Skip to content

January Book Sale

January 1, 2022
by the gentle author

In 2022, we plan to commence publishing books again and we already have several exciting new titles in the pipeline.

You can help us on our way by supporting our JANUARY BOOK SALE. We only have nine titles left in the warehouse and some are on the brink of going out of print, so you can assist us clear the shelves by buying copies at half price to complete your collection, or as gifts for family and friends.

Click here and enter code ‘2022’ at checkout to get 50% discount

“As if I were being poked repeatedly in the eye with a blunt stick, I cannot avoid becoming increasingly aware of a painfully cynical trend in London architecture which threatens to turn the city into the backlot of an abandoned movie studio.”

The Gentle Author presents a humorous analysis of facadism – the unfortunate practice of destroying an old building apart from the front wall and constructing a new building behind it – revealing why it is happening and what it means.

As this bizarre architectural fad has spread across the capital, The Gentle Author has photographed the most notorious examples, collecting an astonishing gallery of images guaranteed to inspire both laughter and horror in equal measure.

Around 1900, photographer Horace Warner took a series of portraits of some of the poorest people in London – creating relaxed, intimate images that gave dignity to his subjects and producing great photography that is without comparison in his era.

Only seen by members of Warner’s family for more than a century, almost all of these breathtaking photographs are published here for the first time.

This unique collection of pictures revolutionises our view of Londoners at the end of the nineteenth century, by bringing them startlingly close and permitting us to look them in the eye.

With an introduction by The Gentle Author

“a timely reminder of all that modern Britishness encompasses” The Observer

In this first London Sikh biography, Suresh Singh tells the candid and sometimes surprising story of his father Joginder Singh who came to Spitalfields in 1949.

Joginder sacrificed a life in the Punjab to work in Britain and send money home, yet he found himself in his element living among the mishmash of people who inhabited the streets around Brick Lane.

Born and bred in London, his son Suresh became the first Punjabi punk, playing drums for Spizzenergi and touring with Siouxsie & the Banshees.

In the book, chapters of biography are alternated with Sikh recipes by Jagir Kaur.

Between the covers of this magnificent red album with a gilded cover you will discover more than 600 of the Gentle Author’s favourite pictures of London in print for the first time, setting the wonders of our modern metropolis against the pictorial delights of the ancient city, and celebrating the infinite variety of life in the capital.

This is London seen from an easterly direction – as the centre of gravity in the city has shifted, the Gentle Author of Spitalfields Life has amassed a wealth of extraordinary pictures of London with a special emphasis upon the East End.

Among the multiplicity of visual pleasures to be savoured, garnered from four centuries including our own, enjoy the ostentatious trade cards of Georgian London, the breathtaking lantern slides of Victorian London, the bizarre car crashes of Clerkenwell, the heroic Spitalfields nippers, the soulful dogs of old London, Aaron Biber, London’s oldest barber, and Barn the Spoon, the spoon carver.

Take a walk through time with the Gentle Author as your guide – be equally amazed at what has been lost of old London and charmed by the unfamiliar marvels of London today.

The Gentle Author presents a magnificent selection of pictures – many never published before – revealing the evolution of painting in the East End and tracing the changing character of the streets through the twentieth century.

“A fragment of the riches flowing from a continued fascination with London’s topography” – Evening Standard

“Harvested from the thirties to the present day, Spitalfields Life’s gorgeous collection of East End paintings is more knees-up than misery-fest” – Hackney Citizen

Among the artists included are: John Allin, S R Badmin, Pearl Binder, James Boswell, Roland Collins, Alfred Daniels, Anthony Eyton, Doreen Fletcher, Geoffrey Fletcher, Barnett Freedman, Noel Gibson, Charles Ginner, Lawrence Gowing, Harry T. Harmer, Elwin Hawthorne, Rose Henriques, Dan Jones, Nathaniel Kornbluth, Leon Kossoff, James Mackinnon, Cyril Mann, Jock McFadyen, Ronald Morgan, Grace Oscroft, Peri Parkes, Henry Silk, Harold Steggles, Walter Steggles & Albert Turpin.

A handsome photography book collecting together Colin O’Brien’s portraits of the travellers’ children in London Fields.

“These pictures record an extraordinary meeting between a photographer and a group of Irish Travellers’ children in London Fields in 1987, yet the subject of Colin O’Brien’s tender and clear-eyed photographs is no less than the elusive drama of childhood itself.”

“This small, beautiful book is an elegy to companionship. Encompassing both the everyday and the profound, it should be judged no less valid for the fact that the friend in question is a cat.” Times Literary Supplement

Anyone that has a cat will recognise the truth of this tender account by The Gentle Author.

“I was always disparaging of those who doted over their pets, as if this apparent sentimentality were an indicator of some character flaw. That changed when I bought a cat, just a couple of weeks after the death of my father. “

Filled with sentiment yet never sentimental, THE LIFE & TIMES OF MR PUSSY is a literary hymn to the intimate relationship between humans and animals.

AS Jasper’s tender memoir of growing up in the East End of London at the beginning of the twentieth century was immediately acclaimed as a classic when it was described by the Observer as ‘Zola without the trimmings.’

In this definitive new edition, A Hoxton Childhood is accompanied by the first publication of the sequel detailing the author’s struggles and eventual triumph in the cabinet-making trade, The Years After.

Illustrated with line drawings by James Boswell and Joe McLaren

The Gentle Author assembles a choice selection of CRIES OF LONDON, telling the stories of the artists and celebrated traders, and revealing the unexpected social realities contained within these cheap colourful prints produced for the mass market.

For centuries, these lively images of familiar hawkers and pedlars have been treasured by Londoners. In the capital, those who had no other means of income could always sell wares in the street and, by turning their presence into performance through song, they won the hearts of generations and came to embody the spirit of London itself.


Click here and enter code ‘2022’ at checkout to get 50% discount


3 Responses leave one →
  1. Linda Granfield permalink
    January 1, 2022

    If anyone needs encouragement, A Hoxton Childhood is a wonderful ‘read.’
    Happy 2022 to all!
    (The promise of new Spitalfields Life titles this year is a good start!)

  2. January 1, 2022

    +++ EIN FROHES NEUES JAHR 2022 +++
    +++ A HAPPY NEW YEAR 2022 +++

    let’s hope
    that this noble wish
    really come true!

    Actually really everything can only get better.

    A Happy New Year to you all!

    Love & Peace

  3. Adrienne permalink
    January 7, 2022

    East End Vernacular, what a beautiful book, from its lovely cover and binding (like a canvas) to the contents.

    I also have A Modest Living, another finely-produced book with such interesting content. I enjoyed Suresh Singh’s online talk a while ago.

    Oh, and Spitalfields Life ofc!

    I look forward to seeing the new titles

    All the best for 2022

Leave a Reply

Note: Comments may be edited. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS