About Hidden London
Some background information about this website, and the person behind it
Now in its eighth year, Hidden London was originally created to showcase extracts from what became Chambers London Gazetteer, a book that features all the localities and districts in Greater London, whether world famous or extraordinarily obscure. The website, however, concentrated on the more recondite localities, on the grounds that areas like Kensington or Covent Garden were already more than adequately covered by existing online resources. This proved a wise decision. Many more people come to Hidden London to read about minor localities such as Fish Island than much-visited places like Richmond Park (page views for the former article outweigh those for the latter by ten to one).
More than 500 selected extracts from Chambers London Gazetteer are featured on this latest incarnation of Hidden London. To read more, see the Gazetteer section, or view the alphabetical list in the Index of Places. Alternatively, you can browse the site aimlessly, by repeatedly clicking the ‘visit a random page’ button near the top right of each page – which will most often take you to a Gazetteer article – or use the search box to find a place of particular interest to you. However, please bear in mind that (unlike Chambers London Gazetteer) the contents of Hidden London is selective, so you may not find every place you seek.
The new focus of Hidden London is the presentation of a series of articles with a different slant: each features a lesser-known attraction with qualities that make it worth visiting, or at least stopping to admire on your way past. This contrasts with the localities of the Gazetteer, many of which are little-known and rarely visited for good reasons.
As it evolves, The Guide will feature all sorts of publicly accessible buildings; parks, gardens and other open spaces; sculptures and curiosities situated in or visible from the public domain; historic shops and markets, pubs, cafés and the like; plus the occasional themed walk and some paired attractions located close to each other.
New articles will be appearing regularly in The Guide, so please come back every few weeks to see the latest.
Hidden London also includes some appetising extracts from Brewer’s Dictionary of London Phrase & Fable and a handful of other pages that may be of interest to those who love London, such as a selection of London books and links to other useful websites.
Finally, I apologise for the increasingly intrusive advertising on Hidden London nowadays, but needs must. Clicking one of the Google ads or ordering an item via one of the Amazon links (or indeed ordering anything from Amazon.co.uk within 24 hours of clicking the link) generate small emoluments that help cover the cost of running the site (less than £2 a day). But not all the ads are intended to earn a little revenue; there are usually a few pro bono messages dotted around the site, including those for that worthy – and convivial – organisation London Historians.
About the author
Hidden London is written, photographed and designed by me, Russ Willey.
I’m a social sciences graduate who worked mainly in advertising and marketing before turning to the perils of self-employment as a professional writer and occasional photographer, graphic designer, website creator, editor and proofreader. (If you’d like to contact me about engaging my services in any of these capacities, or taking advantage of my expertise in all things London, I’d be delighted to hear from you.)
I began to build Hidden London early in 2005, at first just for fun, and then increasingly with the aspiration that it would help me find a publisher for my gazetteer of London localities, an aim in which I succeeded with the assistance of literary agent Andrew Lownie. Whenever I could find the time, I continued to nurture Hidden London and it has evolved to become the world’s most visited website specialising in lesser-known London.
Much of the content of this site is based on material previously published in Brewer’s Dictionary of London Phrase & Fable and, especially, Chambers London Gazetteer (reproduced with the publishers’ permission). However, new content is being added all the time, and this is usually original matter. That applies particularly to the pages in the section called The Guide, which will hopefully appear in book form one day.
Just a handful of the photographs on Hidden London weren’t taken by me, and these are credited accordingly. Some pages have simple maps, which I drew, and these are often accompanied by a Google Street View image at the bottom of the page.
I hope you enjoy your visit to Hidden London – and that it tempts you to explore some new corners of the world’s most fascinating city.
Hidden London has been created using the WordPress content management system and the PageLines Platform theme. Thanks to Jackie Danicki for introducing me to the wonders of WordPress. I’d also like to express my gratitude to the creators of the many clever plugins that enrich the site, including Josh Leuze for Meteor Slides and Mikko Saari for Relevanssi.
Hidden London is efficiently hosted by Evohosting. All the images on the site are created or optimised using PaintShop Pro. Most of the photographs were taken using equipment bought at the excellent Camera World, in Wells Street, W1.
Incidentally, all recommendations on this site are made altruistically, not because I’ve been paid to provide an endorsement (the chance would be a fine thing).
More on Hidden London
Would you like to suggest additional or updated content for Hidden London? Please make contact.
New pages on Hidden London
Reopened after a radical revamp, the Cutty Sark is a 963-tonne national nautical treasure.
Redeveloped after wartime devastation, Bermondsey’s Jamaica Road finally gained a tube station in 1999.
The story of Holborn – from medieval lawyers’ colleges to fortress-like office blocks today.
On London’s rural northern edge, Bulls Cross is a great place to visit – especially if you love gardens.
Not the Hulk’s skinny brother. It’s Elizabeth Frink’s bronze statue of the Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green.