The Alternative Guide to London Boroughs (1)

My copy of the book which has been edited by Owen Hatherley, pre-ordered and published by Open House has now arrived. It’s a pleasure: beautifully designed by Studio Christopher Victor, it describes, as its title suggests, an alternative London: the deep suburbs, Metroland and Middlesex, the neo-Georgian architects like W.T. Curtis and C.H. James. There’s a tower block by Colquhoun and Miller in Hornsey, the Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner, St. Patrick’s Church, Barking, looking as if it was designed to withstand attack by Germans, and Rainham Hall, which, of course, is not open, because it’s owned by the National Trust, not one of their top twenty (and I’ve only got half way). The book is a combination of gazetteer, social history and psychogeography, post-Nairn, much of it inspired by his occasionally hectic style of writing and an excellent supplement to it. I strongly recommend it.


2 thoughts on “The Alternative Guide to London Boroughs (1)

  1. joan says:

    When ours arrived at the weekend I was pleasantly surprised by just what a handsome book it is. I only ordered it because we always get a copy of the Open House guide and so it seemed like something normal to do. So far, my favourite of the pieces I have read was Helen Thomas on lockdown in the Barbican. The guide really is a great thing to dip in to. And it is nice to see long form pieces by people I only know of through Twitter.

    Rainham Hall, which I love, has I seem to remember very good links with the local community and educational institutions. Hopefully it will be able to continue those in the future. Like many East End Catholics of Irish origin I have links with Rainham – its 1960s church, Our Lady of La Salette, has been the scene of many family weddings and funerals.

    You are almost there on the self isolation front. When we walked the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela – over twenty years ago – fellow pilgrims would encourage each other with the cry Ultreya! meaning ‘Keep On’. So I wish you that in this final lap.


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