No London neighbourhood more resembles the restless downstream tide of the Thames than the ragged square mile of Soho. Ask the people who live there, like Christine Yardley, drag queen by night & grey-suited accountant by day; or Len Gates, self-appointed Soho historian & bore; or Jenny Wise, former starlet & now resident lush in the New Kismet club…

  Down into this human rabbit warren one evening slips Alex Singer, a student from Leeds in pursuit of his … More

It is a book about East End boys & West End girls, bed-sit land & dockland, the homeless & the homesick, immigrants & emigrants. All human life is here – high-minded Hampstead & boozy Fitzrovia, the Jewish East End, intellectual Bloomsbury & Chinese Limehouse, Black London, Asian London, Irish London, Gay London…

Andrew Whitehead on The Nether World by George Gissing Andrew Lane on The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle … More

Hamilton’s third novel takes its name from a toy theatre & constructs a between-the-wars stage set of dreary provincial fleapit & transient West End glitter from personal experience of a profession that would dazzle, exhault & thwart him. The story of awkward ingénue Jackie begins, as did Hamilton, in Hove, from where she persues her dream to West Kensington, future backdrop of the author’s greatest dramas

Jackie’s fate is set as she steps on the train and meets Richard, a seasoned actor who will become her … More

Rosie Hogarth is about one such little hive in the years immediately after the Second World War. Lamb Street is a respectable, inward looking working class enclave in south Islington, close to the Angel & to Chapel Market. The novel stands out for its profound sense of place. But alongside the warmth of community is the chill of exclusion.

The ‘man or woman who tries to settle in London without gaining admission to one of these communities’, Baron writes … More

This is London’s East End in the 1940s – polyglot, violent, poor. We visit ‘the local’, the blitz & an all-day wedding feast. A vibrant area, but for Jimmy despair awaits when even his father steals from him. And how will Pinkie get on in these changing times? London E1 is introduced by Rachel Lichtenstien.

On the back cover of the first edition of Robert Poole’s long-forgotten first, and only, published novel, London E1 (Secker … More