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Spitalfields Life: In the midst of life I woke to find myself living in an old house beside Brick Lane in the East End of London


Spitalfields Life: In the midst of life I woke to find myself living in an old house beside Brick Lane in the East End of London

3.3 (3248)

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    Available in PDF Format | Spitalfields Life: In the midst of life I woke to find myself living in an old house beside Brick Lane in the East End of London.pdf | English
    The Gentle Author(Author)

"I am going to write every single day and tell you about my life here in Spitalfields at the heart of London..."

Drawing comparisons with Pepys, Mayhew and Dickens, the gentle author of Spitalfields Life has gained an extraordinary following in recent years, by writing hundreds of lively pen portraits of the infinite variety of people who live and work in the East End of London.

Everything you seek in London can be found here - street life, street art, markets, diverse food, immigrant culture, ancient houses and history, pageants and parades, rituals and customs, traditional trades and old family businesses.

Spend a night in the bakery at St John, ride the rounds with the Spitalfields milkman, drop in to the Golden Heart for a pint, meet a fourth-generation paper bag seller, a mudlark who discovers treasure in the river Thames, a window cleaner who sees ghosts and a master bell-founder whose business started in 1570. Join the bunny girls for their annual reunion, visit the wax sellers of Wentworth Street and discover the site of Shakespeare's first theatre.

All of human life is here in Spitalfields Life.

Sam Johnson would have said, "If you aren't reading Spitalfields Life, you are tired of life, " etc. It's wondrous. (Twitter @ Skdadl)If someone created a local blogs award ceremony, Spitalfields Life would sweep the nominations list like the King's Speech. We'd certainly select it for best blog, best interviews and best (relative) newcomer. The format is simple, but done with panache. Every single day, the 'gentle author' tracks down a fascinating local character for an interview and photo shoot. Just in the past three days we've had a foam merchant, a man with 330-year-old wallpaper, and a selection of clowns at the annual Grimaldi service. Whatever next? (The Londonist)Lovingly drawn portraits of remarkable, ordinary folk . . . a towering achievement . . . SPITALFIELDS LIFE is undoubtedly a significant work of social history (Guardian)My London book of the year. . . A quite beautiful design from Saltyard Books. . . East End life tumbles from these pages in truly Chaucerian abundance. . . Each interviewee fits a piece into the magnificent mosaic. As a result of this painstaking work of listening, shaping and explaining, comments the Gentle Author, "the city has become a more human place for me". It will for every reader too (Independent)Following in the footsteps of Dickens, Pepys and Orwell, the author blends history with interviews in a series of short pen portraits . . . An elegantly presented, generous and good-natured book, it offers an antidote to the sense of disconnection a big city such as London can engender. A city is its people and here they are celebrated in a way that will resonate beyond the East End (Financial Times Weekend)For a unique insight into everyday life in the East End, let blogger The Gentle Author take you on a journey into Spitalfields' street life, art, markets, houses and culture . . . A treasure trove (Evening Standard ES magazine)These wonderful stories shine anew in an attractive, beautifully illustrated book format. We can't recommend it highly enough (Londonist)This fine collection includes many memorable episodes on the history and heritage of the area, and many colourful characters such as a rhyme collector, street artist, rapper, mudlark and a master bell founder (The Times)For the brief time of reading, one steps into the skin of the subject, and inhabits them. Inherits them, perhaps. (Evening Standard)SPITALFIELDS LIFE points you to London's hidden gems (Stylist)Charming yarns and fascinating nuggets of local history . . . there's plenty to admire in this endearing, beautifully illustrated volume (Time Out)A lovely book . . . A celebration of London life in all its unpredictable quirkiness, a paean to what the Gentle Author sees as Londoners' defining feature - their resourcefulness . . . They are given a fitting memorial in these eloquent pages (Times Literary Supplement)Beguiling . . . follows in the tradition of Pepys or Dickens in its attention to the lively diversity of the city (The Lady)A thing of sheer wonder, and I don't know where to start with all the things I love about it . . . By celebrating the extraordinary things that make this area special it must be hoped The Gentle Author will help protect them. And the sumptuous prose is accompanied by some stunning visuals. . . All in all it's a joy to hold, a joy to read and a joy to look at. (It's Nice That)A joy to read, whether you know Spitalfields or not . . . It's not for nothing that the author's observational skills and ability to convey them to the reader have led some to liken them to Pepys and Dickens . . . Some places have a heart and a soul, a special something, and if it touches you it will grip you and hold you and captivate you. Spitalfields is such a place . . . An unusual book that's pure joy, a tribute to life (We Love This Book)Every once in a while a book just takes my breath away. . . Spitalfields Life is evidence, were it needed, that though it is all there and free to read online, there is still something very special about the book in the hand, especially when it is a work of art in its own right ( Gentle Author builds up a convincing picture of urban life below the radar of the urban sociologist . . . His accounts should be enjoyed (as they are intended to be) as relics of ordinary lives, demonstrating how the ordinary is so often extraordinary on close inspection (Spectator)A whole piece of London is here, ghosts of Spitalfields' past haunting the vibrant present. It is unlike any other book. (Susan Hill, Spectator Books of the Year)In an Olympic year awash with books about London, no work came close to the eccentric charm and warmth on offer in Spitalfields Life by the anonymous "Gentle Author". This deadpan blogger's encounters with East Enders old and new, now transformed into a sumptuous volume, built into an irresistible group portrait of modern metropolitans and their overlapping histories... rather like WG Sebald (Boyd Tonkin, The Independent)

3.2 (7378)
  • Pdf

*An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Formats for this Ebook

Required Software Any PDF Reader, Apple Preview
Supported Devices Windows PC/PocketPC, Mac OS, Linux OS, Apple iPhone/iPod Touch.
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Flowing Text / Pages Pages
Printable? Yes

Book details

  • PDF | 448 pages
  • The Gentle Author(Author)
  • Saltyard Books; First Edition edition (1 Mar. 2012)
  • English
  • 3
  • Society, Politics & Philosophy
Read online or download a free book: Spitalfields Life: In the midst of life I woke to find myself living in an old house beside Brick Lane in the East End of London

Review Text

  • By Ziggi on 26 April 2017

    An extremely interesting book, about a part of London rapidly being swallowed up and lost oreverAn extremely interesting book about a part of London that is rapidly being swallowed up and lost for ever

  • By Mrs. Joy Milligan on 15 September 2017

    Oh I wish I could have a cup of tea with The Gentle Author - a wonderful book to dip in and out of

  • By elinor renfrew on 21 August 2017

    Books arrived as advised and very well packed

  • By Lewis on 12 June 2012

    I've been a fan of the Gentle Author's blog for a while now, so was delighted to see how beautifully it translates to book form. Spitalfields Life is a love letter to many things: to pubs heavy with the memories of smoke and violence; to the transformative power of graffiti; to fresh beigels at any hour of a freezing night; to the unexpected pleasures of urban flora and fauna; to sad-eyed guardians of vanishing arts and to bright-eyed entrepreneurs brimming with innovations. It teems with life and vitality, and the book itself is an absolute work of art that reflects the area's own vibrant traditions. A book to treasure, and a book to give to friends, family and strangers alike.

  • By Penny Lane on 13 February 2015

    Superb magnum opus by The Gentle Author which brings us glimpses of a huge variety of peoples, their daily activities and work in and around Spitalfields. The sheer scope of life is breathtaking. All London is there. Characters, then old, new and dying skills and trades are introduced to the reader in over 400 pages. Her/his skill is in the sketches and immediacy in which we get to meet these Londoners. Our city is full of life and bustling streets, but in modern times, it's an almost ceaseless flow of people going and coming. A world of passing strangers, always on the move and at speed. Life around the city's big markets still retains some of the old constancies of the regulars; the vendors, the customers, the quirky, the philosophers... all create the vibrancy of life in these places. The cohesion of familiarity among the people we meet is very powerful.A book which slows us down in revealing the people around us, as we all speed up to hurry past the people we now encounter daily on the street. Best book discovery of last year.

  • By Lavender girl on 18 April 2012

    Having been a huge fan and visitor to this area of London for many years, despite living in Wales, recently discovered this book and can't recommend enough. Subscribe on the website for daily updates and plan a visit. Whoever the gentle author is, this is a well written book for lovers of London and social history

  • By Jo-Anna on 12 April 2012

    This book is beautiful. I haven't read it all yet but have flicked through looking at the photos and briefing over the people who have been chosen to feature in the book. If you are a people person and like to learn about local areas and lives then this is definitely for you. It has taught me a thing or to about the history of Spitalfields and has brought to light many places I now want to go and see for myself!

  • By Niggle on 21 February 2013

    This is a fantastic read. Not really knowing the area apart from the walk from Liverpool st station to Rough Trade Records in the old Truman brewery via the regenerated Spitalfield market. This book really brings the whole area to life with all it's interesting facts about the people and places that make it one of the most fascinating areas of London.It is written really well, you just want to carry on and find out more, This book is not as boring as it may sound, far from it!!

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