This Other London by John Rogers

Submitted by: Sue House

Join John Rogers as he tells his stories of adventure on his East London doorstep.

On foot, he meanders into the wilderness of isolated luxury apartment blocks in Brentford, the ruins of Lesnes Abbey near Thamesmead and the ancient Lammas Lands in Leyton.

He encounters the Highwaymen of Hounslow Heath, Viet Cong vets still fighting Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket in Beckton, Dutch sailors marooned at Erith pier; and cyclists at Herne Hill Velodrome.

Each chapter is self-contained so you can read the book piece by piece as well as walk the walks yourself.

Personally, I hate books about facts and so didn’t really expect to enjoy it. However there is something magical and innocent about it.

The walks John takes epitomise a secret, hidden London, one that is about friendship and making connections. A London that not everyone realises is all around us.

There is something optimist and joyful about following the course of the lost Fillebrook river by stopping to listen to it bubbling away under the pavement.

This book is also about making the most of the world around you, experiencing and appreciating it. John can find something interesting, funny and worthwhile in every street encouraging us to see the city differently.

No more urban treadmill but a world with endless possibilities we are free to explore.

Last year John’s book club at the Leytonstone Festival raised £260, which was used to fund a little free library – a mini house full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share.

Russell Hooksmith, a local artist designed the library which was installed in the Wanstead Tap, Winchelsea Road, E7.

Inside it you will find the hidden quote: “Enlightenment is just as likely to be found on the far side of Wanstead Flats as at the end of Route 66.”

This Other London: Adventures in the Overlooked City by John Rogers, foreword by Russell Brand.