Abandoned London by Katie Wignall

Abandoned London by Katie Wignall

Author: Katie Wignall
View book: Abandoned London

Step into the hidden, forgotten corners of the English capital with Abandoned London. This captivating book takes you on a visual journey through the city’s secret spaces, shedding light on its concealed past.

London is not just a dazzling modern metropolis, but a city steeped in history – a city with a hidden side. Despite its glimmering facade, there lies a world of mystery, decay, and untold stories. Abandoned London captures this haunting essence through its striking collection of 150 color photographs.

Embark on a pilgrimage through the lost railways, underpasses, industrial sites, movie theaters, churches, and cemeteries of the city. These forgotten places are the remnants of a bygone era, still standing as poignant relics of the past.

Transported to Another Time

Delve into the depths of disused stations on the Underground. Uncover the secrets of the immense, ornate Victorian sewers and waterworks. Explore the decaying yet beautiful Art Deco cinemas and empty swimming pools. These forgotten corners of London hold a special allure.

A Journey Through History

Discover the bombed-out churches and eerie docklands that have been left to time. Wander through ruined mansions and overgrown cemeteries, where stories of the past resonate in the silence.

Abandoned London arranges its entries thematically, comprehensively covering both the modern city and its historical counterpart. From transportation hubs to residential areas, from industrial sites to recreational spots, every nook and cranny is showcased in this remarkable visual exploration of London’s hidden history.

Some of the intriguing locations featured in Abandoned London include:

  • South Kentish Underground Station, closed in 1927
  • Camden’s horse tunnels
  • Great Eastern Street, once a thriving hub of light industries, now experiencing revival
  • Museum Street in Bloomsbury, with its shuttered shops
  • Crystal Palace Underpass, built to accommodate Victorian visitors on their way to the Crystal Palace exhibition
  • Sailmaker’s Factory in Limehouse
  • Strand Union Workhouse
  • St Mary’s Lodge on Lordship Road, Stoke Newington
  • Mansions on Bishop’s Avenue
  • The First Class Swimming Pool Hall
  • Ladywell Play Tower
  • Regal Cinema in Highams Park
  • Archway Methodist Central Hall
  • Highgate West Cemetery
  • Ruins of a Victorian Folly in Sydenham Hill Woods

Abandoned London is a poignant and captivating tribute to the hidden history of the English capital. Through its stunning collection of photographs, it invites readers to explore the forgotten places and evoke the stories of a time long gone.

“Abandoned London: Exploring Forgotten Sites with Katie Wignall”

Every so often, a book comes along that immediately captures your interest. You know you’re going to love it even before you buy it. That’s exactly how I felt about “Abandoned London,” a captivating coffee table book that explores the forgotten and abandoned sites in one of the world’s most famous cities. I had the pleasure of speaking with the author, Katie Wigner, about her book and the fascinating stories behind these abandoned places.

I asked Katie what inspired her to create this book, and she explained that she was approached by the publishers, Amber, to be a part of their series on abandoned places worldwide. She was given a collection of photos of abandoned sites in London and was tasked with adding historical information and context to each location. Katie was also able to include some of her own images in the book.

During the writing and research process, Katie encountered some challenges. As it was during the first lockdown, she couldn’t physically visit the sites. She had to do detective work to identify where the photos were taken and gather information about them. Despite these obstacles, she managed to curate an impressive collection of abandoned places in London.

Exploring Forgotten Sites

One of the sites that caught my attention was Haggerston Public Baths. Katie explained that these public baths were vital in providing bathing facilities for people who didn’t have running water or bathrooms at home. They also served as a social gathering place for the community. The proliferation of public baths in London was a response to the city’s rapid expansion in the 19th century. Haggerston Public Baths represented a significant part of London’s social and architectural history.

Another fascinating location in the book is Dalston Hill House, a grand Victorian mansion that was demolished in 2012. Katie shared the disappointment of discovering that this beautiful building, once frequented by prime ministers, no longer exists. The photographs in the book serve as a reminder of the importance of preserving these historical sites.

Haygate Estate in Walworth is an example of a housing project that didn’t live up to its promise. Originally intended to modernize accommodation and provide a better living environment, these high-rise flats fell into disrepair over time. The council’s attempt to redevelop the area led to the displacement of long-time residents, highlighting the issue of affordable housing in London.

The Millennium Mills building in Silvertown showcases the grandeur of Victorian engineering. It was a flour mill that produced Millennium Flour, a significant product at the time. Today, the building is set to be redeveloped for public use, but its historical significance as an industrial hub remains.

A Captivating Collection

Katie’s favorite site from the book is Abbey Mills Pumping Station, known as the “Cathedral to Sewage.” This sewage pumping station, still in use by Thames Water, is a testament to the grandeur and architectural beauty of the Victorian era. The book captures the ornate details and magnificent design of the building, making it a must-visit for architecture enthusiasts.

Throughout “Abandoned London,” Katie uncovers the hidden stories and forgotten places that make up the fabric of the city. From sewage pumping stations to public baths and grand estates, these sites offer a glimpse into London’s rich history and the challenges faced in preserving these abandoned spaces.

Where to Find Katie and “Abandoned London”

If you’re interested in learning more about London’s abandoned sites, you can follow Katie’s blog, Look Up London, and join her walking tours across the city. Her Instagram account, @look_up_london, is also a great resource for discovering hidden details and lesser-known history of the city.

As for “Abandoned London,” the book is set to be back in stock next week and is available from Foils, Amazon, Waterstones, and other retailers. Whether you’re passionate about architecture, fascinated by history, or simply love exploring the lesser-known corners of a city, “Abandoned London” is sure to captivate and inspire.

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