PD Smith

London’s Squares & Time Travel

19 May 2012 | cities, Einstein, London, Reviewing | Post a comment

I've just reviewed two very different but fascinating books: The London Square: Gardens in the Midst of Town, by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan and Build Your Own Time Machine: The Real Science of Time Travel, by Brian Clegg. I've always thought London's garden squares are one of the most beautiful features of the capital (especially Russell Square garden, above), so I was delighted to read Todd Longstaffe-Gowan's beautifully illustrated book: "Squares are arguably London's most significant contribution to the development of urban form (there are some 300 in Greater London). Inspired by the Italian piazza, they were introduced in the 17th century as a way of creating open spaces at the centre of London's new residential neighbourhoods. But it was not until the following century that their gardens were enclosed and the gates locked against the 'rudeness of the populace'." Read the rest of the review at the Guardian. Brian Clegg's study of time travel is an excellent survey of an endlessly fascinating subject. A delight for all epicures of duration. My review was in the TLS. Read it here.

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