The London Nobody Knows

I've been reading an excellent book recently. I found it in the gutter, thrown out as part of a full house clearance [presumably after a death], and along with copies of a few Neville Shute paperbacks, I picked it up, intrigued by the title: The London Nobody Knows, by Geoffrey Fletcher.

First published in 1962, my copy is the Penguin [first?] edition, from 1965. It's remit is the seedy downtrodden side of the capital, and includes anything from old market halls to public conveniences and victorian gas lamps. Camden Town is covered extensively, as is the East End Commercial Road, and the old Dock areas of Rotherhythe and Greenwich. Illustrations, by Fletcher, feature throughout, of churches, pubs, music halls and old cafeterias.

On further research I discovered that the book was developed into a BBC documentary, first screened in 1967, [titled 'The London Nobody Knows'], and fronted by none other than James Mason, the actor.

The author, Geoffrey Fletcher, was an artist journalist, making his name with regular columns in newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times and The Times Literary Supplement. He loved the passing visions of London, perhaps more apparent to the outsider who comes to settle there: he was from Bolton, Lancashire.

Apparently, the group St Etienne are fans, Bob Stanley waxes lyrical for this Guardian piece from 2003. The group screened the documentary, along with their own film, at a show in the Barbican that year.

Some other books by Geoffrey Fletcher include:
Town's Eye View
City Sights
London Overlooked [illustration example]
London's River
Pearly Kingdom
a comprehensive list of his books, and another, not all available.


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