Ludgate Circus and Lambeth Palace from circa 1900 in the book 350 Views of London published by Parnell & Co., 63, Southampton Row, Bloomsbury Square, London, W.C.. This book is in the library collection of Jack Adams.

The images themselves come from unnumbered pages in the book which bears the coat of arms of The Corporation of the City of London. The total content of this work is 350 photographs of London annotated with just their place names. The book is undated but the presence of a photograph of an electric tube train on the City and South London Railway means publication after 1890 when that line opened. There are also, amongst the roads shown in the photographs, very few motor cars present; possibly only four within 350 images. These are difficult to date or specifically identify their model types. The vehicles do not appear to be of the earliest type of motor car and so this would suggest the book is very early Edwardian.

This dating is then confirmed within the images where we find a photograph of the Royal Carriage in procession and the caption “H.M. King Edward VII proceeding in state to open Parliament.”. A more precise dating is ellusive but an intense study of the photographs could possibly reveal the publication date. However, that would not mean that the photographs within are contemporary to that date as some could well be from much earlier dates.

There is a photograph of the Crystal Palace which would be worth further study as that appears to be of an earlier photographic process than some of the images within the book.

In my collection of books about London I have works going back to the 18th century. However, the bulk of my collection lies between 1840 and 1900 augmented by a few quality volumes of late 20th century and early 21st century publications. In this bulk is to be found interesting texts describing a London long since vanished. There are illustrations of, for example, The Holloway Road when it was what we would call today a country lane. I find these texts compelling yet I have to note that I have gathered them from antiquarian book fares where they sell for £2 to £5 at most. If I did not buy these works many of them would simply end up in skips.

The sad reality is that book collectors want prime condition, known authors, recognisable titles or first editions; they are collecting books as assets as much as they are collecting them for any library value. When I first saw one of these books, The Corner Cupboard (1854), it was so full of sociological and historical information that I immediately considered it a ‘treasure’. This led to the start of my own collecting. My interest is in London as my own home city, in my occupation as an historian and in my own simple fascination for the texts and images these books present.

One of the aims of this web site is to create an archive of my writings on these books and to be the base from which I can publish my own works about these books. Please sign up to my newsletter if you want to be informed of future publications in this connection.