Appreciating an icon: the Tower of London

November 2, 2012 6:34 pm

Tower: An Epic History of the Tower of London

Exclusive interview with author Nigel Jones and a review of his book covering the history of the Tower of London

Rating: 4 stars

By Gabrielle Pantera

“I always wanted to write about the Tower of London – the most iconic place and the oldest inhabited secular building in all England,” says Tower author Nigel Jones. “It was built by William the Conqueror after he captured England in 1066, and its still in use today.”

Historian Nigel Jones writes a gripping account showing the historical importance of the Tower of London. Jones uses many sources for his facts. There are 16 pages of photographs. As you read you can see the evolution of the Tower and all the different uses it had. This is perfect for any Anglophile who loves the architectural history of Britain. Jones writing is smooth and it almost reads like a novel the way he weaves the history of the Tower together.

“Encapsulating 1,000 years of history in the covers of a single book isn’t easy,” says Jones. “And the Tower has such a rich history – it’s the story of all England in a nutshell really. It’s harder knowing what to leave out than what to put in. But I’ve been fascinated by history from an early age, so it was a labor of love and I knew quite a lot before I started.”

“The Tower itself has surprisingly few original documents,” says Jones. “There’s more at the National Archives in Kew, London, an amazing amount now on the Internet, (early chronicles and so forth), and there’s a wonderful American publisher named Kessinger who print a huge range of hard-to-find books on demand. I got two rare early histories of the Tower, one written in 1830, from them.”

Jones was surprised by how many people are as fascinated with the Tower as he is. “With three million visitors a year its the UK’s top tourist attraction, bar none,” says Jones. “It’s been a prison to the elite, torture chamber, castle, armoury, jewel house where the Queen’s Crown Jewels are kept, observatory, record office, London’s zoo, a Royal Mint and much more. Kings and queens have been murdered there. It’s full of ghost and mysteries, the scene of great escapes; and the last person to die there was shot as recently as WW2 – he was a German spy called Josef Jakobs. Almost anyone who’s anyone in English history has been associated with this one building.”

I have written six previous books,” says Jones. “All history or biography ranging from WW1 to Nazi Germany, and lives of the writers Rupert Brooke and Patrick Hamilton. My problem is that I have such a wide range of interests that I’m hard to pigeonhole, but basically modern European and US history and literature.”

“I’m working on 1914 a study of the year World War One broke out and changed the world,” says Jones. “I’m also planning a sort of sequel to Tower titled Palace: an epic history of Britain’s Royal residences.”

Jones was born in Woking, Surrey – a few miles south-west of London and currently lives in Lewes.

Jones is slightly techno-phobic. “I rely on agents and publishers for internet stuff,” says Jones. “I am the founder, director and guide for a small firm that takes clients on historical holidays in Europe. Our wonderful website not built by me is www.historicaltrips.com

Tower: An Epic History of the Tower of London by Nigel Jones . Hardcover, 464 pages, Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (October 2, 2012). Language: English, ISBN: 9780312622961 $35.00

Comments are closed

More to Read...

  • BritWeek 2014 BritWeek 2014 kicks off in style

    BritWeek 2014 kicks off in style

    THE EIGHTH Annual BritWeek festival kicked off in fine California style Tuesday night with a glittering launch party at the residence of the British consul-general in Hancock Park. Stars including Seal, Jason Isaacs, Michael Sheen, Nigel Lythgoe, Cat Deeley, Dani Behr, Michael York, Mickey Dolenz,  director and socialite Amanda Eliasch and Super Nanny’s Jo Frost were on hand on a glorious spring evening for the Midsummer Night’s Dream-themed party, sponsored by BBC Worldwide, Boots, Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows and […]

    Read more →
  • Latest E-dition Sat. April 19th e-dition

    Sat. April 19th e-dition

    Tweet

    Read more →
  • BritWeek 2014 Paul Oakenfold honored at UKTI bash in Beverly Hills

    Paul Oakenfold honored at UKTI bash in Beverly Hills

    On April 23rd at 6.30pm the UKTI Business innovation awards will honor recipient Paul Oakenfold, the internationally acclaimed, globe-trotting DJ recorder producer and remixer, with a Creative Fusion Award at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, at 300 South Doheny Drive. The 5th Annual Business Innovation Awards, presented by Virgin Atlantic, celebrates outstanding achievement and innovation in Technology, Social Impact, Product Design and Business Services, and Oakenfold certainly qualifies. From his early years as a DJ in a Covent Garden Wine Bar in […]

    Read more →
  • Local News Academy Award winner Sandy Powell to speak at the Getty

    Academy Award winner Sandy Powell to speak at the Getty

    Academy Award-winning British costume designer Sandy Powell OBE will be visiting the Getty Center on April 27th to discuss photography, Victorian fashion, and costume concepts from her films, including The Young Victoria (2010). Powell will be joined in conversation with Professor Deborah Nadoolman Landis, director of the David C. Copley Center for the Study of Costume Design at UCLA. They will discuss the role of photographs and other visual sources in costume design, with particular reference to A Royal Passion: Queen […]

    Read more →
  • BritWeek 2014 Brit-Weekend at the Channel Islands Harbor

    Brit-Weekend at the Channel Islands Harbor

    BRITWEEK events are not limited to just Los Angeles and Orange Counties. The growing British presence a little to the north can also get in on the act with a “BritWeekend” scheduled next weekend (April 26-27th, from 11am-5pm) in the Channel Islands Harbor in Ventura County. The event, which is free and open to the public, will highlight British culture, art, music, high tea, swordplay and Shakespeare, classic cars and motorcycles, soccer, food and an Open Air Pub Garden. The […]

    Read more →
  • BritWeek 2014 Shakespeare at the New Roads School

    Shakespeare at the New Roads School

    A VARIED cast of gifted performers will present An Evening of Shakespeare on Friday, April 25th at 7:30pm at the Moss Theater at New Roads School in Santa Monica, General and VIP tickets are  now on sale HERE. Nineteen leading actors will perform sonnets, readings and songs to celebrate the Bard’s 450th birthday, and the evening is hosted by the performers Ioan Gruffudd (pictured) and Joely Fisher. The actors scheduled to perform are Ashley Bell, Eric Braeden, Claudia Christian, Nigel Daly, Neil Dickson, Mira Furlan, Judy Geeson, Michele […]

    Read more →
  • BritWeek 2014 British sculptor Sarah Danays showcased at Bergamot Station

    British sculptor Sarah Danays showcased at Bergamot Station

    The Robert Berman Gallery will present British sculptor and photographer Sarah Danays in conjunction with BritWeek and Month of Photography Los Angeles now through May 3rd at the Robert Berman Gallery, Project Room, Bergamot Station Arts Center, 2525 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica. Open To The Public. Danays work pays homage to centuries of anonymous sculptors, and aims to transcend time, scale, cultural and religious barriers. She meticulously photographs her sculptural work, which combine marble and alabaster hand-tooled pieces with sacred and […]

    Read more →
  • BritWeek 2014 Newport Beach Film Fest showcases three new British films

    Newport Beach Film Fest showcases three new British films

    The 15th annual Newport Beach Film Festival will dedicate an evening to celebrating British cinema, automobiles, and fashion as part of its upcoming UK Spotlight. The event will feature the West Coast Premieres of three new UK films, Belle, God Help the Girl and Jadoo and a gala reception hosted by BritWeek – OC and Ted Baker London at Jaguar/Land Rover Newport Beach. Belle, directed by Amma Asante, is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), […]

    Read more →
 

You need to log in to vote

The blog owner requires users to be logged in to be able to vote for this post.

Alternatively, if you do not have an account yet you can create one here.

Powered by Vote It Up