Ghost Trees: Nature and People in a London Parish

Posted on October 11, 2018

Bob Gilbert’s Ghost Trees, published on 18 October 2018, delves into the previously unexplored natural history of an inner-city area. It is nature writing from an unexpected corner of the British Isles – the East End of London – and an urban response to the prevalent school of rural nature writing.

With a focus on the trees of the district, Bob reveals how the ancient wildwoods all the way through to the street trees of today have helped shape London: it is an arboreal history of the city.

In 2009 Bob moved with his family to live in a large draughty Victorian vicarage in Poplar in London’s East End. For many years a close observer of urban wildlife, Bob began to record the natural world of his new inner city patch, especially the trees: their stories and relationships with people.

Drawing from history and natural history, poetry and painting, myth and magic, and a great deal of walking, observing and listening, Ghost Trees is a unique and fascinating blend of urban history and ecology.

Bob Gilbert is the champion and chronicler of the overlooked – the birds, mammals, insects, plants and trees that all manage to thrive in the urban jungle. In Ghost Trees he beautifully illustrates their central position in our lives and our communities, and in doing so he evokes the true spirit of a place.