‘The London Rich is crowded with vivid details and entertaining anecdotes, but it is also a serious work of scholarship. Thorold has mastered a treasure-house of material and presents it with lucidity and skill. London as a subject has hardly lacked for authors, but he has contrived to add to the existing library a book which is fresh in its ideas and delightful in its exposition.’
Philip Ziegler, Daily Telegraph
‘Charts in meticulous detail how the rich and their contractors set about engulfing pastures, market gardens, swamps, hunting country and hill villages, leaving their old palaces and mansions to be turned into tenements, schools or lunatic asylums, or to be pulled down for spoil... Thorold is never too occupied with population shifts and infillings to overlook the foibles of the times.’
London Review of Books
‘Peter Thorold has restricted his subject to the life of the rich in London from the Great Fire onwards, with enjoyable and curious results.’
Philip Hensher, Spectator
‘Thorold’s command of contemporary memoirs and other secondary sources makes for a lively spin on the efforts of London’s rich to mitigate the effects of the big stink.’
Clapham and Mayfair to Marylebone, much of the London we know today has been created by its richest inhabitants. After the Great Fire of 1666, a new London thrust out from its old confines of the City and the narrow precinct of Westminster.
The rich were eager to escape the pollution of the riverside, the overcrowding and the slums. They colonised the surrounding country villages and built over the cornfields and pasture and market gardens, claiming them as their own and dictating their character for centuries to come.
Where they went depended on who they were: different districts appealed to different groups. The partisans clustered in St James's and later in Belgravia to be near the Court; the colonials from the East and the West Indies settled Marylebone, convenient as it was for the City. The Jewish community chose Bayswater and Hampstead.
Peter Thorold's book reveals where the rich lived, why they moved from one district to another and what went on behind the doors of their magnificent houses. By examining the movement of the wealthy of London, Thorold illuminates the subtle but inexorable shaping of this great city.
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Peter Thorold was born in London and educated in the United States and Britain, reading history at New College, Oxford. His professional career was spent in the City as an insurance broker and as a director of a number of companies. He lives with his wife in London and in France.From Publishers Weekly:
London was destroyed in September 1666 by the Great Fire, but out of the ashes rose a glittering new city. Thorold, a London businessman and amateur historian, tells the story of the new London from the perspective of the elite, who spread out geographically after the fire to escape the density and pollution of the city. At its best, this book details not only where the rich moved (Jews headed to Hampstead and court sycophants settled in Belgravia), but what life in the new houses was like. For instance, Thorold introduces readers to Mary Coke, a widow who lived in north Kensington in the late 1700s; she intended Notting Hill House to be a refuge from the cruel world, but it became instead an endless headache (her neighbor snubbed her, her gardener was a lush and her servants spent more time feasting than working). But these droll snapshots of the lives of London's rich and famous are few and far between. Too often this book is merely a list of who lived where: in only one paragraph on "migration to the North," for example, we learn that, among others, The Holmes, a house built in 1818, was occupied by the Burton family, that St John's Lodge "was tenanted" by a Jewish banker, that vintner George Bishop owned South Villa and that MP and scientist George Bellas Greenough built Grove House. Die-hard Anglophiles will love learning about the development of particular streets and neighborhoods, but for others, Thorold never tells enough about either the residents or the houses to generate high interest. Reading this is more like studying a phone book than enjoying a society column. Still, color plates as well as b&w illustrations of interiors and exteriors of the houses discussed make this an attractive package for those interested in architecture or interior design. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Softcover. Good binding and cover. Clean, unmarked pages. Ships daily. Bookseller Inventory # 1509030012