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Walter Besant was a novelist and historian, and his topographical and historical writings, ranging from prehistoric times to the nineteenth century, were probably best known through the detailed 10-volume Survey of London published after his death.This earlier single volume covers, in less depth, the whole period from prehistory until the 19th century. The book appears originally to have been written for boys, and, indeed, the chapters are called "Lessons". However, it is a very readable history and provides a fascinating insight into both London's past and the government of the City at the time the book was written (1894). (Summary by Ruth Golding)