The edge of London in H.G Wells

November 17, 2006

More thoughts about defining the edge of suburbs (or the impossibility of doing so) –

In ‘When the Sleeper Wakes’, H.G Wells writes about how London used to have a graduated passage between town and country. See full text here, following is the quote from page 170 of the version I have: “That gradual passage of town into country through an extensive sponge of suburbs, which was so characteristic a feature of the great cities of the nineteenth century, existed no longer, Nothing remained of it but a waste of ruins here, variegated and dense with thickets of the heterogeneous growths that had once adorned the gardens of the belt, interspersed among levelled brown patches of sown ground, and verdant stretches of winter greens. The latter even spread among the vestiges of houses. but for the most part the reefs and skerries of ruins, the wreckage of suburban villas, stood among their streets and roads, queer islands amidst the levelled expanses of green and brown, abandoned indeed by the inhabitants years since, but too substantial, it seemed, to be cleared out of the way of the wholesale horticultural mechanisms of the time”

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