Dartmouth in Devon has a bookshop called Compass Books. While browsing here while on a recent visit I found a stash of books about London from the 1930s, 40s and 50s. The prices and condition were good, and I snaffled the lot. Most were disappointing but one has proved a delight. The London We Love by G E Eades was published in 1946 and provides an overview of the city and its history.
Eades himself is an endearing guide. He introduces himself in the preface:
I am a London schoolmaster. I was born and educated in London; I have spent more than forty years teaching London boys and girls, and for the last twenty years I have been teaching grown-up people too, many of them my old scholars, about London and its story. I have been reading that story and wandering about in London studying its people and buildings ever since I was a London schoolboy; I have come to love London and I want you to love it too.
It sounds like Eades lived his life well and to the full.
Most delightful of all are the illustrations, which capture some of the personality of the city. Here are a few which capture the essence of London as it was, and sometimes still is.
The soldier above appears to be telling the mother of the boy that she should be standing on the right. Quite right too, but so much for chivalry! Apologies if this is slightly to the right, I blame my scanner.
Anyone who has played football at Market Road, near Caledonian Road tube will recognise the clock-tower in the above picture, and will instantly understand what the name refers to.
The header on my site also comes from the book. I’ve posted these pictures here to try and raise them from obscurity. If anyone likes them I shall post some more.