I love “Travel guide to London through time” by Doctor Matthew Green because it enables me to travel while being at home. Non only I get to go to London, but also to London through different periods of time.
I actually bought it at the Shakespeare Globe in London. I discovered later in the book that the theater is actually just a replica and is not exactly at the same location of where the “real” one used to be.
It is so well described (sounds, smells, everything!) you feel like you are there, living the life of the time you are traveling to.
Extract from the Shakespearean period when “Tabacco houses” were thought being good for health:
As you whisk open the curtains, prepare to be lost in a world of smoke. Through watery eyes you’ll make out a small row of respectable smokers in ruffs and floppy hats sitting behind a table propped up by barrels of tobacco. The customers should be friendly enough and might even shoot a quick “God save you, sir” as you take a seat on a spare stool.
You get to experience Shakespearean London, Medieval London, 1665 plague-struck London, or Victorian London, among others.
It is so interesting to get the feeling of everyday life from all these periods of time but also discover the architecture of the houses or buildings that no longer exist or peculiar customs in place or incredible events taking place at these times.
I guess if you live in London or go there on vacation, you can go to these particular spots and see for yourself, or if you are super passionate like me, you can check the streets with Google maps. I have been to London lots of times so it was not that difficult for me to know the places he meant. In any case, if you are not able to travel, this book makes you travel from home.
It’s easier to get into if you have been to London before, but not necessary. But besides the geography, you get to learn the history of the city through wonderful and unusual stories. I recommend it warmly.