Walking Pepys’s London by Jacky Colliss Harvey

4 out of 5 stars

A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Samuel Pepys, the well-known diarist of the seventeenth century walked around London for miles to and from work. He lived near the Tower of London and worked in various places, including Whitehall and Greenwich. The walks were chronicled in his diary and became part of his social and professional life with the people that accompanied him while walking.

A substantial amount of the city within the old Roman walls was destroyed in the Great Fire of London. When they came to rebuild it they retained the old street layout, rejecting the new layout that Sir Christopher Wren proposed. So believe it on not. those streets that he walked are still there and you can follow the most likely routes that Pepys took around the city.

In this delightful little book, Jacky Colliss Harvey brings history alive through five planned routes around the City of London. These take us from Westminster to the City, from there to the wonderfully named Seething Lane. One walk takes us on a night out with him and there are two longer routes along to Greenwich and the final walk wends its way through the city to Wapping.

I really liked this, the blend of history set against modern-day London is a reminder of how old the city actually is. It is full of tiny nuggets of history that are still visible provide you know where to look or are lucky enough to have a guide like Harvey to point them out to you. I have walked some of these streets when I have been in London, but there are some that I have not been along. Thankfully there are digital maps available for the walks, so next time I am in London I will be taking this book along with me.

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  1. kaggsysbookishramblings

    Sounds fascinating – would love to walk those old streets again!

    • Paul

      There are still some buildings from his time too. They are on the to see list next time I go to London

  2. Liz Dexter

    This sounds great, I’m going to let my best friend know about it.

    • Paul

      It is really well put together.

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