The London Encyclopaedia

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The London Encyclopaedia, first published in 1983,[1] is a 1100-page historical reference work,[2] on the United Kingdom's capital city, London. The encyclopaedia covers the Greater London area.


The first edition of the encyclopaedia was complied over a number of decades by antiquarian seller Ben Weinreb.[3] It was revised in 1993, 1995, 2008 and 2010,[1] latterly by Christopher Hibbert. It has around 5,000 articles, supported by two indices — one general and one listing people, each of about 10,000 entries - and is published by Macmillan.

In 2012, an app was developed by Heuristic-Media, based on the 2010 edition and released as London—A City Through Time.[1][2] Toby Evetts and Simon Reeves, partners in Heuristic-Media, discussed the development of the app with The Guardian in 2013, describing how 4,500 entries had to be plotted onto a guide map by hand.[3]


The encyclopaedia builds on a number of antecedent publications,[4] including:


A plaudit from the Illustrated London News printed on the back cover claims that "there is no one-volume book in print that carries so much valuable information on London and its history". Another from London Cabbie News reads "If I had my way this book would be in every cab in London". In a 2008 review for the Financial Times, Jonathan Sale described the encyclopaedia as 'a capital book for a capital city'.[5]

In fiction[edit]

ca. 1891, nurse and patient in the accident ward of the Royal Free Hospital

The Encyclopedia's entry "Royal Free Hospital" is reprinted as an integral part of Doris Lessing's last book Alfred and Emily (2008). The entry is placed third and last among the textual items between "Part One" and "Part Two" of the work. While this section has a title of its own, "From The London Encyclopaedia ...", there is a photo without any caption directly following on the entry's last reprinted page which does not appear in the encyclopedia. It shows a hospital room, with a male patient in bed looking into the camera and a female nurse seated on the far side who is busy knitting. The topic of the entry links to both the life Emily is leading in part one and her life in part two of Lessing's book, as well as to the life Alfred is leading in part two.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Jones, Philip (2012-07-05). "New app 'reinvents' London Encyclopaedia". The Bookseller (London). Retrieved 2014-09-16. 
  2. ^ a b "A unique guidebook: The city beckons - A multimedia compendium of 2,000 years". The Economist. 2012-06-30. Retrieved 2014-09-16. 
  3. ^ a b "How we made the London: A City Through Time app". the Guardian. 13 December 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  4. ^ Wilder, Robyn (2014-08-24). "11 Rather Splendid Facts You May Not Have Known About London". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2014-09-16. 
  5. ^ Sale, Jonathan (2008-09-01). "The London Encyclopaedia". Financial Times. Retrieved 2014-09-16. 
  6. ^ Doris Lessing: Alfred and Emily, Hodder & Stoughton/Fourth Estate, London 2008, pp. 145-148, ISBN 978-0-00-723345-8

External links[edit]