Leo Hollis has found a clever way of framing the story of our city, and in his examination of the architectural fabric of London fascinating detail springs from every page. 'The Stones of London' presents micro-histories of 12 constructions that defined periods of urban change...Hollis uses the social context of each structure's conception funding design, construction and changing function to illustrate how buildings have defined London and therefore England, Britain and the empire
Hollis has a fine eye for architecture, and engagingly describes neo-classical marvels as well as the Labour government's dockside folly of the Millennium Dome... Hollis is good company
In this entertaining social and architectural story of London from Roman times to the present day, the 'stones' include not only bricks, steel, glass and wood, but other necessary elements that gave the city its changing shape and character: money, needs and power
Illuminating... juxtaposes lively anecdotes with hard research
Hollis writes clearly, informatively, beautifully.
From Westminster Abbey to an unremarkable house in Spitalfields, this ingenious study unearths the architectural history of 12 buildings to produce engrossing insights into London's transformations.
Hollis's ten buildings and two places are ideally suited for the exploration of the themes of London history... They are arranged chronologically but are made to engage thematically with a wide range of metropolitan concerns... All twelve illustrate one of the great truths of the history of London, that nothing stays the same.
Nothing but geography connects Wembly Stadium and Westminster Abbey; or the Georgian elegance of Home House in Portman Square and a postwar block of flats such as Keeling House... But Hollis holds these disparate elements together with skill, constructing with the stones of London a story that is much greater than the sum of its parts. He switches perspectives effortlessly, moving from local to national to international and back again in the space of a few paragraphs
Packed with facts and and full of anecdote, this is an extremely enjoyable book.
Hollis is excellent on history...this is an imaginative book that finds a convincing new way to tell the story of one of the most written-about cities in the world
Finding new ways to tell the story of 2,000 years of London is not easy, but Hollis has found an elegant solution by focusing on 12 buildings that exemplify 12 periods in the development of the city...Hollis has chosen his building well: their stories present an original perspective on London's complex history
Hollis's absorbing ability to conjure and flesh each period he explores...Stories within stories tumble out like Russian dolls. By the end one has met many interesting characters and almost inadvertently absorbed vast amounts about the creation, buildings and streets of London. A beguiling device; a stalking horse of Palladian proportions
An enjoyable read and a fresh perspective for those seeking to know more about the evolution of London