Spitalfields: Two Thousand Years of English History in One Neighbourhood
Religious strife, civil conflict, waves of immigration, the rise and fall of industry, great prosperity and grinding poverty - the handful of streets that constitute modern Spitalfields have witnessed all this and much more. In Spitalfields, one of Britain's best-loved historians tells the stories of the streets he has lived in for four decades. Starting in Roman times and continuing right up to the present day, Cruickshank explains how Spitalfields' streets evolved, what people have lived there, and what lives they have led. Enroute, he discovers the tales of the Huguenot weavers who made Spitalfields their own after the Great Fire of London. He recounts the experiences of the first Jewish immigrants. He evokes the slum-ridden courts and alleys of Jack the Ripper's Spitalfields. And he describes the transformation of the Spitalfields he first encountered in the 1970s from a war-damaged collection of semi-derelict houses to the vibrant community it is today. This is a fascinating evocation of one of London's most distinctive districts. At the same time, it is a history of England in miniature.
"Genial, erudite and companionable ... this heroic and heartfelt book caps a career devoted to [Spitalfields'] heritage." Spectator "Dan Cruickshank bores into the rich history of Spitalfields, the area of east London where he has lived for decades." -- Rowan Moore, Best Books of 2016 Observer "With beguiling erudition, TV historian and local resident Cruickshank tells the story of Spitalfields from Roman times to today ... This is people's history at its tastiest." Sunday Express "Cruickshank's history laments the City's encroachment on Spitalfields and the attendant growth there of estate agents, internet companies, fashion outlets and beardy hipster capitalists bent on having their slice of East End exotica." -- Best Books About London Evening Standard "This is an elegy to a place changing beyond recognition ... Cruickshank is an appealing, sympathetic writer who clearly loves his home." The Times
Dan Cruickshank is an architectural historian and television presenter. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, a member of the Executive Committee of the Georgian Group, and on the Architectural Panel of the National Trust. His recent work includes the television programmes and accompanying books The Country House Revealed (2011) and Dan Cruickshank's Adventures in Architecture (2008). He lives in Spitalfields, London.