A wonderful collection of authentic, colourful stories of life in the heart of London's East End, selected from the popular blog Spitalfields Life.
"I am going to write every single day and tell you about my life here in Spitalfields at the heart of London..."
Drawing comparisons with Pepys, Mayhew and Dickens, the gentle author of Spitalfields Life has gained an extraordinary following in recent years, by writing hundreds of lively pen portraits of the infinite variety of people who live and work in the East End of London.
Everything you seek in London can be found here - street life, street art, markets, diverse food, immigrant culture, ancient houses and history, pageants and parades, rituals and customs, traditional trades and old family businesses.
Spend a night in the bakery at St John, ride the rounds with the Spitalfields milkman, drop in to the Golden Heart for a pint, meet a fourth-generation paper bag seller, a mudlark who discovers treasure in the river Thames, a window cleaner who sees ghosts and a master bell-founder whose business started in 1570. Join the bunny girls for their annual reunion, visit the wax sellers of Wentworth Street and discover the site of Shakespeare's first theatre.
All of human life is here in Spitalfields Life.
Sam Johnson would have said, "If you aren't reading Spitalfields Life, you are tired of life, " etc. It's wondrous. - Twitter @ Skdadl
If someone created a local blogs award ceremony, Spitalfields Life would sweep the nominations list like the King's Speech. We'd certainly select it for best blog, best interviews and best (relative) newcomer. The format is simple, but done with panache. Every single day, the 'gentle author' tracks down a fascinating local character for an interview and photo shoot. Just in the past three days we've had a foam merchant, a man with 330-year-old wallpaper, and a selection of clowns at the annual Grimaldi service. Whatever next? - The Londonist
Lovingly drawn portraits of remarkable, ordinary folk . . . a towering achievement . . . SPITALFIELDS LIFE is undoubtedly a significant work of social history - Guardian
My London book of the year. . . A quite beautiful design from Saltyard Books. . . East End life tumbles from these pages in truly Chaucerian abundance. . . Each interviewee fits a piece into the magnificent mosaic. As a result of this painstaking work of listening, shaping and explaining, comments the Gentle Author, "the city has become a more human place for me". It will for every reader too - Independent
Following in the footsteps of Dickens, Pepys and Orwell, the author blends history with interviews in a series of short pen portraits . . . An elegantly presented, generous and good-natured book, it offers an antidote to the sense of disconnection a big city such as London can engender. A city is its people and here they are celebrated in a way that will resonate beyond the East End - Financial Times Weekend
For a unique insight into everyday life in the East End, let blogger The Gentle Author take you on a journey into Spitalfields' street life, art, markets, houses and culture . . . A treasure trove - Evening Standard ES magazine
These wonderful stories shine anew in an attractive, beautifully illustrated book format. We can't recommend it highly enough - Londonist
This fine collection includes many memorable episodes on the history and heritage of the area, and many colourful characters such as a rhyme collector, street artist, rapper, mudlark and a master bell founder - The Times