London Made Us

A Memoir of a Shape-Shifting City

Robert Elms

This is a journal of journeys, urban excursions which take place both now and then, in times plural and space singular; one city, many cities.
London Made Us by Robert Elms (Hardback ISBN 9781786892119) book cover

Available as Hardback, eBook, Downloadable audio

A personal journey – part anecdotal, part impressionistic – through London’s constantly shifting cityscape by BBC Radio London’s Robert Elms

‘London is a giant kaleidoscope, which is forever turning. Take your eye off it for more than a moment and you’re lost.’

Robert Elms has seen his beloved city change beyond all imagining. London in his lifetime has morphed from a piratical, still bomb-scarred playground, to a swish cosmopolitan metropolis. Motorways driven through lost communities, murder miles becoming estate agents’ dreams, accents changing, towers appearing. Yet still it remains to him the greatest place on earth.

Elms takes us back through time and place to myriad Londons. He is our guide through a place that has seen scientific experiments conducted in subterranean lairs, a small community declare itself an independent nation and animals of varying exoticism roam free through its streets; a place his great-great-grandfather made the Elms’ home over a century ago and a city that has borne witness to epoch- and world-changing events.


London Made Us is a marvellously detailed and wonderfully evocative memoir of London trembling on the border of extinction. Our tears and dreams are made of this”
Peter Ackroyd

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“This great city of ours has been truly blessed with some notable social and historical chroniclers … Robert Elms is a worthy addition in my humble opinion. This book will quite literally give the reader, whether London-born or not, the most fascinating in-depth history lesson of my beloved city (warts an’ all) to date. The reading of this book should be made a compulsory addition to the curriculum of every state and private school in the capital”
Norman Jay Mbe

“[Robert Elms’] observations are fresh, incisive and sometimes revelatory … His love of his city shines from every page”
observer

“A love letter to the capital … Part memoir, part cultural history, it sees him embarking on a voyage through the London of his youth and that of his forebears while assessing the city of today … He offers warm and often vivid snapshots of the capital of the ’60s and ’70s”
guardian

“Robert Elms’s bright, sparky, self-aware homage to his home … Elms writes as he speaks … His voice surfs on waves of sentimental passion and it, too, conjures up a vanishing world”
times Literary Supplement


Robert Elms

Robert Elms is a broadcaster and writer, well-loved for his eponymous radio show on BBC Radio London. Elms started out as a journalist, writing for The Face and NME. He is a Londoner through and through, growing up in West London and living in the city for most of his life.

The Robert Elms Show is a celebration of every aspect of the tumultuous city of London. He interviews Londoners – famous and non-famous – and every week looks at all sides of the city, be that architecture, language, music, clothes and more.

Elms is the author of two previous works of non-fiction, The Way We Wore: A Life in Threads and Spain: A Portrait After the General, and a novel, In Search of the Crack. He lives in London with his wife and children.

@RobertElms