Just across the River Thames from St Paul’s Cathedral stands an old and elegant house. Over the course of almost 450 years the dwelling on this site has witnessed many changes. From its windows, people have watched the ferrymen carry Londoners to and from Shakespeare’s Globe; they have gazed on the Great Fire; they have seen the countrified lanes of London’s marshy south bank give way to a network of wharves, workshops and tenements – and then seen these, too, become dust and empty air.
Rich with anecdote and colour, this fascinating book breathes life into the forgotten inhabitants of the house – the prosperous traders; an early film star; even some of London’s numberless poor. In so doing it makes them stand for legions of others and for a whole world that we have lost through hundreds of years of London’s history.