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Book Review

Book Cover

A History of England in 100 Places (Hardback)


Author: Philip Wilkinson
Publisher: Historic England
RRP: £20.00
ISBN: 978 1 84802 509 7
Publication Date: 18 September 2018

Historic places across the country have shaped England and the world beyond. They are hotbeds of invention, industry and creativity and they bring our nation's story to life. In 2017 Historic England and Ecclesiastical launched the "Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places" campaign, designed to celebrate England's remarkable places. Guided by public nominations, 10 expert judges compiled a list of 100 places where remarkable things have happened, which in turn have helped to shape our collective identity. The final 100 selected places are all contained within this gloriously illustrated book. From the observatory in Greenwich, where the modern measurement of time began, to England's oldest inn, carved into the sandstone in Nottingham, the choices are surprising, intriguing and enlightening. Some are well known and others are less familiar, but all deserve to be celebrated as landmarks in England's history...

Ask anyone to name the most influential, or important buildings, landmarks or areas of interest in England and everyone will have their own ideas. Some, like Stonehenge, St Paul's Cathedral and the Palace of Westminster will pretty much make it on to everyone's list.

But there are some strange omissions in this publication. Conspicuous by their absence are the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Greenway (Agatha Christie's house and gardens), the Victorian dinosaurs of Crystal Palace (although Crystal Palace is included) and The Major Oak (in Nottingham's Sherwood Forest). There are no doubt countless others that were overlooked, but each of the 100 entries here are fascinating and rightly deserve their place - even if at first you might roll your eyes and wonder why a bus station or a tree (yes, I know I moaned about the lack of the Major Oak) is included. If you read each and every entry you'll soon realise there are a lot of places you need to visit.

This is a book to be flicked through; dipped in and out of. It's a shame that there wasn't an index that listed entries by county or region, as if you're on holiday it would make a great guide of the must see places in your immediate vicinity. It's ordered in sections including: Homes and Gardens; Music & Literature; Science & Discovery; Power, Protest & Progress; etc.

It's an entertaining and enlightening book. While the detail per subject isn't overly deep, it does give you enough as a starting point in case you want to delve into a little deeper research yourself.


Darren Rea

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