The "layered narratives" of London and its buildings

Leo Hollis sees the city of London as a “series of layered narratives that need to be explored.” This is what he does in his book The Stones of London: A History in Twelve Buildings. Philip Womack of The Telegraph has a review.

In the book, Hollis investigates 12 buildings such as the Royal Exchange, Greenwich Palace, and Westminster Abbey, as well as the people who lived and worked in them.

He conveys the sense of bustle and excitement in the City of London. Its special privileges as almost a city-state with corporations of “masterless men” led people like the merchant-prince Thomas Gresham to expand it financially in building the Royal Exchange: “Everything was for sale, from the rarest of commodities from the farthest shores to the most basic of domestic appliances: ‘mousetraps, birdcages, shoeing-horns, lanthorns and Jews’ trumps’.”