Place Histories


A Potted History of Auld Reekie, as Edinburgh is affectionately known. It covers the beginnings of the town through to the early twentieth century. It may be of more interest to tourists than festival-goers, as the latter are probably too busy rushing from venue to venue to wonder about the city’s past.

A Potted History of Sunninghill and Ascot (in Berkshire) briefly covers the period up to the late 1600s; Sunninghill’s short period as a spa; the arrival of horse racing at Ascot in 1711; before tracking the growth of the area through the Victorian era, when the railway arrived, and the 20th century.

A Potted History of Liverpool covers: Merseyside before Liverpool was known; the town’s early existence up to the English Civil War; it’s initial growth, leading to the slave trade; the very successful 19th century; and concluding with the 20th century up to the mid-1960s.

A Potted History of the River Thames is structured by themes, rather than chronology. It seemed to make for an easier read – well to me anyway. They are conflict, infrastructure, working river, properties and leisure. The Odds and Sods section, as I call it, includes brief notes on selected places along the river, swan upping and population.

From River Crossing to World City: A Potted History of London Part 1 starts in pre-history, and takes the story through the establishment of Londinium by the Romans, the Anglo-Saxon settlements of Lundenwic and Lundenburh, and on to the arrival of the Normans and the development of the City of London and surrounding areas up to 1660 when Charles II came to the throne.

From River Crossing to World City: A Potted History of London Part 2 picks up the story in 1660 with the accession to the throne of Charles II. It starts with two disasters: the Great Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of London in the following year. Continuing with the initial growth of the economy in the 18th century, it moves on to summarise the significant changes in all areas of life that were experienced in the 19th century, and finishing with the challenges that the 20th century brought, including two world wars.