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The City of London, the fabled 'Square Mile', is the financial hub of world trade. It is also an area with a rich and almost tangible history, a history that is reflected in its colourful and varied selection of pubs and watering holes. The city can boast one of the greatest densities of pubs anywhere in the world, and these pubs range from seventeenth-century taverns dating from just after the Great Fire of 1666 through to swish and hip modern bars catering for today's modern 'city worker'. Amazingly there has been no dedicated book about the City of London's pubs in over forty years. Given the area's growing residential population, the hundreds of thousands who work there during the week and the huge number of tourists that visit every year, the time is right for a new guide to the city's diverse and myriad pubs.
Clerkenwell and Islington are two of London's most historic districts; areas where radicalism once thrived and heavy industry flourished, and where poverty and lawlessness were commonplace. This diverse and colourful history can be traced in the area's many pubs. The ancient parish of Clerkenwell, located just outside the City of London's walls, was historically the home of the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem. Later, it became famous for its watchmaking and printing industry. Dickens knew Clerkenwell, and it features in Oliver Twist, while it was here that Vladimir Lenin sowed the nascent seeds of Communism and in Little Italy Garibaldi was welcomed as a hero. But revolution and picking pockets is thirsty work, and the area's pubs were plentiful and varied. Islington, further north, was once a country retreat far away from the noise and industry of the city, but today this once solidly working-class area, now favoured by the rich and the famous, is boisterous and busy and boasts a mixture of traditional hostelries, gastropubs and craft beer bars. Clerkenwell and Islington Pubs takes an historical, and sometimes contemporary, look at some of the area's most interesting watering holes; drinking destinations that down the years have played host to a varied cast of characters that includes the likes of Samuel Pepys, Joe Orton, The Clash, U2, George Orwell and even James I.
Southwark is one of London's oldest and most intriguing neighbourhoods; a hotbed of culture and commerce that has played a major part in the development of the capital. Its streets were familiar to Shakespeare and Dickens, both of whom surely drank, schemed and dreamed in the many inns and taverns that abounded. This is where Chaucer's pilgrims began their long march to Canterbury, and many centuries later it was a major terminus for the many coaches that served the south of England. Four hundred years ago Londoners flocked to the area to watch the latest Shakespeare play at the Globe, or perhaps to visit one of the area's numerous brothels. Bear-baiting and dogfighting were popular attractions, too. People still pour into the area, although these days in search of more innocent pleasures such as high art at the Tate Modern, the foodie haven that is Borough Market or to catch a performance at the recreated Globe on Bankside. The one thing that has remained the same across the centuries is the diversity and quality of the area's many pubs. Southwark Pubs offers an historical guide to some of the borough's most fascinating hostelries, from London's last surviving galleried coaching inn to the Thameside tavern that waved the Pilgrim Fathers off on their first voyage to America. There is a drop of liquid London history for the lover of ale and anecdote alike.
At the start of the eighteenth century London had almost 200 breweries producing close on 2 million barrels of beer every year, making the mighty metropolis the brewing capital of the world. By 1976, when the once-mighty Whitbread halted production at their famous Chiswell Street headquarters, there were only nine brewers left in the capital. The story of brewing in London is the story of the rise and fall of an industry that gave the world such famous beer styles as porter, stout, brown ale and India pale ale. It is a story of innovation and growth, and ultimately of decline and homogenisation. This fully illustrated book explores the colourful and fascinating liquid history of brewing in the capital, from the glory years when the likes of Barclay Perkins, Charrington, Truman's and Whitbread were household names, through to the dark days of the 1970s and 1980s when the industry's decline looked terminal. But this is a story with a happy ending for, as Brewing in London reveals, the noble art of beer making is once again thriving in the capital as an ever-increasing number of micro and craft brewers have transformed the city into one of the most exciting beer destinations on the planet.
Soho and Fitzrovia are two of London's most vibrant and bohemian neighbourhoods. Divided geographically only by Oxford Street, they can both boast a fascinating and occasionally dark history. In this book, author Johnny Homer takes readers on an engaging tour of these areas. Today, Soho is at the centre of the capital's Theatreland and entertainments scene. Here are the theatres, shops, clubs and restaurants, together with the streets, squares and alleyways that bring the city to life during the day and at night. Soho has long been London's playground, a place of illicit pleasure, high and low culture, pubs, brothels and gangland feuds. It is a unique melting pot of cultures and influences, and the location of iconic places such as Carnaby Street, Ronnie Scott's jazz club, the Windmill Theatre and home to 'Private Eye' magazine. Fitzrovia is perhaps more refined; a district of fashion houses, advertising agencies and the BBC. Its history is fascinating and colourful. In the past it had a bohemian reputation, and was home to authors including Virginia Woolf and George Bernard Shaw. Discover more about famous residents and notable venues such as the Fitzroy Tavern, the UFO Club where Pink Floyd were the house band, and the landmark Post Office Tower. From Karl Marx to Mozart, Casanova to Jimi Hendrix, the inventor of television to the man who introduced the espresso machine into England, 'A-Z of Soho and Fitzrovia' offers an irreverent historical guide to London's liveliest locality. But be warned, once you enter you will never want to leave.
There are few more quintessentially English experiences than supping a pint of ale in a centuries-old public house, where the walls could tell you stories. The East End of London is awash with such places, remarkably so in some respects, given the destruction wreaked by the Great Fire of London, Second World War bombs and post-war planners. Some were around before Shakespeare; others are comparatively recent Victorian additions - but all have a fascinating story behind them. Journalist and broadcaster Johnny Homer traces the history of the East End's drinking establishments, taking in the landlords, notable characters, stories and a pint or two along the way. Well researched and beautifully illustrated, London's East End Pubs provides something for everyone, whether they live in this vibrant part of London or are visiting for the first time.
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