Book Review: A Field Guide To East London Wildlife

Sarah Stewart
By Sarah Stewart Last edited 42 months ago
Book Review: A Field Guide To East London Wildlife

City Farm Animals. Image Ian McDonnell Hox
City Farm Animals. Image Ian McDonnell Hox
Whitefish. Image Ian McDonnell Hoxton Mini Press 2014
Whitefish. Image Ian McDonnell Hoxton Mini Press 2014
Pigeon. Image Ian McDonnell Hoxton Mini Press, 2014
Pigeon. Image Ian McDonnell Hoxton Mini Press, 2014

In spite of being a high-density urban centre, London is actually the third greenest city of its size in the world (according to a 2013 report commissioned by the City of London Corporation). And East London, with its history of Victorian slums and urban squalor is no exception. It boasts numerous parks, green spaces, towboat paths and even city farms. So for urban wildlife spotters and those interested in the biological diversity of the area, a new field guide published by local firm Hoxton Mini Press should prove indispensable.

Writer Harry Ades and artist Ian McDonnell have created a convenient pocket-sized guide to the urban wildlife of East London, from common pigeons, rats and foxes to more elusive fauna such as the lost baby elephant of Bethnal Green. Also featured are the traffic-stopping double yellow Lions and the Party Animal commonly found sprawled in a gutter near Hoxton Square Gardens. The book is illustrated throughout by McDonnell's delightful depictions, inspired and informed by Victorian woodcuts and etchings, while Ades' tongue-in-cheek facts and witticisms about each creature are both informative and amusing. This is an entertaining book for both young and old that may well inspire adventures in search of the nocturnal animals of Epping Forest. The book feels like a 19th century bestiary, but reads like a highly entertaining reference book for a pub quiz.

A Field Guide to East London Wildlife can be purchased directly from Hoxton Mini Press for £8.95 with limited collectors' editions priced at £15 for one of 250.

Last Updated 11 November 2014