St Giles-in-the-Fields: Preston and Saint

St Giles-in-the-Fields: Preston and Saint

Brown Dog Books
Regular price
Sale price
Regular price
Sold out
Unit price
Tax included.

The History of A London Parish
Rebecca Preston and Andrew Saint 

St Giles-in-the-Fields: History of a London Parish resurrects a neglected area of Central London, rich in history and incident. St Giles is at the centre of one of the greatest cities in the world – but you’ve probably never heard of it. But it is an area with a dense and tangled history that tells us a great deal about the experience of living in London across the span of time from the twelfth century to today. This history has rarely been glamorous, but it is packed with the stories of lives touched by many of the most momentous events in British history. 

St Giles began as a mediaeval leper hospital. After the Reformation it grew into one of London’s largest parishes, stretching east to Lincoln’s Inn Fields and north to Bedford Square and Bloomsbury. Aristocrats, poets, musicians, artists and lawyers lived here. St Giles was notorious too for its slums – notably the Rookery where Centre Point now stands. Its streets also boasted a hive of industry, printing, brewing and crafts. Later came music shops in Charing Cross Road and Denmark Street. 

As its population dwindled, St Giles lost heart. But vitality returned from the 1970s, with the renaissance of nearby Covent Garden and the boom of office employment. Far more than a fringe part of Covent Garden, Soho or Bloomsbury, this book re-establishes the individuality of St Giles, centred on its noble and enduring Georgian parish church.

Rebecca Preston is a historian with the English Heritage London blue plaques scheme. She has previously worked at the Survey of London and at Royal Holloway, University of London. She has published on the built environment, landscape and gardens, and housing and the home in Britain. 

Andrew Saint has been studying and writing about London for most of his career. He was formerly. General Editor of the Survey of London. His latest book, London 1870–1914: A City at its Zenith, was published in 2021.