After the 2012 Olympics London once again entered a period of radical change, one that some people came to see as a battle for the very soul of one of the greatest cities in the world. John Rogers embarked on a series of journeys and encounters in a quest to understand what was going on.
In Welcome to New London John Rogers invites us to join him on a captivating voyage through the ever-changing landscapes and communities of this iconic city. As a follow-up to This Other London, Welcome to New London continues Rogers’ exploration of the city from a unique perspective.
The story begins in 2013 as the Olympic village in Stratford transitioned to become a new permanent settlement, and the Stratford City plan became a reality. This excursion sparks an exploration of the Olympic Park and its surrounding areas, where a wave of development is reshaping the Lower Lea Valley.
The narrative seamlessly weaves through various facets of London’s transformation, from the Focus E15 Mothers’ occupation of homes on Carpenters Estate, a poignant symbol of the housing crisis, to the global attention garnered by campaigns like Save Soho and Save Tin Pan Alley. The book also chronicles the author’s involvement in efforts to help residents of the Sweets Way Estate and other housing campaigns, offering readers an intimate look at the human stories behind London’s changing landscape.
Intriguingly, Rogers delves into the city’s ancient history following a chance conversation with a Pearly Punk King on the rooftop of the old Foyles building. This encounter takes him through Epping Forest to the prehistory of London in the Upper Lea Valley, unearthing Bronze Age burial mounds and their significance in understanding London’s historical roots and its enduring connection to its past. Rogers embarks on a series of walks with acclaimed writer Iain Sinclair, providing a thought-provoking commentary on London’s future. And then somehow the United Nations sent him to Peckham to explore the concept of the ‘Open City,’ tying together the book’s themes and returning to the Olympic Park as a focal point. Welcome to New London is not just a book about a city; it’s a vivid, personal account of a city in flux, where the author’s passion for exploration and his commitment to bearing witness to change converge. With its richly detailed chapters and thought-provoking commentary, this book is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of one of the world’s greatest cities.
“An invaluable and informed super-tour by the Cobbett of YouTube. As immediately readable and engrossing as a Rogers film.” — Iain Sinclair.