Urban history ephemera: a London A-Z turns up in Westgarth

My local polling place for elections in Melbourne is All Saints Parish Hall, which has an excellent charity shop. It’s become a tradition to spend some time going through their excellent book collection after I’ve voted. I’ve bought quite a few E.P. Thompson and Raymond Williams books from them over the years, and after voting in the federal by-election in March, I came across this very battered and well used London A-Z.

A cursory look suggests this was used during the late 1950s and early 1960s to plan more than one trip to London, with the owner filling the margins with notes, dates and appointments using red, blue and black ballpoint pen. This A-Z was obviously not just a souvenir but a well used tool that made it back to Melbourne with its owner. The West End tourist sites are heavily marked on the maps, but there are also some less obvious choices.

I used to have a collection of old A-Zs which didn’t survive the move back to Melbourne, so it was particularly lovely to find this one so locally and bearing such extensive personal marks of use.

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