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Peter Campbell

22 September 2011
... architecture. We saw mile after mile of terraced houses, dating from the late 1800s and early 1900s. It must have been a couple of years later that I bought a copy of London the Unique City by SteenEilerRasmussen. First published in 1934, it gives a Dane’s take on the look of London, appreciative of both its architectural and its social history, and aware of its oddities. Even at the time ...

Homely Virtues

David Cannadine

4 August 1983
London: The Unique City 
by Steen Eiler Rasmussen.
MIT, 468 pp., £7.30, May 1982, 0 262 68027 0
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Town Planning in London: The 18th and 19th Centuries 
by Donald Olsen.
Yale, 245 pp., £25, October 1982, 0 300 02914 4
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The English Terraced House 
by Stefan Muthesius.
Yale, 278 pp., £12.50, November 1982, 0 300 02871 7
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London as it might have been 
by Felix Barker and Ralph Hyde.
Murray, 223 pp., £12.50, May 1982, 0 7195 3857 2
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... built in a fit of absence of mind. The strands of its fabric (like the fabric of its Strand) were distinctly unimpressive. The first 20th-century writer to confront this conundrum historically was SteenEilerRasmussen, a Danish architect, town-planner and Anglophile, whose book, London: The Unique City, was published in 1934, and is now deservedly, if tardily reprinted. As a lifelong observer of ...


Valerie Pearl

4 February 1982
The Shell Guide to the History of London 
by W.R. Dalzell.
Joseph, 496 pp., £12.50, July 1981, 0 7181 2015 9
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... enacted – the changing scene expressing an unchanging London, the spirit of the place, the theme of the play? There have been some fine achievements. Few have described London so perceptively as SteenEilerRasmussen, who saw it in 1937 as The Unique City. More recently, both David Piper in his Companion Guide (1964) and Christopher Hibbert in Biography of a City (1969) have written with elegance ...

Aldermanic Depression

Andrew Saint: London is good for you

4 February 1999
London: A History 
by Francis Sheppard.
Oxford, 442 pp., £25, November 1998, 0 19 822922 4
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London: More by Fortune than Design 
by Michael Hebbert.
Wiley, 50 pp., £17.99, April 1998, 0 471 97399 8
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... of new patterns in business and living, and turned into mere expedients for grappling with the muddle. Hebbert himself is still partial to the formulation invented by the Danish planning historian SteenEilerRasmussen in the Thirties and ratled out in corny guidebooks ever since, that London is just a collection of overgrown villages. This is repeated to prevent people looking into the urban abyss ...

Don’t teach me

Gillian Darley: Ernö Goldfinger

1 April 2004
Ernö Goldfinger: The Life of an Architect 
by Nigel Warburton.
Routledge, 197 pp., £30, November 2003, 0 415 25853 7
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... claimed that it was Loos who had taught him to value the formal elements and subtle proportions of the Georgian street, so hated by the Victorians but much celebrated by such overseas observers as SteenEilerRasmussen, whose London: The Unique City was published in English in 1937, not long before Willow Road was completed. Later, when designing for infill sites, Goldfinger remarked on the ...

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