That headline isn't written lightly. Having read or browsed hundreds of London guide books (and even written a few), we've rarely seen anything as artfully put together as Women's London by Rachel Kolsky.
This is a book celebrating the many achievements of female Londoners, past and present. The subjects include the super-famous, such as the Pankhursts, Virginia Woolf, Margaret Thatcher and royalty. But it's the stories of lesser-known people that really bring the book alive.
Who's heard of Lilian Lindsay, the first woman to qualify as a dentist, in 1895? Did you know that the historically stuffy Royal Academy had two female founders, Angelica Kauffman and Mary Moser? Can you name the 'Mother of World Peace', twice nominated for the Nobel Prize, who lived in Bow?
The book weaves together guided walks, short essays and maps with hundreds of colour photographs. Kolsky is a Blue Badge Guide with a passion for the quirky and curious side of London. She's tracked down a bewildering collection of plaques, statues, memorials and unmarked locations, telling the history of London from a refreshing angle — all neatly timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of (partial) women's suffrage in February 2018.
Every page of this beautiful, bountiful book brings a new revelation. It's that rare breed of guide book that you'll want to read cover to cover, preferably while out on the streets tracking down the locations. We can't recommend it highly enough.
Women's London by Rachel Kolsky is out now from IMMLifestyle Books.