See the Chelsea river views that inspired Turner in his final years, and find out where London's first nude statue is. Explore London's finest country house in Charlton, and unearth the secrets of the Mother of Parliaments. Spy out the village that gave its name to a car and the Russian word for railway station. Discover which church steeple gave us the design of the traditional wedding cake, where the sandwich was invented, and where in Bond Street you can see London's oldest artefact. Visit the house where Handel and Jimi Hendrix both lived. Climb the famous 311 steps of the Monument, go from East to West and back again at Greenwich and fly the world's biggest big wheel.
Brimming with facts, stories and snippets providing a spellbinding insight into the history of London, this beautiful listen is guaranteed to inform and amuse in equal measure.
Christopher Winn's first book was the best-selling I Never Knew That About England. A freelance writer and collector of trivia for over 20 years, he has worked with Terry Wogan and Jonathan Ross and sets quiz questions for television as well as for the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph.
He is also the associate producer of a TV series by ITV on Great Britain, airing in 2014. His website is http://www.i-never-knew-that.com.
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By Sean O'Skea on 21-08-16
I never cared to know that about London.
I Never Knew That About London by Christopher Winn is well read by Timothy Bentinck and is a mildly diverting listen for those interested in London’s long history. It is organized by neighborhood and can be hard to follow especially in the audio version without the benefit of page layout clues.
It is basically a long list of random facts about London locations organized only by their rough proximity. The information can be extremely esoteric. Along the lines of, “On this street lived Terry Dunno the drummer for an early 60s band you’ve never heard of, as well as John Whosit the green-grocer credited with introducing the avocado to London in 1912. Both houses were demolished in 1970.”
Christopher Winn frequently references the locations for film shoots, but they tend to be rather obvious such as, “Notting Hill drew international attention as the setting for the 1999 movie, Notting Hill.” Or so obscure you will wonder why he included them such as his several references to locations for the 2003 film Johnny English.
I could imagine a Londoner picking up this book at the library and learning a few interesting facts about their neighborhood to share at the pub but it’s far too trivial for anyone interested in an actual history. On Audible try London a Short History of the Greatest City in the World from the Great Courses or A. N. Wilsons’ very brief but compelling London A History. For the tourist looking for greater depth of understanding the excellent Rough Guide to London (not on Audible) gives historical context, points out hidden oddities and obscure sites, as well as giving you the practical information you need to visit the city. This guide book is written with more context and humor than Mr Winn manages.
I Never Knew That About London is entertaining and in a scattered way, informative, but it feels more like sitting down and reading the questions and answers off Trivial Pursuit cards than anything you will remember once its ten hours are over.
By Joanna C. Hinga on 22-11-15
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
Disjointed and generally dull. If I hadn't been born in london, this book would not make me want to visit the place.
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