Francis Sheppard obituary

First general editor of the Survey of London and one of the capital’s great topographical writers

When Francis Sheppard, who has died aged 96, applied to be the first general editor of the Survey of London, his interviewers at the London county council asked him if he could pledge to publish a new volume in the series once a year. Rashly he said yes.

That was mission impossible, he soon discovered. And only weeks into the job, his wife, Pamela, died in childbirth, leaving him with two small children. Yet between 1954 and his retirement in 1983 Sheppard produced no fewer than 16 volumes of the Survey of London.

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