Discovering the London that nobody knows

Thanks once again to the wondrous Things Magazine for pointing me towards The London that Nobody Knows, a wonderful documentary from 1967 narrated by James Mason (a fellow lad of Huddersfield). The film is a favourite of Bob Stanley of St Etienne, who describes the film as “No horseguards, no palaces, but Islington’s Chapel Market, pie shops, and Spitalfields tenements … Carnaby chicks and chaps, the 1967 we have been led to remember, [is] shockingly juxtaposed with feral meths drinkers, filthy shoeless kids, squalid Victoriana. Camden Town still resembles the world of Walter Sickert. There is romance and adventure, but mostly there is malnourishment.”

Although I wouldn’t agree with him that “London looks like a shithole,” even the fluttering washing above a tenament in the East End looks beautiful when arranged above a courtyard of excited children playing in the midday sun. The London that Nobody Knows is based on a book by Geoffrey Snowcroft Fletcher of, funnily enough, The Daily Telegraph. Stanley calls Fletcher “the great forgotten London writer” and the book was first published in 1962.

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