of London and Its People (1995). He has written histories of Covent Garden, Camden Town, Hampstead, Islington, Highgate, Kentish Town, and Soho.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

While Samuel Johnson's famous remark that tiring of London means tiring of life is an exaggeration, this chronology provides ample evidence of the city's boundless fascination. A three-page prcis covers its Roman foundations, dating from 43 C.E., as well as London's Saxon, Danish, and Norse experiences. Year-by-year entries start with Westminister Abbey (consecrated in 1065 under Edward the Confessor) and the 1066 Norman Conquest, continuing through 1999. Fascinating trivia abound, such as Geoffrey Chaucer's being robbed twice in a single day. Schematic color maps outline Roman, Medieval, Tudor, Restoration, Georgian, Victorian, and contemporary London. The entries are very readable, though the type is rather small. The 200 black-and-white sketches, photos, and engravings are captioned, but source references are spotty. A 12-page index is supplied, but there are no contents, map or illustration lists, or bibliography. Still, historian, writer, lecturer, publisher, and borough politician Richardson, the author of six earlier books on London (e.g., London & Its People, LJ 5/1/96), has done a splendid job. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries.DNigel Tappin, Lake of Bays P.L., Ont. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.