My London Cheat Sheet (Research List)

Australian speculative fiction writer, Narrelle Harris, recently wrote a blog post on A Cheat Sheet to London, with useful information links to aide in writing stories set in London. I’ve now added a few more books and websites to my ‘go-to’ research list. Fortunately I have visited once, albeit a flying visit. Still, writing steampunk stories based in London is a challenge for me – being a non-Londoner myself.

A big thank you to Narrelle for sharing her lists used to write her most recent Sherlock Holmes story, The Adventure of the Colonial Boy. Here’s my list (concentrating on 19th century London) in return.

Where am I?

Though I write alternate history and fiddle with London’s layout, I base my stories on maps of nineteenth century London. I use a combination of webpages and books to research the architecture and walk the streets of my London.


House and Home and Social London

Victoria and the Royal Court

Murder & Mayhem – history and technology of Crime

Share your cheat sheet/research list

Now it’s your turn. What resources (books, webpages) do you recommend for the non-Londoner writing stories set in London?

Narrelle Harris is the author of Walking in the Shadows, The Opposite of Life and, more recently penned a Sherlock Holmes mystery, The Adventure of the Colonial Boy published by Improbable Press.

 Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle. All Rights Reserved.

3 thoughts on “My London Cheat Sheet (Research List)”

  1. Karen as a Londoner feel free to ask me any request for local info that might help – Pie and Mash shops, Pubs, etc…I am old enough to remember using Victorian pennies with the old Queen on them.
    When Bryce did his recce for DEAD LONDON the following is what I sent him and includes some not so obvious gems …..Oh I would add the Lamb and Flag to the list of pubs by the way…..
    I am sure he would not mind me sharing for the benefit of the art!! Yours Ever Steve

    This is my list based upon places that are of a Steampunk/Victorian flavour or older. I would expect you to have visited Westminster Abbey and poets corner, St Paul’s Cathedral ( Nelson is buried directly under the dome in the crypt. The most honoured spot in the whole of the UK. Wellington is nearby as well). The Tower of London, The Monument,County Hall (Southbank), Buckingham Palace and the Royal Mews.
    Ok that is the obvious places. Now the slightly less obvious:
    The Victoria and Albert Museum – Victorian clothes and design
    The Science Museum – Steam trains and engines
    Apsley House – Number One London, Home of the Duke of Wellington
    The Clink prison – clink street
    The Citie of Yorke – Holborn – Victorian pub,
    The Princess Louise – High Holborn – Victorian Pub (listed lavatories!)
    Gordon’s winebar – Villiers’ Street (Edward VIII ‘s lair)
    Horniman’s Museum, Forest Hill, South London, My Steampunk cathedral, Taxidermy,Musical Instruments and a collection from around the world.
    Crystal palace park (the remains of the great exhibition) and the Dinosaurs
    Kew gardens ( splendid palm houses)
    Wiltons Music Hall – the oldest theatre/music hall in Lonodn and being restored to its former glory.
    The Cheshire Cheese pub – fleet street
    The Samuel Pepys , Riverside pub
    The Tower Bridge and its workings
    Covent Garden market (touristy but Victorian)
    The Royal Observatory – Greenwich (take a boat trip and climb the hill)
    The Maritime museum – Greenwich
    The Trafalgar Inn – Greenwich
    Brunel’s foot tunnel Greenwich
    The Cutty Sark – Tea clipper Greenwich
    The Army museum Chelsea
    The Guards Chapel and Museum, Birdcage walk
    The Imperial War Museum – Lambeth
    The inns of court Temple
    The inns of court , Lincolns Inn Fields,
    Sir John Soanes Museum
    The Gefferye Museum
    The Wallace collection.
    The Ship and Shovel pub
    The Prince Albert pub Victoria
    The Albert Hall and the Albert memorial
    Burglington arcade
    Belgrave square

  2. Thanks for sharing! I’ll add a few of my own. I visited quite a lot of the places Steve suggested, but I’d also add the Hunterian Museum (and the book The Knife Man) which gives us a close look at medical history in London

    as well as the Old Operating Theater (which also has a virtual tour on the website so you can visit without traveling to London).

    London by Paul Ackroyd
    The Victorian City by Judith Flanders

    Victorian England

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