The Annals of London: A Year-by-Year Record of a Thousand Years of History

  • Publish Date: 2000-09-04
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Author: John Richardson
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One of the world's greatest cities, the vast metropolis of twentieth-century London began in ad 43 when Aulius Plautius led the second invasion from Richborough to defeat the local army on the banks of the Thames. The victors then created a Roman settlement and established themselves on the river. They developed the city with a southern defense work (Southwark), and the settlement prospered as the preeminent trading base linking Britain to Europe and the Near East. The city's expansion through the invasions of the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings serves as a background for the first of the almanac entries, 1065, which sees the consecration of Edward the Confessor's Abbey at Westminster, shortly before the king's own burial in his new church.

The first appearance and gradual evolution of roads, buildings, and landmarks is set in the context of the ebb and flow of history through the capital's streets and rivers: from the local (the 1665 outbreak of plague, where the healthy were incarcerated with the sick to avoid further infection, and the spread of the great fire that decimated much of the city the following year) to the politically significant (the execution of the king in 1649 outside Inigo Jones's banqueting house, whose building in 1619 is also described).

The sweep of this book is vast and its detail magnificent. Disasters, innovations, and everyday events relating to politics, society, pageantry, the arts, religion, and industry are revealed to display the wide spectrum of London life. Year by year, from 1065 to the present day, events that have shaped the London we know are brought vividly to life by John Richardson's informative text, which is supported by an extraordinary and eclectic collection of historical illustrations.