Fiona Rule has written a couple of excellent books about London’s history – one traces Spitalfields from its origins, through its sink into poverty and the Ripper-era, and looks at how Dorset Street (now a sliproad into a multistorey car park) came to be known as The Worst Street in London.
Her latest is about the docklands, starting with the Roman quays on the Thames, exploring how the shipping industry moved east, developed into a vast industry and then how container shipping killed it off round here. The book is fascinating, weaving in stories of ordinary people from hundreds of years ago and showing how the whole of London’s history is bound up with its shipping. As she says:
While researching and writing about London’s docklands I realised what a crucial role the docks played in establishing Britain as a major player on the global stage. The docks were also responsible for making London a truly cosmopolitan city. From Roman times, there was international trade at the riverside and people from across the world were attracted to the port, where they set up businesses and thus became Londoners. London has always been a cultural melting pot and the docks were largely responsible for that.
Fiona will be giving an illustrated talk about the docklands and its history at the Festival – if you’ve ever wondered what came before Canary Wharf, or know perfectly well and fancy a reminisce, this event is for you.
Fiona’s talk will take place on Tuesday 13th September at 8pm. See the events page for more information.