London Uncovered is the City’s Handbook of Forgotten Space

In a departure from his usual practice in the fields of fine art and advertising, renowned photographer and lifelong Londoner Peter Dazeley has a side-project. It’s no secret, and has in fact already spawned one highly successful secret-spilling publication, London Unseen, a photographic project that explores London’s charming and history-drenched underbelly. The second instalment, London Uncovered – Sixty Unusual Places to Explore, is the coffee-table book providing the last word in “hidden gem” travel culture, detailing dozens of truly hidden and truly remarkable historical and cultural sites, photographed by Peter with accompanying potted histories by collaborator Mark Daly.

Old CLients Lasts John Lobb Ltd
Old CLients Lasts John Lobb Ltd

“Many readers of London Unseen told me of their frustration and disappointment in being unable to visit some of the locations,” Peter explains of his first book, and so London Uncovered, featuring exclusively places to which the readers can realistically gain access, was born. Focusing both on the spaces as a whole, and the idiosyncratic details that give the spaces the vintage charm that so many have come to associate with the UK capital, Peter’s photographic survey is a catalogue of the truly overlooked facets of a complex city that only the hardened Londoner could possibly find out.

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel LondonGrandStaircase
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel LondonGrandStaircase

We caught up with him to learn a bit more about the tricks of his trade.

The Plus: Are any of these places haunts of yours?
Peter Dazeley:
I visit the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel from time to time, and have always been stunned by its amazing Grand Staircase. The Charterhouse has amazing history and architecture, I have a friend who lives there and it is an oasis in such a busy city. When I want a bit of peace and quiet from London’s hectic life, especially in the Spring, I will go for a wander around Isabella Plantation, in Richmond Park.

The Undercroft Lincolns Inn Chapel The Honourable Society of Lincolns Inn
The Undercroft Lincolns Inn Chapel The Honourable Society of Lincolns Inn

TP: How do you find out about these spots?
PD:
As a 68 year old born and bred Londoner I have spent my life discovering my wonderful city. And the book has given me a brilliant way to share this with the rest of the world.

TP: Were any of these spaces particularly interesting to explore as a photographer?
PD:
Backstage at the theatres was lots of fun. Apsley House, No.1 London is magnificent: a bygone world of the Duke of Wellington.

Wiltons Music Hall
Wiltons Music Hall

TP: How does your approach to photographing spaces differ from your other work?
PD:
The lovely thing is that I get to please myself without an art director or curator looking over my shoulder. I shoot what I love, and I hope that the pictures reflect this.

TP: What do you hope this book achieves?
PD:
The idea of London Uncovered is to encourage tourists and lovers of London, its architecture, and history, to explore and discover these wonderful locations for themselves. In this digital age it is great to encourage people to get outside and have an adventure.

The Blackfriar Pub
The Blackfriar Pub

TP: As a lifelong Londoner, how do you think these spaces might change in future?
PD:
Part of my idea is to make people aware of what is out there and with this awareness help protect and record these amazing locations, as they stand in the 21st Century, for generations to come.

TP: Any other cities you’d particularly like to investigate for hidden gems?
PD:
I’m open to ideas, perhaps your readers should suggest where I go next!

Saint Bartholomew the Great - The oldest Church in London
Saint Bartholomew the Great – The oldest Church in London

TP: Top three places in London that you love the most?
PD:
Oh what a question, how can I choose. If you twist my arm I would say Wilton’s, the oldest grand music hall in the world; Rivoli Ballroom, which is like walking back into the 1950s; and John Lobb, the extraordinary bootmakers in St James.

St Thomas Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garret from viewing gallery
St Thomas Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garret from viewing gallery

St Mary-le-bow Bow Bells Belfry
St Mary-le-bow Bow Bells Belfry

Rivoli Ballroom_Copyright Peter Dazeley
Rivoli Ballroom_Copyright Peter Dazeley

NormandsfieldTheatre From Balcony
NormandsfieldTheatre From Balcony

Isabella Plantation_Richmond Park5
Isabella Plantation_Richmond Park

Library_The Honourable Society of Lincolns Inn
Library_The Honourable Society of Lincolns Inn

Eltham Palace The Entrance Hall
Eltham Palace The Entrance Hall

Apsley House No1 London End View of The Waterloo Gallery
Apsley House No1 London End View of The Waterloo Gallery

Charterhouse_the norfolk cloister
Charterhouse_the norfolk cloister

Centre Court All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
Centre Court All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club

London Uncovered is available now from Frances Lincoln.

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