Columbia Road – A Strange Kind of Paradise
The history of one street from the pastureland of Mediaeval times, through the industrial revolution and the slums of the Victorian era to the gentrification of the 21st century. Famous for the Flower market that was moved to the street in the 1860’s, it remains the epicentre of a thriving community which ensures that, in spite of the best endeavours of the Luftwaffe and the local Council it remains as one of London’s most lively villages.
“An unrivalled and unsentimental insight into the history of the street
and the people who make it what it is.”
From the introduction right through to the final pages, Wilkinson shows us how the passion to work in the area has survived. Current shopkeeper and resident, antiques dealer Nick says "we are like some small spin off from Narnia… various elements have tumbled into place to make it what it is".
And this is really what Wilkinson achieves in her book: she uncovers a wealth of stories that help define those elements that make Columbia Road what it is. Whether "Narnia" or even "a strange kind of paradise", the cockney culture is no myth and still very much alive.
What a well-researched and well written book on a fascinating area of the East End, who would have thought that a single road could have so much gripping history? I read this in a single sitting, it brought back many childhood memories. This is now being passed round other family members who too grew up in the area. This would also be a very enjoyable book for those with no ties or knowledge of the area.
£12.99 + £2.50 P&P in the UK for overseas rates email Linda