50 best London websites

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    History

    www.riverlee.org.uk

    Funded by London’s Waterway Partnership, this site offers background on the history, geography and ecology of the Lee, a fascinating and wild patch of London.

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    The section on water voles. They rock.

    www.londonremembers.com

    This site aims to document all the memorials in London – from blue plaques to fountains – which, it turns out, is a mammoth task.

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    The map of Soho, which is littered with memorials to everyone from William Blake to Dr John Snow’s cholera pump on Broadwick Street.

    www.classiccafes.co.uk

    A chance to pay homage to the capital’s great caffs. You can reminisce over the history of vintage eateries (complete with great archive shots) and check out the reviews of those still going strong. Just don’t offend the author by referring to them as ‘greasy spoons’.

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    The top ten best ever London cafés, which includes the New Piccadilly (RIP) and the still-kicking East End legend E Pellicci.

    www.metroland.org.uk

    ‘Metro-land’ was a term coined by the Metropolitan Railway company in 1915, and used to describe the areas of north-west London and Middlesex served by the railway. The different stops became the subject of John Betjeman’s famous 1973 BBC documentary (‘Metro-land’), and this site aims to continue the project with a mix of fascinating achive photos, personal memories and historical accounts (including ’70s timetables for the truly interested).

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    The strangely beautiful 1969 photos taken inside Amersham signal box.

    www.portcities.org.uk/london

    Put together using local London libraries and archives, as well as the National Maritime Museum, this is a treasure trove of material covering all aspects of the capital’s essential and enduring relationship with the river. The archive photographs are brilliant.

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    The ‘port facts’ that are littered through the site – like the fact that bird droppings and animal blood were imported and turned into artificial fertiliser at Silvertown.

    www.eastlondonhistory.com

    An endearingly scrappy collection of stories about the East End, focusing on the people who lived there and influenced the area’s history. The spirit of rebellion runs through all the accounts – with anarchists, suffragettes, trade unionists and criminals all rubbing shoulders.

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    The story of the fantastically named German anarchist Rudolph Rocker, a Jewish immigrant who led the 1912 garment workers’ strike.

    users.bathspa.ac.uk/greenwood

    Created by Bath Spa University, this is a simple idea that’s completely engrossing. It’s an interactive map of 1827 London, first drawn up by Christopher and John Greenwood. It covers, in impressive detail, the city from Earl’s Court to the River Lee, and Highgate to Camberwell.

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    You’ll almost certainly zoom straight into the area you live or work in.

    www.history.ac.uk/cmh/cmh.main.html

    Unashamedly academic in its approach, the Centre for Metropolitan History was set up with the Museum of London to promote the ‘study and wide appreciation of London’s character and development from its beginnings to the present day’. For the casual browser the site features information on everything from the history of London markets to the city’s epidemics.

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    The searchable bibliography of London history, which can pull up documents on anything from pimps in interwar London to East End allotment gardening.

    www.pepysdiary.com

    If blogs had existed in the seventeenth century, Samuel Pepys would have had one – and it probably would have looked a bit like this. It’s a pet project by web consultant Phil Gyford in which Pepys’ diary entries are presented in real time, starting in 2003. It’s an odd approach, but makes the man’s work digestible and rewards daily visits.

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    Pepys’ posts by subject tag. We’re not sure what Pepys would have thought of such an arrangement, but it’s certainly useful.

    www.derelictlondon.com

    Paul Talling’s collection of photos of the parts of the city that are falling to bits. With more than 1,000 pictures in the archive, it’s unsurprising that the site’s had nearly 750,000 hits.

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    The section on disused pubs – surely one of the most depressing portraits of the capital. Blogs | History | Going out | Shopping and services | Communities

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Paul Talling’s collection of photos of the parts of the city that are falling to bits. With more than 1,000 pictures in the archive, it’s unsurprising that the site’s had nearly 750,000 hits. The section on disused pubs – surely one of the most depressing portraits of the capital. Blogs | History | Going out | Shopping and services | Communities

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