Skip to main content

Shaping London: The patterns and forms that make the metropolis




Shaping London: The patterns and forms that make the metropolis

Sir Terry Farrell

ISBN: 978-0-470-69996-6 October 2009 288 Pages


In this wholly new and dynamic view of London, Farrell looks beyond the contribution of individual buildings to the city. He creates a larger, more exciting frame, charting how the capital’s messy and complex shape has been hewn out of a series of layers – natural and manmade, so the Thames and the natural landscape gets as much attention as the railway infrastructure, the roads and the canals. This provides a whole series of revelations that allow us to see the city afresh: How might the natural bends in the river have impacted where and what was built? How have the Thames’ tributaries affected historic boundaries and development, played out in the estates of Mayfair? How is the Roman plan for the city of London still discernible in today’s street patterns?

Illustrated with original sketches, maps, archive photographs and paintings, this book provides a vibrant and intriguing collage of London’s patterns and its history.


•             The Thames at West London, Central London, Docklands and the Estuary

•             Tributaries

•             Canals

•             Railways

•             The London Underground

•             The natural landscape



The River: 'Liquid History'.

Rural Upper Thames.

The Urban Thames.

The Docklands.

Estuary Thames: London's Engine Room.

The Tributaries.

London's Infrastructure: Inventing the Metropolis.



The Tube - London Underground.

London's Roads and Pavements: Emerging Conflicts.

Inner Roads.

Outer Roads.

Pedestrians, Cyclists and Buses.

Occupying the Land.

Landscapes, Parks and Gardens.

Conclusion: London's Urbiculture.

Masterplanning and place-making work by Terry Farrell.

Bibliography by Chapter.


Picture Credits.