Brit Book Reviews: Discovering London’s Docklands by Chris Fautley

Maritime trade made London what it is today the problem is that maritime trade has nothing to do with modern London. In the 1980’s this led to dereliction and then subsequent regeneration of London’s Docks on the east end of London. This history is something that Chris Fautley explores in Discovering London’s Docklands.

The Docklands are an area of London that fascinates me – it’s an area with a history that goes back hundred of years with a rich history that is also now home to an almost ‘new city’ in London.

In Discovering London’s Dockland’s, Christ Fautley, explore this rich history, much of it that hasn’t actually been concreted over during the regeneration. For the careful eye, there’s much to see.

I’m very glad to see that this book is not an elegy for a long-lost area of London – instead it’s an exploration of its past and modern history which treats both equally. It’s refreshing to read a London history book that doesn’t mourn the loss of a nonexistent past.

The format of this book is small – it can fit in a back pocket. And while it’s not strictly a guidebook, you can carry it around with you while exploring the Docklands and follow Chris as he takes you on a journey through the area.

The writing is engaging and easy to read – with plenty of historical anecdotes and ample pictures to show how the Docklands have changed in the last 30 years. The only thing that’s missing is a more thorough narrative of the regeneration of the Docklands – which could be a whole book in itself – you know a description of the cast of characters of people responsible for the redevelopment.

If you recently got interested in the East End thanks to the BBC’s hit new show Call the Midwife (which takes place in this area and you’ll recognize some of the places pictured) then this will be an interesting read for those that want some more historical background.

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