Derelict London

Derelict London

Book - 2008
Average Rating:
Rate this:
From the decaying houses on the North Circular, to the faded glory of the Tidal Basin Tavern in Royal Victoria Dock (closed 1980), via Battersea Power Station and the Dalston Theatre, this is an extraordinary record of often wonderful London landmarks that are now prey to neglect, vandalism and the developer's demolition crew. Paul Talling has been recording ramshackle London for several years, and here he looks at the cream of the down-at-heel, blending photographs with accounts of how particular buildings and sights fell into disrepair and what is likely to happen to them. The Victorian Concrete House in East Dulwich, for example - a once magnificent example of an early concrete-built house but now a shell. Palmers in Camden Town, formerly the most famous pet shop in London, where Ken Livingstone bought his newts. Strand Tube Station, which featured in films as diverse as Battle of Britain, Superman IV and An American Werewolf in Paris. To mention only a few of the myriad houses, pubs, cinemas, bomb shelters, cemeteries and shops meticulously recorded and celebrated here. If you've ever peeped curiously through a gap in a boarded-up window or wondered why the building you pass every day is looking distinctly the worse for wear, this is very definitely the book for you.
Publisher: London : Random House, 2008.
ISBN: 9781905211432
Branch Call Number: 720.9421 T149
Characteristics: 222 p. : col. ill.


From Library Staff

List - London 2012
OttawaReads Jul 23, 2012

Depicts the beauty of London’s urban decay.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
May 10, 2011

You can tell a lot about a society from the ruins it leaves behind. London exults in its many beautiful and historic buildings. Perhaps as a result, scores of its magnificent old houses, schools, and hospitals have been abandoned to the elements in a way that seems criminal to the average architecture-besotted North American. Pubs and clubs, from venerable to seedy, some of them hundreds of years old, now cease to offer refreshment to the weary traveller or entertainment to the seeker of nightlife. It's remarkable (or perhaps it isn't) how many of these ancient establishments are veterans of the anarchic days of punk. Then there are the idiosyncratic pillboxes, air raid shelters with walls twelve feet thick. These squat cylinders continue to impose on the landscape because they are so solidly built that the cost of removal is prohibitive. The most poignant sights in Talling's book are the aging council estates that have been scheduled for demolition. Often the residents of these towering structures are evicted or removed over the course of many years. As a result, the local housing councils must take extreme measures to ward off an influx of squatters and crack dens. Hence the tenement dollhouse, in which one external wall of the tenantless flats has been removed to nullify their shelter value. The violated apartments often look as if their inhabitants have just stepped out for a coffee. Sagging beds, tattered upholstery, and walls that range from dirt-streaked rose to grimy beige are mute witnesses to the wreckers' intrusions. Talling's documentary photographs are greatly enriched by stories of the structures that have been left behind. Many of these tales were provided by contributors to his website,

Feb 04, 2010

Abandoned and derelict buildings, some of which have begun to be torn down, and others soon will be. They sould have left out the public toilets and the sex shops, and no-one would have noticed.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at OPL

To Top