Crossrail, the ‘Elizabeth’ line, is simply the latest way of traversing a very old east–west route through what was once countryside to the city and out again. Visiting Stepney, Liverpool Street, Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street, Gillian Tindall traces the course of many of these historical journeys across time as well as space.
The Tunnel Through Time uncovers the lives of those who walked where many of our streets still run. These people spoke the names of ancient farms, manors and slums that now belong to our squares and tube stations. They endured the cycle of the seasons as we do; they ate, drank, worked and laughed in what are essentially the same spaces we occupy today. As Tindall expertly shows, destruction and renewal are a constant rhythm in London’s story.
‘A major achievement' Ronald Blythe, author of Akenfield
A Cotswold vicarage.
A former girls' boarding school in Surrey.
A Jacobean house now buried in inner London.
Three Houses, Many Lives tells the stories not only of the houses themselves but of the lives of the many people who lived in them. From Eugenia Stanhope who sold Lord Chesterfield's scandalous letters, to the autocratic vicar who held the same parish from age 28 to 82, from the just-literate wife of a parish clerk who wrote riddles in his registers, to the cow-keeper who farmed 226 acres in Hornsey till he sold them profitably when the railways came through. Gillian Tindall is a master of miniaturist history, making a particular place, person or situation stand for a much larger picture.
Gillian Tindall is well known for her ability to breathe a passionate life into the generations of those who have walked the earth before us. Here, using a handful of lives, she evokes the texture and atmosphere of a hidden Paris which has survived against all the odds of time and chance. Her study shows how Paris has drawn into its magnetic field people who have variously found there education or enlightenment, a refuge or a secret garden, even a different identity.
Five individuals, all related in some way, reveal a web of human feeling and experiences across two centuries. There is the young doctor who walked from Edinburgh to Paris at the time of Napoleon's downfall; the self-made Victorian businessman who traded with the brash capital of the Second Empire; his reserved son who found in the old stones of Paris a refuge from his fraught childhood; Maud, the archetypal English spinster, who somehow managed to construct an alternatative experience in Paris; and Julia , young and desperate, who found her own unlikely salvation there in a very different era.
Gillian Tindall brings Paris alive - whether it's the network of streets that form the Left Bank, the resonance of 'Bohemia' and its garrets, cafes and artists, 'Gay Paree' with its music halls and courtesans or the past chroniclers of the city such as Zola, George du Maurier and Orwell. But featured far more than the famous, are the unsung citizens for whom Gillian Tindall has such empathy.
Just across the River Thames from St Paul’s Cathedral stands an old and elegant house. Over the course of almost 450 years the dwelling on this site has witnessed many changes. From its windows, people have watched the ferrymen carry Londoners to and from Shakespeare’s Globe; they have gazed on the Great Fire; they have seen the countrified lanes of London’s marshy south bank give way to a network of wharves, workshops and tenements – and then seen these, too, become dust and empty air.
Rich with anecdote and colour, this fascinating book breathes life into the forgotten inhabitants of the house – the prosperous traders; an early film star; even some of London’s numberless poor. In so doing it makes them stand for legions of others and for a whole world that we have lost through hundreds of years of London’s history.
The seventeenth-century London Wenceslaus Hollar knew is now largely destroyed or buried. Yet its populous river, its timbered streets, fashionable ladies, old St Paul's, the devestation of the Fire, the palace of Whitehall and the meadows of Islington live on for us in his etchings.
Drawing on numerous sources, Gillian Tindall creates a montage of Hollar's life and times and of the illustrious lives that touched his. It is a carefully researched factual account, but she has also employed her novelist's skill to form an intricate whole - a life's texture which is also an absorbing and occasionally tragic story.
Gillian Tindall is a master of miniaturist history, well known for the quality of her writing and the scrupulousness of her research; she makes a handful of people, a few locations or a dramatic event stand for the much larger picture, as her seminal book The Fields Beneath, approached the history of Kentish Town, London. She has also written on London's Southbank (The House by the Thames), on southern English counties (Three Houses, Many Lives), and the Left Bank (Footprints in Paris), amongst other locations, as well as biography and prize-winning novels. She has lived in the same London house for over fifty years.