Tim Waterman

Landscape Studies, Food Studies, Utopian Studies

List of London Resources

by Tim-Waterman on October 21, 2021, no comments

This list has been created thanks to a call to Twitter to identify great resources for studying London landscape, architecture, and urbanism. I’m posting it here raw, and will clean it up and develop it as a live document.

Film & TV

15 Storeys High (BBC sitcom 1998-2000) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/15_Storeys_High

All That Mighty Heart (R.K. Neilson-Baxter 1962) ‘A British Transport Film’ A day in the life of London and the Home Counties in 1962, seen from the perspective of the use of London Transport facilities from buses and tubes to long distance coach routes. Accompanied by extracts from BBC radio. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIgORp3Rvuc&ab_channel=JoanneHarris

An American Werewolf in London (John Landis 1981) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082010/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

The Angel Who Pawned Her Harp (Alan Bromly 1954) Shot at the Angel in Islington and in Haringey. “An angel finds that she needs money to fulfill her mission on Earth. Her only solution to this problem is to pawn her harp.“–IMDB https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047830/ 

The Arsenal Stadium Mystery (Thorold Dickinson 1939) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0031055/

Babylon (Franco Rosso 1982) The black experience in the UK in the 80s, reggae, sound system culture, family drama, police brutality and much more. Best film ever.

Beautiful Thing (Hettie MacDonald 1996) Gay coming of age story set in the Brutalist housing estate of Thamesmead.

Bend it Like Beckham (Gurinder Chadha 2002) Filmed in Hounslow, Hayes, and Southall. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0286499/

Les Bicyclettes de Belsize (Douglas Hickox 1968) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0241243/

Blow-Up (Michelangelo Antonioni 1966)

The Blue Lamp (Basil Dearden 1950) Fantastic views of Harrow Road and Warwick Avenue/ Maida Hill area. See the blog ‘The Blue Lamp Then and Now.’

Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón 2006) Post-apocalyptic London in 2027 (we’re almost there) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0206634/

A City Crowned with Green (Reyner Banham 1964) Watch it here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p00sydsh/a-city-crowned-with-green

A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick 1971) Scenes shot in Thamesmead

Deep End (Jerzy Skolimowski 1970) “15-year-old dropout Mike takes a job at Newford Baths, where inappropriate sexual behaviour abounds, and becomes obsessed with his coworker Susan.” –IMDB https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066122/

Desmond’s (Channel 4 sitcom 1989-1994) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desmond%27s

East Meets West (Herbert Mason 1936) “The son of a wealthy and powerful sultan is carrying on an affair with the wife of an infamous criminal. The father determines to end the affair, erase the shame of his son and bring the criminal to justice.” –IMDB https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0027563/

Festival in London (Philip Leacock 1951) Watch the film about the 1951 Festival in the National Archives collection here: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/films/1945to1951/filmpage_fil.htm

Finisterre: A Film About London (Saint Etienne, 2005)

Free Cinema (BFI Box Set)

Gideon’s Way (TV Series)

Heart of the Angel – Mollie Dineen doc about Angel station. Really good, acclaimed documentary and maker

High Hopes (Mike Leigh 1988)

High Rise

“Hue and Cry” a 1947 Ealing comedy about children solving a heist, shot on location in a bombed out City/East End

I Love This Dirty Town (1969)

It Always Rains on Sunday 47

The Ladykillers 55

Lavender Hill Mob 51

The Lodger 27

London, Robinson in Space, and Robinson in Ruins

London Babylon 09

London Fields (Matthew Cullen 2018)

The London Nobody Knows (Norman Cohen 1969) With James Mason. Watch here: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5h8w0mA 45-minute trippy documentary of late 1960’s London and is a fascinating time capsule of the remnants of a bygone age before Londons’s extensive redevelopment in the late 1960’s.” –IMDB https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061914/

London’s Green Heritage (1948) https://www.londonsscreenarchives.org.uk/title/1093/
London Symphony 17
London: The Modern Babylon (Julien Temple, 2012).
The Long Good Friday 79

Melody (Waris Hussein 1971) https://www.reelstreets.com/films/melody-aka-swalk/

Metro land 73
Momma Don’t Allow This short film – ‘Momma Don’t Allow’ – by the late great Karel Reisz is a perfect rendition of working-class youth having a night out in 1950’s London – absolutely brilliant and should be more well known https://www2.bfi.org.uk/films-tv-people/4ce2b69e93c9d
My Beautiful Laundrette 85 Particular interesting in relation to nine elms development/what has been lost
Naked Mike Leigh dir.
Night and the City 50
Notting Hill
The Old Kent Road 2014
Oliver! (sets showing historic London wharfs)
Omnibus: The River Bob Hoskins and Barry Norman – the reality of Redevelopment “makes the Long Good Friday look like a story out of Winnie the Pooh”

Only Fools and Horses (sitcom)
Ours to keep 85
Paddington Just watched ‘Paddington’ with my 7 year old – very cute, in a good way, staring role for Waterhouse Natural History Museum.
A Palace for Us Lots of good answers have gone but I’d also recommend A Palace For Us by Tom Hunter a short film about the lives of residents of Woodberry Down Estate in Hackney, East London https://serpentinegalleries.org/whats-on/a-pal
Passport to Pimlico 49
The Pedway: Elevating London
Peeping Tom 60
Piccadilly (E.A. Dupont 1929)
Pool of London 50
Postcards from London 2018
Proud city 46
Radio On
Robbery 67
Rocks 2019 – snapshot of east London life from a teenage girl’s perspective – collaboratively made. Sarah Gavron, director. Her earlier films may also be of interest.
Sebastian (Dirk Bogarde & Susannah York) has some great scenes on the walkways in the City of London. Film is very uneven but watchable.
Shakespeare in Love
Sparrows Can’t Sing (Joan Littlewood 1963)
The Street (Zed Nelson 2019)
Streetwise 96
Thamesmead 1968 (Jack Saward-Greater London Council 1968) https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-thamesmead-1968-1968-online
This Other London John Rogers – This Other London (plus quite a lot of his YouTube channel)
To the World’s End https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0074ry7
Top People 60
Utopia London 2010
We Are the Lambeth Boys (Karel Reisz 1959) https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-we-are-the-lambeth-boys-1959-online
The Winstanley Plays Itself (Aileen Reed, avail on Vimeo)
Wonderland (1999) Michael Winterbottom, dir.

Ian Nairn’s CoI film on Churchill/Lillington Gardens; a moment perfectly caught.

London Film Resources: There is an excellent short series of Gresham College lectures – available at https://gresham.ac.uk/series/screening-london/- about London in film.
BFI Britain on Film map https://player.bfi.org.uk/britain-on-film/map#/54.69843416/-0.4924633970/6///


Aaronovitch, Ben Rivers of London

Amis, Martin London Fields
Ballard’s Crash and The Unlimited Dream Company
Baron, Alexander The Lowlife by Alexander Baron, set around #Hackney in the early 1960s. An all time favourite
Benson, Robert Hugh Lord of the World
Dickens, Charles Bleak House
Fitzgerald Offshore

Ford, Laura Grace Savage Messiah
Gaiman, Neil Neverwhere

Genn, Rachel The Cure
Gibson, William Peripheral

Gissing, George New Grub Street

Greene, Graham The Destructors “The Destructors”, a 1954 short story by Graham Greene: a gang of kids destroy – from the inside – a Christopher Wren house that survived The Blitz. https://ndsu.edu/pubweb/~cinichol/CreativeWriting/323/Graham%20Greene.htm I remember being shocked by the ITV film version of this in the 70s. Kind of prophetic re. London now.

Kureishi, Hanif The Buddha of Suburbia

Lanchester, John Capital
Laski, Marghanita ‘The Victorian Chaise Longue’.

Macauley, Rose The World My Wilderness
Mieville, China King Rat
Mieville, China Kraken
Moore, Alan & Eddie Campbell From Hell Apols if it’s already been said, but: From Hell by Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell (though not the colourised version and definitely not the movie)
Morrison, Arthur Child of the Jago
Morton, H.V.

Murdoch, Iris The Black Prince

Smith, Zadie White Teeth

Spark, Muriel The Girls of Slender Means
Wise, Sarah The Italian Boy


Abercrombie’s County of London Plan and Greater London Plan.
Abbott, Joshua A Guide to Modernism in Metro-Land
Ackroyd, Peter Hawksmoor
Ackroyd, Peter London: A Biography
Ackroyd, Peter London Under
Ackroyd, Peter Thames
Baker, Phil London city of Cities Lovely recently written book, London City of Cities, written by Phil Baker & published by Reaktion Lots of quirky and fascinating details.
Barker, Felix and Ralph Hyde London As It Might Have Been
Best, Anna Occasional Sights
Boughton, John Municipal Dreams good content about some London council estates including Pepys Estate
Branson, Noreen Poplarism, 1919-25: George Lansbury and the Councillors’ Revolt
Brunsdon, Charlotte London in Cinema: The Cinematic City Since 1945
Burke, Thomas The Outer Circle Rambles in Remote London
Chivers, Tom: London Clay – Journeys in the Deep City
Clarke, Linda Building Capitalism: Historical Change and the Labour Process in the Production of the Built Environment (also a history of Somers Town)
Davies, Matthew and James A Galloway Eds. London and Beyond: Essays in Honour of Derek Keene
Davies, Philip Lost London – 1870-1945 by Philip Davies. 500 beautifully preserved photographs of the vast swathes of London that were swept away in the name of ‘urban renewal’ and by the blitz.
Davies, Philip Panoramas of Lost London
Doré’s Engravings in London
Ford, Ford Madox The Soul of London
Gatrell, Vic The First Bohemians by Vic Gatrell
The Gentle Author The Creeping Plague of Ghastly Façadism
Glinert, Ed East End Chronicles
Glinert, Ed The London Compendium: A Street-by-Street Exploration of the Hidden Metropolis
Glinert, Ed West End Chronicles
Grindrod, John Outskirts
Hamilton, Patrick 20,000 Streets Under the Sky
Hatherley, Owen The Alternative Guide to the London Boroughs (Open House)
Hatherley, Owen Red Metropolis
Michael Hebbert: London, more by fortune than design. Out of print but argues that all Plans for London have failed & is gleeful about that. Neither liberal nor anarchist.
Hitchcock, Tim Down and Out in Eighteenth-Century London by Tim Hitchcock and
Jones’ Gareth Stedman Outcast London
Joyce, Patrick Joyce’s The Rule of Freedom: Liberalism and the Modern City!
Keiller, Patrick
Kerr and Gibson Punk to Blair v interesting if read in conjunction w Marshall Berman’s similar 2007 NYC compendium (the former miles better imho)
Khan-Ostrem, Nazneen: London – Immigrant City
Lessing, Doris Regent’s Park
Lichtenstein, Rachel On Brick Lane
Lichtenstein, Rachel Diamond Street Hatton Garden
Linebaugh Albion’s Fatal Tree and the London Hanged
Mack, Maynard For C18 context, I still like Maynard Mack’s The Garden and the City
Manning, Jane Complex City Have to plug the excellent book by my colleagues here: #ComplexCity published by @RIBABooks
Mayhew, Henry London Labour and the LondonPoor
Mayhew, Henry London’s Underworld
McInnes, Colin Absolute Beginners
Moorcock, Michael Mother London
Morton, H.V. In Search of London
Nairn, Ian. Nairn’s London
Nead, Lydia Victorian Babylon
Ogborne, Miles The Spaces of Modernity

Parker, Tony The People of Providence: A Housing Estate and some of its Inhabitants
Pepys, Samuel The Shorter Pepys
Phipps, Simon Brutal London
Pike David L. On underground spaces
Pope, Simon London Walking
Pritchett, V.S. London Perceived
Raban, Jonathan Soft City
Reeves, Maud Pember Round About a Pound a Week by Maud Pember Reeves. Chapter on housing. Lambeth, pre WW1. Riveting.
Roberts, Sam. Ghost Signs: A London Story
Rogers JohnA list which could go on for ever, but I’ll restrict myself to John Rogers’ This Other London, because I can’t see it elsewhere in the replies… funny, amenable, historically grounded walks through London’s less fashionable districts
Long, David Spectacular Vernacular: London’s 100 Most Extraordinary Buildings
Rogers, Pat Hacks and Dunces
Rutherford, Edward London
Sandhu, Sukhdev Night Haunts & London Calling – because London is not a white city, which most urban/architecture writers since forever seem to have missed
Schuler, C.J. The Wood That Built London
Sheppard, Francis London: A History
Sinclair, Iain Hackney That Rose Red Empire
Sinclair, Iain Lights Out for the Territory
Sinclair, Iain and Marc Atkins Liquid City
Sinclair, Iain, Ed. London, City of Disappearances – big anthology, lots of writers on people and things that were in London but are not there any more. Interesting, suitably melancholy premise- it’s quite a mix, lots of surprising/interesting bits
Sinclair, Iain London Overground: A Day’s Walk Around the Ginger Line
Spence, Martin The Making of a London Suburb: Capital Comes to Penge
Steel, Carolyn ‘Hungry City – How Food Shapes Our Lives’ by Carolyn Steel. Written by an architect and a very good insight into the energy / waste embedded in feeding a city population, and the environmental failings of urban planning infrastructure, logistics, vehicle dependency etc.
Summerson Georgian London
Thompson, F.M.L. Hampstead: Building a Borough
White, Gerry ‘London In The Nineteenth Century: ‘A Human Awful Wonder of God’ by Gerry White
White, Gerry The Worst Street in North London
Whitfield, Peter London: A Life in Maps
Wright, Patrick A Journey Through Ruins: The Last Days of London

London: The Photographic Atlas
London’s Lost Riverscape First to mind, I love London’s Lost Riverscape – what the banks of the Thames used to look like
The Inside Outside Book of London (for children)
Survey of London (all)
The Times London History Atlas


Booth’s surveys, obvs
The London County Council Bomb Damage Maps, 1939-1945.

Needs sorting:

Lonely !ondoners; Ipcress File; Call for the dead Le Carre plus Spy who came in from cold: Greengates RCSherriff; Angela Carter; Offshore Penelope Fitzgerald; Spencer Gore; Algernon Newton; Lavery
Performance takes you I think into (post-)Rachman Notting Hill, re which Shirley Green’s biography & Peter Flannery’s Singer are brilliant. Blow-up is still a unique sideways look at London landscapes. And there’s Ballard’s High Rise, and also Millennium People.
Up the Junction – book and film plus this from Survey of London made from film extracts including Poor Cow https://vimeo.com/102127150 The Winstanley plays itself by Aileen Reid; Child of the Jago ; New Grub Street; Riceyman Sreps; Angel Pavement Priestley London Childhood by Hughes
Fishman, 1888;Litvinoff, Journey Through a Small Planet; Nicholas Taylor, The Village in the City…
London Orbital by Iain Sinclair (and many others.) N1 by Zadie Smith and others.


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