How We Built Britain.

By David Dimbleby

Printed: 2007

Publisher: Bloombury. London

Dimensions 20 × 25 × 3 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 20 x 25 x 3

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Item information


In the original dustsheet. Pink cloth binding with silver title on the spine.

  • F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

How did we get from the fortified tower to the grand open mansion and back again to the gated communities of today? How did we lose the marketplace to the out-of-town shopping mall? When did the appearance of libraries and prisons become so important? What does the way we arrange our city centres say about us? Can architecture really make a difference to our quality of life? In this beautifully illustrated book, David Dimbleby tells the dramatic and heroic story of Britain’s architecture – the extraordinary buildings that define a nation and which grew out of the experiences and beliefs of the British people. This fascinating account of a thousand years of change in Britain’s buildings tackles these questions and many more, and is filled with specially commissioned photographs and historic art.


  • ‘A lively, literate and stimulating tour’ Spectator ‘Meticulously researched and stunningly illustrated … fascinating and authoritative’ City Magazine ‘A thoroughly enjoyable and worthily Betjeman Esque book’ Sunday Express ‘
  • He is perfect for this gig – a broad history of our buildings and what they say about us’ New Statesman

  • I endorse most of the favourable comments already made, but would add this book should be perused by every tourist wandering around historical buildings in the UK. Organised by 6 geographic regions, it is the perfect guide, helping you understand what you see, and flagging a sequence of significant period buildings that deserve to be visited if you are nearby. The text adopts a reader-friendly conversational tone, explaining how what you are looking at came to be built, and why it represents a breakthrough. In this, it wisely avoids technical jargon. The author moves along smoothly. His 6 chapters are a nicely manageable length, each covering a key period well and can be easily completed in a short sitting. The book is very well illustrated throughout, mostly in colour, and also has a useful double-page map following the introduction which plots all the buildings discussed (handy if you are making travel plans). Its also worth pointing out that this book is effectively a counterfoil to David Dimbleby’s earlier work  A Picture of Britain  – where that focussed on landscape and place, this following work completes the picture by selectively surveying the built environment. For me this work (and  A Picture of Britain ) has been a marvellous inspiration-cum-guide for some cultural tourism. Having watched and enjoyed the television series twice, I then, over several holidays, deliberately visited a number of the buildings the show covered; and, much later, have purchased and read Dimbleby’s book. It has been a delight following up David Dimbleby’s recommendations.

The Author, David Dimbleby joined the BBC as a news reporter in Bristol in the 1960s and is now a major presenter of current affairs programmes and documentaries, having presented Panorama, The Dimbleby Talk-In, Question Time and the BBC’s general election programmes. He is the author of A Picture of Britain.


David Dimbleby (born 28 October 1938) is an English journalist and former presenter of current affairs and political programmes, best known for having presented the BBC topical debate programme Question Time. He is the son of broadcaster Richard Dimbleby and elder brother of Jonathan Dimbleby, of the Dimbleby family. Long involved in the coverage of national events, Dimbleby hosted the BBC Election Night coverage from 1979 to 2017, as well as United States presidential elections on the BBC until 2016. He has also presented and narrated documentary series on architecture and history.

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