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Summary

Best-selling author Christopher Winn takes us on a captivating journey around London to discover the unknown tales of our capital's history. Travelling through the villages and districts that make up the world's most dynamic metropolis, I Never Knew That About London unearths the hidden gems of legends, firsts, inventions, adventures and birthplaces that shape the city's compelling and at times turbulent past.

See the Chelsea river views that inspired Turner in his final years, and find out where London's first nude statue is. Explore London's finest country house in Charlton, and unearth the secrets of the Mother of Parliaments. Spy out the village that gave its name to a car and the Russian word for railway station. Discover which church steeple gave us the design of the traditional wedding cake, where the sandwich was invented, and where in Bond Street you can see London's oldest artefact. Visit the house where Handel and Jimi Hendrix both lived. Climb the famous 311 steps of the Monument, go from East to West and back again at Greenwich and fly the world's biggest big wheel.

Brimming with facts, stories and snippets providing a spellbinding insight into the history of London, this beautiful listen is guaranteed to inform and amuse in equal measure.

Christopher Winn's first book was the best-selling I Never Knew That About England. A freelance writer and collector of trivia for over 20 years, he has worked with Terry Wogan and Jonathan Ross and sets quiz questions for television as well as for the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph.

He is also the associate producer of a TV series by ITV on Great Britain, airing in 2014. His website is http://www.i-never-knew-that.com.

©2007 Christopher Winn (P)2015 Audible, Ltd

Critic reviews

"A delightful and informative addition to the capital's literary legacy... I Never Knew That About London will not fail to enhance months, even years, of gentle urban exploration.... Any number of morning or weekend outings can be constructed from these rich pages.... Winn's touch is always light, and his knowledge is never overbearing, so the selections and observations remain unfailingly interesting." (Rory MacLean, Guardian Online)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Informative good book

Great and interesting facts about London, but very fast paced and a lot to take in. That said a fascinating insight.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting

Interesting - especially if you know London. The reader has a pleasant, clear voice. A slight irritation is that measurements are given in both imperial and metric units: "the arch is x feet (y metres) wide,"etc, over and over again. At least Scotland Yard is not referred to as "Scotland 89.3 centimetres"!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Excellent listen

Enjoyable & makes listening like an interesting history lesson you will want hear again & again. With this book you can have a short or long session.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Leisurely guide to London

I liked the information , the pace of the book and the narration , it was an interesting listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Every few seconds...

This is a gem of a book. Seeing the taxi icon, I initially worried that it might be mere pub quiz fodder. However, it's a virtual tour of the city, along the river. There really are fascinating facts every few seconds. Apart from historical events and people there are many fascinating explanations of place names and the origins of popular expressions e.g. at sixes and sevens - no spoilers here.
So frequent were the temptations to rewind that I decided to buy the Kindle version of the book so that I could keep listening and do any 'reference work' later using Kindle's search facility.
To borrow Ian McEwan's phrase, there were so many 'detonations of cognition' that I imagine I'll revisit this book again, either in Audible or Kindle format, but more likely both. I look forward to exploring Christopher Winn's other books.
Timothy Bentinck does a fine job of narrating.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Michel
  • Swanley, United Kingdom
  • 17-02-18

What a lot you don't know about London.

So informative. Well written and very well read. This will increase your enjoyment, next time you visit London.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Loved every minute of it.

Educational and fun. I learnt so much about London's areas and recommend it to everyone.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting but have a map of London with you

Generally meet expectations but certain facts were repeated, almost verbatim, which made me think I had repeated a chapter.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Some glaring omissions but lots of good stuff

Some fascinating stuff but, I found the list like approach irritating on occasions and there are some extraordinary omissions.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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enjoyable

An enjoyable easy listen with some surprising information. Just the job to keep me entertained while I sew

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  • Sean O'Skea
  • 21-08-16

I never cared to know that about London.

I Never Knew That About London by Christopher Winn is well read by Timothy Bentinck and is a mildly diverting listen for those interested in London’s long history. It is organized by neighborhood and can be hard to follow especially in the audio version without the benefit of page layout clues.

It is basically a long list of random facts about London locations organized only by their rough proximity. The information can be extremely esoteric. Along the lines of, “On this street lived Terry Dunno the drummer for an early 60s band you’ve never heard of, as well as John Whosit the green-grocer credited with introducing the avocado to London in 1912. Both houses were demolished in 1970.”

Christopher Winn frequently references the locations for film shoots, but they tend to be rather obvious such as, “Notting Hill drew international attention as the setting for the 1999 movie, Notting Hill.” Or so obscure you will wonder why he included them such as his several references to locations for the 2003 film Johnny English.

I could imagine a Londoner picking up this book at the library and learning a few interesting facts about their neighborhood to share at the pub but it’s far too trivial for anyone interested in an actual history. On Audible try London a Short History of the Greatest City in the World from the Great Courses or A. N. Wilsons’ very brief but compelling London A History. For the tourist looking for greater depth of understanding the excellent Rough Guide to London (not on Audible) gives historical context, points out hidden oddities and obscure sites, as well as giving you the practical information you need to visit the city. This guide book is written with more context and humor than Mr Winn manages.

I Never Knew That About London is entertaining and in a scattered way, informative, but it feels more like sitting down and reading the questions and answers off Trivial Pursuit cards than anything you will remember once its ten hours are over.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Joanna C. Hinga
  • 22-11-15

Boring

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Disjointed and generally dull. If I hadn't been born in london, this book would not make me want to visit the place.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful