Author(s): Gillian Tindall
Crossrail, the 'Elizabeth' line, with its spacious, light-filled stations, is simply the latest way of traversing a very old east-west route through what was once country side to the old city core and out again. Visiting Stepney, Liverpool Street, Farringdon, Tottenham Court Road (alias St Giles-in-the-Fields) and the route along Oxford Street (alias the Way to Oxford and also Tyburn) this richly descriptive book traces the course of many of these historical journeys across time as well as space. Archaeology disinters layers of actual matter; one may also disinter the lives that walked where many of our streets, however altered in appearance, still run today. These people spoke the names of ancient farms, manors and slums that now belong to our squares and tube stations. They endured the cycle of the seasons as we do; they ate, drank, laughed, worked, prayed, despaired and hoped in what are essentially the same spaces we occupy today. As The Tunnel Through Time expertly shows, destruction and renewal are a constant rhythm in the city's story.
Gillian Tindall is a master of miniaturist history, well known for the quality of her writing and the scrupulousness of her research; she makes a handful of people, a few locations or a dramatic event stand for the much larger picture, as her seminal book The Fields Beneath, approached the history of Kentish Town, London. She has also written on London's Southbank (The House by the Thames), on southern English counties (Three Houses, Many Lives), and the Left Bank (Footprints in Paris), amongst other locations, as well as biography and prize-winning novels. She has lived in the same London house for over fifty years.