Tuesday, February 22, 2022

'The London Master's Guide' by Sean Hunt

Way back in 2019 I came across a Kickstarter project that blended my passion for all things London with my love of reading, but with a dash of fantasy thrown in for good measure... 'The London Master's Guide' by Sean Hunt.

London The Unfinished City
The London Master's Guide

Reading through the various pledges I decided to become a backer. This would be the second book that I would back, concerning London, on Kickstarter, with the first being 'Faith in the City of London' by Niki Gorick.

The blurb on the Kickstarter page went as follows:

London is one of the most historic and oft visited places in the world. It’s a true multicultural hub, made up of thousands of points of interest, a multitude of strange delights and vibrant people. Ancient pubs sit in the shadows of towering skyscrapers. Long-forgotten paths open up into new avenues. History peeks out from behind every rooftop, daring you to become a part of London's legend.

The London Master's Guide is the world’s first tour book that blends real-life travel with the magical genre of fantasy.

The book is an essential guide to one of the world’s most storied cities, filled with curious attractions, macabre history, and legendary destinations. But this isn’t your regular travel book. It’s full of original artwork that brings London to life through the lens of fantasy and is written in a way that makes your upcoming trip a part of the city's history.

The London Master's Guide serves to inspire your imagination, fuel your wanderlust and give you all the tools that you need to plan your very own adventure. 

Come intrepid adventurer! There are many sights to see!

The goal of £18,000 to get the book from fantasy to reality was soon surpassed, with £23,769 being raised.

For myself, I had pledged £20 which got me a softback copy of the London Master's Guide and a digital (PDF) copy of the London Master's Guide.

Now all I had to do was to sit back and wait.. and wait... and wait. There's nothing like a pandemic to put a spanner in the works. Lockdowns, restricted travel and being unable to socialise all added to the timescale. The June 2020 estimated delivery was pushed back, but the project was still going ahead.

Then, in December 2021, I received my copy of the book through the post and... WOW! 

The glossy pages and amazing artwork, mixed with the tongue-in-cheek writing style, made this an incredibly unique book. The delay didn't matter any more. What I now held in my hands was well worth the wait.

London The Unfinished City
The Black Dog of Newgate.

The artwork is exceptional and completely unique and the little snippets of history work well with the fantasy artwork.

Your traditional guide books get you from A to B, but miss the historical and more unusual aspects of this great city.

The London Master's Guide corrects this and takes you on a magical adventure through the historical, unusual and macabre aspects of London.

If you would like to know more about the book, purchase a copy or even look through the various other London Master's Guide merchandise available, then click on the link below.

London Master's Guide

Saturday, February 19, 2022

British Telecom Tower

London The Unfinished City
British Telecom Tower (GPO Tower, Post Office Tower), 2010

I have always been fascinated with the BT Tower, ever since I first saw it. I am not sure what it is about the building, once the tallest in London, but it just looks cool to me. Maybe it is its uniqueness that makes it so fascinating.

London The Unfinished City
The view from below, 2010.

Also, considering how visible it is, it took me an age to get close to it. I would walk towards it and often find that I had passed it, or ended up walking down the wrong road and missing it again. In 2010 I made a conscious effort to finally get a decent photo of this historic tower... and I did. 

Friday, February 18, 2022

St Pancras Old Church


London The Unfinished City
St Pancras Old Church

Wednesday February 16, 2022.

It was an unseasonably warm morning as Keilyn and I headed to London, for a wander long the Regent's Canal from St John's Wood to King's Cross.

London The Unfinished City

Towards the end of our journey, as a slight drizzle could be felt on the breeze, we visited St Pancras Old Church where we also saw the Hardy Tree and the Sir John Soane Mausoleum.

London The Unfinished City
Monument removed from the Old Chapel, Highgate.

Fortunately for us the church was open, so we stepped inside this historic building and had a good look around. Before we left we made a small donation for some votive candles, lit them and then continued on our journey.

London The Unfinished City
Sir John Soane Mausoleum

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Coal Drops Yard & Granary Square

London The Unfinished City
Granary Square, looking towards Coal Drops buildings.

Wednesday February 16, 2022

Walking along the Regent's Canal from St John's Wood station Keilyn and I ended up at Coal Drops Yard, King's Cross. This historic area of London has gone through a major overhaul and is fast becoming one of the top destinations in the area.

London The Unfinished City
Coal Drops Yard

This historic area of London has a history dating back to the 1850s, when London ran on coal, earning her the nickname of the 'Big Smoke'. The buildings would have been full of people, cargo and coal. Outside would have been a throng of workers, sellers, businessmen and the such, too.

But, as invention and new technologies took hold, her buildings became empty and were soon left derelict. The throng of people diminishing, much like the buildings

Fortunately, these buildings have now been repurposed and the area is once again a bustling hub.

The entire area is a wonderful place to explore. From shops and restaurants, to bars and cafes and boutique retail outlets. The coal drops and the square, which incorporates a water feature that is wonderfully lit with coloured lights, gets a lot of use in warm weather.

London The Unfinished City
The Fish and Coal buildings, now known as The Coal Office.

And we explored most of it. Keilyn, obviously, was more interested in exploring the water feature, but without getting too wet.

A terraced seating area allows for people to sit by the calm water, on summer's evenings, to enjoy the peace or, perhaps, catch a movie at the pop-up cinema.

Keilyn Morrissey
Keilyn in the water feature.

The entire area is split into five distinct area: Canopy Market, Coal Drops Yard, Gasholder Park, Granary Square and Lewis Cubitt Park.

Once we had explored what we could we made our way, via St Pancras Old Church, to Euston station, from where we caught a train home.