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Synopsis

Lifting the lid on London, Spectacular Vernacular reveals the stories behind its 100 strangest and most enigmatic buildings. Some are open to the public, if you know who to ask. Others remain strictly off-limits, thus heightening the sense of mystery surrounding them. But many are so familiar that few of us ever stop to consider just how curious they are. In the heart of Kensington, for example, a 300ft tower attracts few glances that even most locals don't know it's there. South of the river the city's widest building at nearly 1,000ft has been favourably compared to the Winter Palace at St Petersbury. And in Chelsea a medieval hall, once home to a king and moved brick by brick from the City to escape demolition, is now being remodelled as London's largest private house. Elsewhere one finds an arts centre built of old shipping containers, a Victorian explorer lying dead in a tent, literally acres of secret underground government offices, even a private tunnel used for running cable-cars under the Thames. Think you know London? Well, it's time to reconsider.

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