Friday, 16 December 2011
Finding A Way To The Past by Catherine Johnson
There! See that? It's a lovely spread page of one of my all time favourite books. I hope it's big enough for you to realise how lovely it is. It's one in a series of London A-Zs from Elizabethan up to Victorian edited by Ralph Hyde and published by Harry Margary. That one there is Georgian, the John Rocque map reproduced in facsimile and, I must admit, my favourite. The books are all big, A4 size when closed, and I can happily spend ages exploring my characters' neighbourhoods. This book has been invaluable to the last few history books I have written. It lets me follow my characters as they go about their lives. Tracing their routes as they hare around the city and of course, the wonderful thing about London is that an awful lot of the streets are still there. I do love a map it's so much more than just a picture, there are whole ways of life there, markets, churches, prisons, schools, fields, reservoirs, burials grounds, slums and manor houses. And the names of the streets; Liquorpond Street, Coldbath Fields, Bleeding Heart Yard, Seven Star Court, Little Bear Key, Adam-a-digging Yard.
I'm there already.The books are pricey but if you're looking for a useful tax deductible present for yourself any of them would be ideal.
This post isn't just a plug though. I've written six historical novels now - three published, two in the (very long) pipeline with various publishers and one that lives in the drawer - and all have been set in London.
And this is where you, dear readers may be able to help. I am about to start the second in a series and this time my protagonist is out of the door and on a boat before the thing's started. What am I going to do? How can I possibly manage without a map?
Anyone know any good ones of pre- revolutionary Paris? I need all the help I can get,
Season's Greetings to one and all!