On Saturday, I made my second foray into live video presentations with the virtual launch of the Great Trees of London Map, recently published by Blue Crow Media.
In normal times, a launch event might have consisted of a convivial evening in an independent bookshop lubricated with free-flowing wine, but our new reality forced us online instead. I presented a series of images of London’s greatest trees and talked about why they have been included in the map. All without a drop passing my lips.
Here, for those who missed it, is a video recording of the event.
At that independent bookshop, the publisher would be selling the object of the launch with a discount to those who ventured out for the party. I’m pleased to say this tradition continues, and Blue Crow Media are selling the map online with a 10% discount and free postage until midnight tonight (20th April 2020). Click here to purchase, using the code PAULWOOD10 at checkout to claim your discount.
I said this was my second attempt at a live video presentation. You’ll have to take my word for it that the first, a virtual tour of the trees of Hackney, was a great success, but it will have to remain semi-mythical… However, if you would like to join other virtual (and if you’re reading this after mid-2020), real-life events I have lined up, see my events page.
If you’d like to buy a copy of the new edition of Great Trees of London Map, it is available from Amazon, direct from Blue Crow Media and from me too! Just click the button below to buy a signed copy.
In 2019, I was asked by Blue Crow Media, the publisher of some very cool city maps, whether I’d like to edit a map of London’s greatest trees. Now, that’s a fascinating project I thought, and before Derek at Blue Crow had finished, I had already said YES! Nine months later, and after much discussion and whittling down, I’m really pleased to say the very beautiful Great Trees of London Map has been published!
Of course, there are dozens, if not hundreds of great trees throughout London, and we soon came up with a long list of 127. The task of selecting just 46 great trees from that list was difficult. And there was history to contend with too.
Following the Great Storm of 1987, a list of 41 special trees selected and voted on by the public was put together by the charity, Trees for Cities. A further 20 trees were added in 2008 bringing the total to 61. Since then, several have gone the way of all trees, and currently there are 55 still standing. There are some fabulous trees on this list – like the Hardy Ash – but we felt London needed a bit of an update.
Maps offer a unique opportunity to visualise where things are, and on that original list, lots are out in the, er, sticks. We felt a map needed to have a more even spread and perhaps a greater concentration in the centre. After all, it would be great if people used the map to find the trees, and even better if they could plan routes between them.
So, from our longlist of 127 very worthy trees, we set about some heavy pruning. We used several criteria: we thought about their history, their cultural value, their diversity, their relative locations, and what they could tell us about London in the early 21st century.
And so, eventually, we agreed on 46. I hope you will forgive us if your favourite tree didn’t make the final cut, but I also hope you will appreciate an eclectic and diverse group of trees that I believe represents London’s urban forest today. I hope it is well-balanced between old and young, and that we have included just enough of our wonderful London planes and venerable old oaks.
To give you a taste of what’s included, there are some very old trees, like the Totteridge Yew or the Royal Oak at Richmond, offering a unique connection with the past. Exotic species like the Rotherhithe Silky Oak acknowledge our changing climate, while landmark trees like the New Cross Gate Giant Redwood or the Finsbury Park Almond inspire visitors to wonder at their individual stories.
As the city grows and changes, its trees will do the same. Great Trees of London Map aims to inspire us all to acknowledge and celebrate 50 of today’s truly remarkable trees.
If the map is not enough excitement, I can also announce that a fully revised edition of London’s Street Trees will be out very soon too!
To mark the occasion, the publisher, Safe Haven Books, is sponsoring the planting of a new street tree in Shoreditch. And as that’s in Hackney, it’s going to be something special… More soon: watch this space.