Derelict London

Paul Talling, Random House, £9.99

Compelling and depressing in equal quantities, Derelict London is a must-own for any fan of London Now – and downright hardcore pornography for salivating developers.

A wonderful example of a print publication coming out of a website, if you don’t already know then you need to aquaint yourself with it pronto. A fabulous portrait of the capital’s underbelly, an seamy universe of abandoned hope, waiting joylessly to be populated by Neil Gaiman characters. And I’ve never been sure whether to be pleased or miserable at the amount of Greenwich-related material Paul Talling has found.

It’s not a book (or indeed a website) to be read in one hit – unless you’re already on a downer and you want to really depress yourself (or you’re one of the aforementioned salivating developers, in which case GET OFF MY BLOG) – but somehow you can’t help but turn over page upon page of beautiful (and some slightly less than beautiful) buildings, let down badly by Posterity.

It was only published in 2008 – but already it’s a history book. Here you can find the Ferrier Estate before it was flattened and Lovell’s Wharf before it was flat-tened, for example, but other stories have a slightly more upbeat feel to them – I was reminded that I really need to visit the Royal Garrison Church of St George in Wolwich soon. I’ll report back on that one.

This is an important work. It made me sad – but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it hugely.

One Comment to “Derelict London”

  1. [...] Phantophiles may remember the slightly-depressing-but-hugely-important Derelict London, a labour of love by photographer Paul Talling. Arising out of a superb website it was [...]