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Colours of London : A History

"London is a city of colour, it always has been, and Peter Ackroyd’s Colours of London celebrates this wonderfully"

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Peter Ackroyd’s Colours of London is a history book like no other. Often referred to by reviewers as "The Dickens of our day”, Ackroyd is an expert on the capital and since his first novel The Great Fire of London he has continued to establish his credentials as the leading historian and author on this subject.

With this latest book however, he is looking through an entirely different lens, and rather than focus on specific moments in time or areas of the city, has instead chosen a number of colours which he feels tell their own stories of London.

On first picking the book up and seeing the chapter list - White, Blue, Gold, Green etc - I was at first a little perplexed about where this was going. However, I’m delighted to say he pulls it out of the bag, and by some act of writing magic his list of colours provides a logical cohesion to the history of London. More importantly it brings history to life, and does so with a vibrancy only previously achieved through the works of artists such as Monet and Turner. Throughout the books there are colourized photographs which are key to making the whole idea work. What used to be a black and white city can now be seen as if photographed today. The buses were indeed red, the parks green and its splendid architectural ornamentation glittered gold.

Of course we knew this, but seeing it is an entirely different thing. London is a city of colour, it always has been, and Peter Ackroyd’s Colours of London celebrates this wonderfully.

Greg Hackett

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