I am currently reading The Secret River by Kate Grenville. It is set in Bermondsey (London Bridge) around 1800. It is fiction but with lots of references to history e.g. tanneries, river thames, the docks etc although the second half of the book is set in Australia (I believe). So far the book is great and I had it recommended by a friend.
I am indeed looking for something pretty general, which is why I think Richard Tames is the best place to start. But the other books do sound interesting, and I shall have a look at the Gillian Tindall one next time I'm at the shops.
Wow, the messages are coming thick and fast. Sorry to duplicate James's explanation of PM, but it wasn't there when I started typing. I have seen the Kate Grenville book, and shall make a note that it has SE1 interest, as I didn't realise this. It was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, as I remember.
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.
I love this book, very Dickensian, and it is set on Lant St.
Also, speaking of Dickens, he set some of his work around here, most notably Little Dorritt in Marshalsea Debtors Prison, and in Oliver Twist Bill Sykes lives on Jacob's Island which is way down past Shad Thames and now posh flats.
However, you can still see the pilings and mudflats which if you squint a bit can still look vaguely atmospheric.
Cloe we read the secret river for book club a couple of months ago. I loved it. Why not come and join us and anyone else who wants to. We usually meet the first week of each month See calling all book lovers in socials section. Always happy to see new faces, its as much about socializing as it is about books.
i have a strange 1997 large format paperback here called 'visions of southwark' by peter marcan. it's a very personal/eccentric but compelling sequence of pictures, photos, cartoons and narrative describing southwark in the 19th and 20th centuries. borough high street is on the cover. worth a look...