Vanishing London (Haynes H5038)

Vanishing London (Haynes H5038)
Brand:Haynes Publishing Group
Product Code:Haynes H5038
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Vanishing London (Haynes H5038)

By: Paul Joseph

A quirky and evocative look at a bygone London, remembering aspects of the city lost in the sands of time. Starting in the 19th century, the book chronicles the changing physical landscape of London. Extended text tells the stories behind the pictures.

Using atmospheric photography from the extensive Mirropix archives - some unseen - starting in the 19th century, Vanishing London chronicles the changing physical landscape of London, as well as charting the cultural evolution of the city through its sub-cultures, fashions, celebrities and momentous occasions.

There's an old saying, which suggests that; “London will be a great city when it's finished.” But of course the reality is precisely the opposite. London, this unruly, unknowable metropolis, a monstrous, many-headed Hydra of city in a constant state of flux would really be finished if it were ever finished. What has given London such a unique appeal is the way in which it constantly re-invents itself, shedding skins and adopting guises as each generation puts their stamp on this ever-evolving organism.

Yet for all London's ability to be perpetually born again, nothing ever quite dies here. The ghosts of two thousand years of continual habitation, of all those Londons, which have gone before, can still be found lurking in the many layers of the city. Walk down that alley, through that arch or over that bridge and suddenly you are immersed in a different era or another facet. Turn a corner and you have gone from Georgian to modern, bomb damaged to designer glamorous, the character of an area changing dramatically as you cross a single street. The juxtaposition of old and new, beautiful and ugly, traditional and radical, virtuous and venal is what makes London so unique.

Londoners too are a contradictory lot, proud of their town but prone to moaning, cultured yet unpretentious, ordered and patient in queues yet known to flare up into protest and riot, by turns patriotic and anarchic. It is surely only in London that the twin worlds of arch conservatism; of court and queen, pomp and ceremony could co-exist so successfully with the cutting edge creativity of punk and pop, rave and style. This complex city is simultaneously deeply traditional and amazingly trendy.
Vanishing London

In the 1930s the Windmill theatre presented nudes - the legendary "Windmill Girls" - in motionless poses as living statues or tableaux vivants to circumvent the censor's obscenity ruling.

And since the invention of photography London has been a willing sitter for so many gifted thieves of light, lenses trained on the fleeting and the eternal alike, capturing moments and freezing motion. It has been blitzed and bombed, slum-cleared and town-planned, it's been the epi-centre of ever-changing youth movements and the bastion of unchanging ritual, as it's moved from the heart of empire to bustling multiculturalism, from post war austerity through swinging creativity, from grey and foggy to bright and technicolour. We've seen the working docks replaced by the high rising towers of commerce, trolleybuses and trams superseded by the now lamented route-masters, street markets decline and revive, whole neighbourhoods shift from rich to poor and back again. And it's all been recorded.

Much has vanished from chameleon London, more perhaps than from any other major city, but because of these shots it is not truly gone. And London of course goes on, a perpetual work in progress.
Author: Paul Joseph is a journalist and writer. He is the author of “When Football was Football - Arsenal”, an illustrated history of the club, and has helped produce lavish, large-format books on New York, Pele, luxury yachts and Pink Floyd. He is also Chief Editor of “Alinghi 10”, a celebration of the Swiss yacht racing team's 10 year anniversary. His crowning moment has been travelling across Brazil to track down the iconic World Cup-winners of 1970 - a journey that spawned a 5 page feature in the Independent newspaper. Born and bred in the capital, he lives in north London.

Hardback, 270 x 210mm, 256 pages, 250 colour illustrations

ISBN:     9780857330383

Book No:     H5038

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