About Hidden London

Some background information about this website, and the person behind it

Horniman Museum totem pole
Horn­i­man Muse­um totem pole

Now in its thir­teenth 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).

Hid­den Lon­don now has arti­cles on more than 750 Lon­don local­i­ties, most­ly with greater his­tor­i­cal detail than in Cham­bers Lon­don Gazetteer. I’ve also added some orig­i­nal arti­cles on micro-local­i­ties that did­n’t appear in the book, and I try to keep all the con­tent as up-to-date as pos­si­ble. 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 the con­tents of Hid­den Lon­don are at present selec­tive, so you may not find every place you seek. One day, I hope not to have to say that.

All the Gazetteer pages include a map and at least one pic­ture. A minor­i­ty of the pho­tos on Hid­den Lon­don weren’t tak­en by me, and these are cred­it­ed accord­ing­ly. All the bor­rowed images are licensed for reuse under Cre­ative Com­mons licences and most of them are sourced from Geo­graph. On the sub­ject of images, I’d also like to add a caveat bor­rowed from the admirable web­site Lon­don Remem­bers: “Be aware that Lon­don actu­al­ly has more cars, more rain and less sun than our pho­tos show.”

A sec­ondary focus of Hid­den Lon­don is the pre­sen­ta­tion of a series of arti­cles on less­er-known attrac­tions with qual­i­ties that make them 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 in The Guide at irreg­u­lar inter­vals, so please come back every few weeks to see the lat­est.

Hid­den Lon­don also includes some short­er, unin­dexed arti­cles called ‘Nuggets’, a list of links to oth­er Lon­don web­sites and very pop­u­lar pages on the geog­ra­phy of Lon­don foot­ball, the bor­oughs of Lon­don and the pro­nun­ci­a­tion of Lon­don place names.

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 £3 a day). Not all the ads on Hid­den Lon­don are intend­ed to earn a lit­tle rev­enue; there are also a few pro bono mes­sages dot­ted around the site, includ­ing those for that wor­thy – and con­vivial – club Lon­don His­to­ri­ans.

About the author

Hid­den Lon­don is researched, writ­ten, designed and (most­ly) pho­tographed by me, Russ Wil­ley.

The man behind Hidden London
The man behind Hid­den Lon­don

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 – espe­cial­ly web design – 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.

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.

Technical acknowledgements

Hid­den Lon­don has been cre­at­ed using the Word­Press con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem and the (exten­sive­ly cus­tomised) Col­or­Mag 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 Evo. 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. I do get a reduc­tion in the site’s host­ing fee if you click a link to Evo and sub­se­quent­ly sign up with them, but I’d rec­om­mend them with or with­out that bonus – not least because on one occa­sion they had Hid­den Lon­don back up and run­ning 90 min­utes after I’d caused a seem­ing­ly irrecov­er­able, site-wide fatal error (by installing a Word­Press update that was incom­pat­i­ble with the theme I was then using) and failed to back up the files before­hand. Very recent­ly, they got the site back online even more quick­ly, after I’d done anoth­er sil­ly thing. My IT skills are not what they should be.