The Oldest House in London by Fiona Rule

Published January 16, 2023

The Oldest House in London by Fiona Rule

Book info

  • Title The Oldest House in London
  • Author Fiona Rule
  • Year 2017
  • Genre History

London's old buildings hold a wealth of clues to the city’s rich and vibrant past. The histories of some, such as the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey, are well documented. However, these magnificent, world-renowned attractions are not the only places with fascinating tales to tell. Down a narrow, medieval lane on the outskirts of Smithfield stands 41–42 Cloth Fair – the oldest house in the City of London. Fiona Rule uncovers the fascinating survival story of this extraordinary property and the people who owned it and lived in it, set against the backdrop of an ever-changing city that has prevailed over war, disease, fire and economic crises.


This was an interesting concept for a book but as I was reading, I could never decide if I was enjoying it or not. The hook for the book is following the history of London by means of the oldest house in the capital, and what historical events it has seen. I guess I might have wanted it to be a bit more domestic in places, whilst fully appreciating there’s only so much evidence out there. Even so it was interesting to think about what this house has lived through - plague, fire, various monarchs and religions, protests, rebellions, two wars, and plenty of rebuilding. Overall a decent read.

Rating: 3 / 5

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