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From the author of the bestselling London: The Biography, a poetic and powerful urban history of life and legend beneath London

London Under is an atmospheric, imaginative introduction to everything that goes on under London, from original springs and streams and Roman amphitheatres to Victorian sewers, gang hideouts and modern Underground stations. This book tunnels down through the geological layers, meeting the creatures, both real and fictional, that dwell in the darkness - rats and eels, monsters and ghosts.

From the Anglo-Saxon graves under St Paul's, to the hydraulic device in Kensal Green cemetery which lowered bodies into the catacombs below, to the fossils uncovered when the Victoria Line was built and the gold bars within the Bank of England's vaults, London Under takes you into a hidden world, beneath our feet.


Ackroyd is a knowledgeable and evocative guide to London’s different archaeological levels

Times Higher Education Supplement

As ever his research is meticulous, his scope expansive, his writing definitive. Every sentence is delivered with judicial gravity and command...Once again, Ackroyd shares his vision of a mythical city most do not see

Euan Ferguson, Time Out

While many authors have shone a flashlight on London's catacombs and tunnels, Ackroyd's vision is infra-red...skilled at connecting the past, present and future...For those looking for a highly readable introduction, plumb and depth to get a copy


This book is not a straightforward history of London's relationship with the clay on which it stands but a poetic invoking of what Ackroyd perceives as the diabolic terror of the earth

Claire Allfree, Metro

Other worlds lurk below London, and Ackroyd revels in them. The book is both an absorbing history of those parts of the capital that lie beneath our feet and a meditation on the meaning we give them

Literary Review

A literary, cultural and topographical sat-nav for going underground in London... With quick, deft stitches he sews the fantastical and the familiar into a macabre sampler of the city that exists beneath the feet of its citizens

The Times

London Under is written with Ackroyd's characteristic panache

Sunday Times

[A] fascinating history of the capital beneath the surface... Irresistible

Dominic Sandbrook, Financial Times

There is much here that will delight Ackroyd's many admirers

Times Literary Supplement

Ackroyd takes us through the layers of the city, lifting the covers to peer downwards

Camden New Journal

In a short but intriguing book, Ackroyd explores the idea that, beneath the surface, there has existed another world with rules and conventions of its own

Financial Times

Anyone intrigued by this tumultuous city will devour London Under in a few transporting hours... packed with revelations... Ackroyd's stylistic brilliance explains why the book remains a rattling good read

Christopher Hirst, Independent

Fascinating study of everything under London, from rats and eels to monsters and ghosts.

Lady (Five-star review)

As London's anatomist-in-chief, Peter Ackroyd turns his focus on what lies beneath the capital's surface. Peppered with erudite and literary references, Ackroyd's fluent style makes for entertaining reading

James Urquhart, Financial Times

Packed with anecdotes and fascinating trivia...Ackroyd never misses an opportunity to link this hidden realm with the underworlds of mythology

Leon Burakowski, Halesowen Chronicle

Reveals the London beneath your feet in all its fascinating – and sometimes horrifying – glory. Historian and novelist Ackroyd invests his tales of buried rivers and catacombs with enormous energy

ELLE Decoration

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    June 1, 2012


    208 pages

    RRP $22.99

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Queer City
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Three Brothers
Wilkie Collins
The English Ghost
The Canterbury Tales
The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein
Thames: Sacred River
The Fall Of Troy
The Thames Box Set
The Thames: Sacred River Part 2
The Thames: Sacred River Part 3
Brief Lives 3 - Newton
The Lambs Of London
Shakespeare - The Biography: Vol IV
Shakespeare - The Biography: Vol I
Shakespeare - The Biography: Vol III


The Story of the Jews
Queens of the Conquest
Six Minutes in May
Guns, Germs And Steel
Hitler's First Victims
White King
The Mayflower Generation
Queer City
Histories of Controversy
Sex Crimes in the Fifties
Hillsborough Voices
Australia and the Great War
Courtesan and Countess
Gimson’s Kings and Queens
Avenue Of Spies
The Making of Australia
Village of Secrets