In search of London

by H. V. Morton

Hardcover, 1951




New York, Dodd, Mead [1951]


H. V. Morton turns his traveler's intuition and his reporter's eye for detail to the city that has fascinated him since childhood--London past, present, and timeless. He explores the City and the Temple, Covent Garden, SoHo, and all the "submerged villages beneath the flood of bricks and mortar," uncovering layer upon layer of London's history. Morton follows the thread of imagination back and forth across the city, tracing unforgettable scenes: the Emperor Claudius leading his war elephants across the Thames. . .the grisly executions at the Tower. . .the world of Shakespeare, Dickens, and Queen Victoria. . .and the shattered yet defiant city of the Blitz as well as the postwar London of "ruins and hatless crowds." Morton's quest for London's heart reveals how its daily life is rooted in a past that is closer and more familiar than we might think, making the book as informative, entertaining, and rich in human color today as when it was written fifty years ago.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member John_Vaughan
Whenever I (re)read anything by Morton I am always astounded – and thoroughly enjoy – his scholarship. And his casual, amazing access to people and places that most of the rest of us are disbarred from, by reason of upbringing (class?) and security. An early broadcaster with the BBC (British Broadcasting Company) and newspaper editor and journalist Morton became one of the most published and celebrated of the English ”travel writers”, writing books and broadcasting pieces that were perhaps most popularly reflected in his series on the lands and characters from the Christian religion ( In the Steps of The Master, … of Saint Paul, Lands of the Bible). Whilst I have read none of those I seemed to have acquired most of his other series; the In Search of.. and enjoyed the reading and rereading of these travels, wanderings and historical musings on London, England, Wales, Scotland, Italy and his ardent love affair with Ireland.
He can, in just one paragraph, combine references to the architecture of Rome, the divergent and contentious religions, the monarchy and the generosity of ordinary people from history … all before the ease of the internet research of our time.
In his apparently casual (and therefore deceptive) strolling around his usual daily haunts of London he brings the historical character of this great city alive for our enjoyment. A book to be carried in the travel bag, referenced before a visit and read with deeper understanding after, this affectionate work is a treasure.
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LibraryThing member imyril
Fascinating glimpse of a vanishing London, detailing the history and the post-war state of the bomb-ravaged capital. Beautifully written, endlessly erudite, and full of interesting nuggets for even a long-time resident of the city. An excellent read.


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