London Clay


Doubleday Books, 2021
£20 hardback, £9.99 e-book, audiobook


Tom Chivers follows hidden pathways, explores lost islands and uncovers the geological mysteries that burst up through the pavement and bubble to the surface of our streets. From Roman ruins to a submerged playhouse, from an abandoned Tube station to underground rivers, Chivers leads us on a journey into the depths of the city he loves.

A lyrical interrogation of a capital city, a landscape and our connection to place, London Clay celebrates urban edgelands: in-between spaces where the natural world and the metropolis collide. Through a combination of historical research, vivid reportage and personal memoir, it will transform how you see London, and cities everywhere.

Praise for London Clay

Tom Chivers, with the forensic eye of an investigator, the soul of a poet, is an engaging presence; a guide we would do well to follow.
Iain Sinclair

Entirely original … entertaining, enlightening and deeply moving. You will learn something about London and a good deal about life.
Justin Webb

A beguiling mix of history, geology, folklore and memoir that captivated me from the first page.
Lara Maiklem, author of Mudlarking

An absorbing and poetic psycho-geology of London … Fascinating.
Christopher Somerville, The Times walking correspondent

London Clay is a gift of a book … it speaks to the urban explorer in us all.
Sharon Ament, Director of the Museum of London

London Clay is an intoxicating voyage into urban time and place, revealing the city’s geological skeleton, its waterways as veins and arteries, the Tube its guts, streets and alleys a buzzing nervous system. Chivers’ erudite yet lucid writing glints with unexpected vistas, allusions and weird connections, as he traces the web of synapses holding everything together: London’s human makers and unmakers, the dead and the living, glittering through two millennia.
Becky Wragg Sykes, author of Kindred

One of the most original books about the capital in years. Spellbinding.
Matt Brown, Londonist

Filled with a sense of wonderment … a fascinating exploration.
Christopher Fowler, author of the Bryant & May mysteries

London re-enchanted … a wonderfully multi-layered meander through a landscape at once familiar and strange.
Helen Gordon, author of Notes from Deep Time