Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Inventor of the London Bible

More wimmin, no apologies but probably will write about something else next. I do apologise for lifting this post, almost in its entirety, from the excellent Woman's Hour. You can listen again to the item and hear how a lorry driver berated Phyllis when he went down a cul de sac & couldn't get out! I wonder if people love Paris par Arrondisement as much as Londers love the A-Z. Of course, if you live there, you don't get it out on the street; no cred in that at all.
Did you know that the A-Z was invented by a woman? Back in 1935, Phyllis Pearsall was invited to an evening party in Belgravia but try as she might, she couldn't find the location. It did give her the idea to design a street map for London. Working from her bed-sit near Victoria Station, she woke at 5am every day to trek the 23,000 streets of capital. In all, she walked an incredible 3,000 miles. The result was the first A-Z of London, published in 1936. To commemorate the centenary of Phyllis Pearsall's birth, Jenni talks to her niece, Mary West, and to her biographer, Sarah Hartley, to find out more about her remarkable life and legacy.
Mrs P's Journey: The remarkable story of the woman who created the A-Z Map by Sarah Hartley, published by Simon & Schuster, 2002 - ISBN: 0-85039-243-8


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