resources: best london websites
Some ofher London websites we strongly recommend:
Classic Cafes. This richly illustrated website describes itself as a seriously senimental celebration of the classic Italian-styled Formica cafe/coffee bar dating from the mid 20th century. As the UK emerged from World War II economically crippled and facing the collapse of social certainties, the caffs became forcing houses for the cultural advance guard coursing through London.
Derelict London. Paul Talling's hymn to dilapidated and derelict buildings around London. Interesting but decayed buildings which Talling has photographed while walking around London. Organises in categories including Factories & Warehouses, Public Pools & Baths, Cinemas & Theatres, and Porticos & Pillars. Also features photos of abandoned cars, boats, and shopping trolleys.
Dotmaker Tours. Although not free, we would highly recommend these imaginative and original walking tours of London, led by Rosie Oliver and Cathy Haynes. You might find yourself awed by judges at the Royal Courts of Justice, revelling in reflected sounds from the bells of St. Paul's Cathedral, or marvelling at methods of transforming London's dust.
East London History. Malcolm Oakley's detailed and affectionate website charts the history of the East End of London. It is richly illustrated with interesting photographs, including archival photographs of the East End during World War II. Nearly 100 articles are grouped into East End History, East End Locations, and East End People.
Friends of the City Churches. An architectural heritage charity dedicated to preserving the fine churches to be found within the square mile of the City of London. The charity encourages a wider appreciation of these churches, publicises opening hours, organises special events, and encourages extended use of the City's churches.
Hidden London. Originally based on Chambers London Gazeteer, and now in its 13th year, the Hidden London website now has articles on more than 750 London localities. Each article includes a map and at least one photograph. The website is researched, written and (mostly) photographed by author Russ Willey. Willey worked in advertising and marketing before embarking on career as a writer.
IanVisits. This highly informative blog about London is written by Ian Mansfield. He writes about London's heritage, transport, architecture, and offbeat geeky events. The more obscure the better. He has no interest in fashion, clothing, and pop-up shops. The website includes a comprehensive daily calendar of talks in London, many of which are free.
London Architecture Diary. A monthly online guide to architectural exhibitions and events across London. Launched in 2005 and published by New London Architecture. Produced in collaboration with London museums, galleries, and architecture schools. Includes editor's recommendations.
London Architecture Guide. An app by the Architecture Foundation which illustrates and describes more than 1000 historic and modern London buildings. Commentary by architecture critics Edward Jones and Christopher Woodward. Searchable by location, period, type, and architect. Currently available only on Iphone; Android version expected during 2018.
London Details. A blog, written under the pseudonym Baldwin Hamey, with numerous articles illustrating and describing obscure but interesting places, buildings, and memorials in London. The articles are based on thorough historical research. They are highly informtive, and paint a vivid picture of London's intricate social history.
London Helicopter Map. A map showing the locations of unusual events in the history of London. These include the intrusion into the Queen's bedroom of 1838, the 1978 assassination of the Iraqi Prime Minister, and the 1985 escape of Goldie the eagle from London Zoo. Produced by London Helicopter, who offer helicopter tours of London.
London Historians. A club, founded by Mike Paterson in 2010, for professional and amateur historians of London. Arranges monthly meet-ups in the upstairs room of the Hoope and Grapes in Farringdon. All are welcome, not just members of London Historians. Organises member tours to places of interest.
Londonist. This website, published by Londonist Ltd, gives lively and comprehensive coverage of news, reviews, events and of the history and future of London. It aims to provide everything you need to know about London, as well as celebrating the quirks, eccentricities, hidden and surprising bits that make up the alternative side of the city.
London Neighbourhood Guide by Airbnb. An illustrated online guide to 48 London neighbourhoods. For each neighbourhood there is a map, an account of its history, and numerous excellent photos of streets, buildings, interesting shops, art galleries, and museums. This leads to examples of rentable properties in the neighbourhood.
London Net. A website, founded in 1996, that covers what's on in London, with a particular focus on cinema. Also coverage of clubs, music, theatre, and going out. Produced by brothers Peter Clee (publisher) and David Clee (editor).
London Pavement Geology. This website, the work of retired oil and gas geologist Dave Wallis and Ruth Siddall of University College London, records and illustrates hundreds of stones and rocks to be found in more than 1500 buildings and pavements of London. Includes an interactive map showing the locations of the specimens.
London Remembers. Published by a group of London enthusiasts, this website aims to document all the memorials in London. These include plaques, monuments, statues, and fountains. The searchable and illustrated database contains records of more than 57,000 subjects on over 5,000 memorials. The locations are shown on an interactive map.
London's Lost Landmarks. The Time Out website lists, illustrates, and describes twelve lost landmarks of London. They include the Euston Arch, Holland House, The Skylon, and the Dome of Discovery. Some were the victims of fire, others of bombing in World War II. Some fell victim to more recent re-developments.
London's Lost Rivers. Paul Talling's informative and well illustrated website on more than thirty rivers that now run under London. The website is based on Talling's book on the subject. The rivers include the River Westbourne, River Tyburn, River Fleet, River Walbrook, River Effra, Bollo Brook, Stamford Brook and Parr's Ditch. Talling also leads walks around London's Lost Rivers.
Spitalfields Life. Written under the pen name The Gentle Author, this website contains more than 3,000 articles and 35,000 photographs about east London. It is an extraordinary achievement, with vivid and affectionate writing, and beautiful photographs. It brings to life not only the places, but also the people who live in this richly historic part of London.
Theatre London. A guide to the more than 200 permanent theatres that make London the biggest theatre city in the world. A description of each and a what's on listing. Covers West End musicals, fringe productions, street theatre, interactive shows, experimental productions, ballet, dance and opera. Produced by London & Partners, the official promotional body for London.
The London Ambler. Although not free, we would strongly recommend these walking tours of London, led by Mike Althorpe. He is an urban historian, architectural researcher, and story teller with a passion for the history, streets and buildings of London. Each tour covers the urban history of a district of London, such as the City, Canary Wharf, or Mayfair.
The Londonphile. An affectionate and informative blog (written from 2011 to 2014) about the heritage, architecture, museums, art and history of London - especially the quirky. The articles are detailed, and are illustrated with excellent images. A intriguing collection of London's more idiosyncratic days out.
The London Society. The society was founded in 1912 by a group of eminent Londoners, including Edwin Lutyens, Raymond Unwin, and Aston Webb, who were conerned about the lack of planning in the capital. It organised meetings to discuss housing, roads, railways and bridges. It continues to provide a programme of public lectures, tours and member events.
Things to do in London. An online guide, launched in 2019, to things to do in various districts of London. The content is provided by contributing writers who know London well. The districts covered include Camden, Soho, Greenwich and Richmond.
Trees of London. A website, written by James Wilkinson, which illustrates and identifies trees in seven areas of London which are particularly rich in interesting trees. The areas include Lincoln's Inn, Euston, The Tower of London, Russell Square, and the Inns of Court. The website aims to help Londoners identify the trees around them.
Vauxhall, the Oval and Kennington. A website, published by local resident Martin Stanley, covering the history of this area of London, with a guide to interesting places and a listing of free events. Martin Stanley, a retired senior civil servant and regulator, publishes several websites including www.andersonshelters.org.uk about World War II Anderson Shelters.
Walthamstow Matresses. A website by prankster Warpdog which celebrates and promotes the widespread presence of abandoned mattresses in Walthamstow. The most striking section of the website presents photos of celebrities who look uncannily like a particular abandoned mattress. Calendars, postcards and fridge magnets for sale online.