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London

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Welcome to Big Venice: How London became a tourist-trap city

10 August 2013

Queuing to gain admittance to the pavement of Westminster Bridge on a ferociously hot Sunday afternoon recently, I found myself trapped. Pinioned by a road to one side, a stall… Read more

‘Good things come to 
those who wait' Photo: William Brinson

‘Like a concentration camp run by KFC’: Tanya Gold visits Shake Shack

10 August 2013

Shake Shack is a hamburger restaurant in Covent Garden market. It came from New York and it is as needy and angry and angry-needy as America itself; it is, I… Read more

This photograph brought to you by Dairylea. (Also: Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Tanya Gold on eating at the Shard

27 July 2013

What to say about the Shard that isn’t said by the fact it is 1,020 feet high and looks like a slightly elongated cheese triangle, and that it is designed… Read more

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Rory Sutherland: Don't abolish The Knowledge

20 July 2013

Now that most taxi drivers use satnavs, should ‘the Knowledge’ be abolished? Shouldn’t we ditch the requirement that all London black cab drivers spend several years acquiring an insanely detailed… Read more

Inside The Victorian Graveyard Of The Glasgow Necropolis

Recycled graves – coming soon to a cemetery near you

15 June 2013

Two marble graves are side by side. One is grey and encrusted, with moss growing over the top. The other is smooth and shiny white. It looks new but, in… Read more

The figure of the flâneur, captured by Degas in ‘Place de la Concorde’, had its origin in Mr Spectator

Tales of Two Cities, by Jonathan Conlin - review

15 June 2013
Tales of Two Cities: Paris, London and the Birth of the Modern City Jonathan Conlin

Atlantic Books, pp.320, £25, ISBN: 9781848870260

In Jonathan Conlin’s Tales of Two Cities the little acknowledged but hugely significant histoire croisée of two rival metropoles gets a long overdue airing. For, like it or not, London… Read more

25 May 2013

Stay Conservative Sir: Dr John Hyder-Wilson wrote (Letters, 11 May) of my calls to ‘shift Tory party policy rightward’ to meet a threat from Ukip, which he felt was inconsistent… Read more

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Tanya Gold reviews STK London

18 May 2013

STK is a steakhouse at the bottom of the ME Hotel on the Aldwych. (This is a real name for a real hotel. The cult of individualism has finally reached… Read more

Grocery

18 May 2013

Was Margaret Thatcher brought up in a grocery? I wouldn’t say so. The Americans would. I’d call her father’s shop in Grantham a grocer’s. He sold grocery. Yet I saw… Read more

The symbolism of the cemetery: the draped urn, popular among the Victorians, is usually taken to mean that the soul has departed the shrouded body for its journey to heaven

How to Read a Graveyard, by Peter Stanford - review

4 May 2013
How to Read a Graveyard Peter Stanford

Bloomsbury, pp.263, £16.99, ISBN: 9781441174777

Peter Stanford likes cemeteries. Daily walks with his dog around a London graveyard acclimatised him, while the deaths of his parents set him wondering about customs of mourning and places… Read more

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Tanya Gold reviews Potato Merchant

4 May 2013

Exmouth Market is a small collection of paved streets near the Farringdon Travelodge, which specialises in monomaniacal restaurants and has a blue plaque dedicated to the dead clown Joseph Grimaldi.… Read more

Barry Humphries

13 April 2013

Whenever feminists have complained in my presence about neglect of female high-achievers, other than rock singers and courtesans, I always like to mention brilliant Margaret Thatcher. It always makes them… Read more

Ali G at MTV Europe Awards 2001

From Cockney to Jafaican

23 March 2013

My mother always had a keen ear for slang and lazy pronunciation when I was growing up. Because my siblings and I were working class and attended an absolutely dreadful… Read more

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The birth of the Walking Book Club

9 March 2013

In they stride, in muddy trainers or wellies, swirls of cold air caught on their clothes, children in off-road buggies, dogs bedraggledly in tow. I’ve always been thrilled that so… Read more

INVESTMENT

Investment special: Gaining from a housing recovery

9 March 2013

The long period of dormancy for Britain’s housing market looks as if it is coming to an end — though there are huge regional differences. Central London remains exceptional, with… Read more

Tanya Gold reviews Balthazar

9 March 2013

Balthazar is a golden cave in Covent Garden, in the old Theatre (Luvvie) Museum, home to dead pantomime horses and Christopher Biggins’s regrets. It is a copy of a New… Read more

At least Prince Charles should be happy with the roof of the new Design Museum in Holland Park

The new Design Museum: Prince Charles will prefer it. But should we?

2 March 2013

Twenty-five years ago I went to St James’s Palace to ask the Prince of Wales if he would open the new Design Museum. Before us was the model of the… Read more

Hailo matters more than HS2 – but we just can’t see it

2 March 2013

One of Britain’s exam boards was attacked last year for a question in a GCSE religious studies examination: ‘Explain briefly why some people are prejudiced against Jews.’ Is this really… Read more

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Rus in urbe

The London Square: Gardens in the Midst of Town Todd Longstaffe-Gowan

Yale, pp.304, £30

One of the pleasures of my week is walking across St James’s Square. The slightly furtive sense of trespassing as one opens the ironwork gates; the decision as to whether… Read more

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Bookends: … and the inner tube

28 April 2012

In the early 1990s, when Boris Johnson was making his name as the Daily Telegraph’s Brussels correspondent, Sonia Purnell was his deputy, and last year she published a biography of… Read more

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Last of the swagmen

17 March 2012
Spitalfields Life the Gentle Author

Saltyard Books, pp.448, 20

I have hitherto resisted my wife’s frequent recommendations that I should read a daily blog about the life of the denizens of Spitalfields, but, now that they have been published… Read more

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The making of the modern metropolis

18 February 2012
London in the Eighteenth Century: ‘A Great and Monstrous Thing’ Jerry White

The Bodley Head, pp.682, 25

Why in 1737 did Dr Johnson choose to leave his home in Lichfield in the Midlands and travel to London to make a fresh start as a writer, asks Jerry… Read more

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The past is another city

14 January 2012
Panoramas of Lost London: Work, Wealth, Poverty and Change, 1870-1945 Philip Davies

English Heritage, pp.320, £40

This absorbing book is — in both format and content — a much expanded follow-up to the same author’s very successful pictorial anthology Lost London of 2010. It replicates some… Read more

The Ritz in the Blitz

3 December 2011
The West End Front Matthew Sweet

Faber, pp.362, 20

‘It was like a drug, a disease,’ said the legendary Ritz employee Victor Legg of the institution he served for half a century. There’s something magical about London’s grand hotels.… Read more

Chagrin d’amour

19 November 2011
The Horror of Love: Nancy Mitford and Gaston Palewski in Paris and London Lisa Hilton

Orion, pp.263, 20

The horror of love: Nancy Mitford’s first fiancé was gay; her husband, Peter Rodd, was feckless, spendthrift and unsympathetic, and her great amour, Gaston Palewski, was endlessly unfaithful. She met… Read more