The London Spy

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The London Spy by Ned Ward (1660/67 – June 20, 1731) was a periodical about London life,[1] later published as a book.

Ward first published the story as a series of 16-page periodicals during 1698–1700,[1] comprising 18 folio editions. They were printed as a collection in book form in 1703 by J. How of Gracechurch Street, London, a mile from where Ward had his pub (public house).[2]

The parts are arranged topographically, the story being told in the first person by the author under the persona of 'The London Spy'. It concerns his adventures as an "innocent" Country Gentleman visiting London, his native-Londoner chaperone-cum-guide, and the adventures they fall into.[3] The story relates his travels about London to various pubs and tourist attractions, and the people that lived there. He gives vivid depictions of the lower classes of the day and how they made ends meet – including prostitution, robbery, burglary and other felonious activities. It is a ribald story, written in part in prose, and contains many slang expressions used in that time.


  1. ^ a b Baugh, edited by Albert C. (1972). A literary history of England (2nd ed.). London: Routledge & K. Paul. p. 817. ISBN 9780415045865. Retrieved 3 December 2015. 
  2. ^ Ward, Ned (1703). THE London Spy Compleat, In Eighteen-Parts. [sic] (1st ed.). J. How. p. v. Archived from the original on 1 Jan 1990. Retrieved 3 December 2015. 
  3. ^ Ogborn, Miles (1998). Spaces of modernity : London's geographies, 1680-1780. New York, NY [u.a.]: Guilford Press. p. 106. ISBN 9781572303652. Retrieved 3 December 2015. 

The London Spy by Ned Ward. Edited by Kenneth Fenwick (1955). The Folio Society: London.