These are some of the books I read while researching The Groundwater Diaries. I’ve also included some other influential texts which I’ve enjoyed over the years as well as recent relevant books I’ve picked up since I finished my research.

The Lost Rivers of London – Nicholas Barton
(Historical Publications – revised edition 1993)
Originally written as a Phd thesis in the early 1960s, it’s been updated and reprinted a few times in book form since then. Up there with the 1972 Topical Times Football Book as one of the great texts of the 20th Century. Concentrates more on the bigger streams. Particularly good on industrial uses for the rivers. Some great old illustrations. At the back is a lovely sketch map with the routes of many of the rivers drawn in.

London Under London – Richard Trench and Ellis Hillman (John Murray Publishers – 1984)
Similar book to the above but takes a wider view of underground London – sewers, tube lines etc – so far less detail about the rivers. Still worth getting hold of, though.

‘Some Lost Rivers of London’ – Alan Ivimey (Fleetway House – 1926)
A Chapter in the Wonderful London series of books. Short (but to the point) romantic view of the lost rivers, with some nice digrams. Probbaly hard to find – I;d lend you my copy but I;m always lending my favourite books to people and not getting them back. So get your own.

Springs, Streams and Spas of London – AS Foord (Unwin – 1910)
Wide-ranging survey and history of London’s wells. It’s an early twentieth-century volume so long out of print, although most history libraries seem to have a copy. Would be worth updating or someone writing a more contemporary version. But not me.

The Growth of Stoke Newington Jack Whitehead (Jack Whitehead – 1985)
Mostly of interest to locals, nevertheless an interesting way of approaching local history (ie. bung in loads of old maps and charts).

The Fleet – It’s River, Prison and Marriages – JE Ashton (Unwin – 1890)
Victorian era study of the Fleet’s history. Lots of stuff about conditions in the prisons. Beautiful old map in the front.

‘Address to the Auctioneers Auctioneers Institute of the United Kingdom’ – JG Head (Guildhall Library – 1907)
A short pamphlet from 1907 – a time of peace and prosperity when lots of people were interested in mad stuff like underground streams. It concentrates on the problems of building above lost rivers.

Glimpses Of Ancient Hackney And Stoke NewingtonBenjamin Clarke (Hackney Society – 1986. First published 1894)
Mid nineteenth-century East End bloke talks about how great London was in the good old days.

The Romance of the New River – Metropolitan Water Board (Metropolitan Water Board – 1926)
Big book with lots of black and white pictures of water. Probably only of interested to obsessive types, except for mention of The New River: A Romance of the Time of Hugh Myddleton by Edmund Fitzgerald. When I saw this I nearly fell off my chair. Shit, I thought, there’s nothing new to say is there. So much for my great film ideas.

The Water Supply of the County of London from Underground Sources – Stephenson Buchan (HM Stationary Office – 1938)
Well, I must have looked at this because I took some notes but I don’t really remember it. It’s in Haringey History Library, if you’re interested.

The Modern Antiquarian – Julian Cope (Harper Collins)
For some reason I neglected to mention this classic in my bibliographical notes for the book. I didn’t really use it to research The Groundwater Diaries, but Cope’s attitude and ideas have had some influence, particularly the interview he did for Q magazine in the mid-90s. This led me off on a long walk along the Ridgeway to Avebury and got me out walking the streets of London, making notes and drawings.

Lights Out for the Territory – Iain Sinclair (Granta Publications – 1997)
After you’ve read this book, walking around the capital will never be the same again. Sinclair’s dense prose sometimes brings each slow step to life, as he and photgrapher Marc Atkins chart London’s psychogeography. One of the best books of the 90s, Lights Out will probably turn out to be one of the most influential.

History of Muswell Hill – Ken Gray (Hornsey Historical Society 1999)
People and Places: Lost Estates of Highgate, Hornsey and Wood Green Joan Schwitzer (Editor) (Hornsey Historical Society 1996)
Notes ahd Queries
Effra: Lambeth’s Underground River – Ken Dixon (Brixton Society – 1993)
A History of Brixton – Alan Piper (Brixton Society – 1996)

Oxford Dictionary of London Placenames – AD Mills (Oxford Univesity Press – 2000)
The Pickwick Papers – Charles Dickens The London
Encyclopaedia – Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert (MacMillan – 1983)
The London Scene – Lewis Melville and Aubrey Hammond (Faber and Gwyer Ltd – 1926)
Ley Lines: A Comprehensive Guide to Alignments – Danny Sullivan (Judy Piatkus Ltd – 1999)
Prehistoric London: It’s Mounds and Circles – EO Gordon (The Covenant Publishing Company Ltf – 1925)

Silly Verse for Kids – Spike Milligan

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