Geoffrey Fletcher was born in Lancashire in 1923 and arrived in London in 1945 to study at the Slade School of Art. He loved to roam the city day and night and became adept at quickly and accurately capturing everyday street life in his sketchbook before adding final touches in a local nearby cafe.
In 1958 he was offered a job with the Daily Telegraph on a column called ‘London Day by Day’ and this became his metier for the next 30 years.
His most well known book, ‘The London Nobody Knows’, was published in 1962 and made into a documentary film with James Mason as narrator in 1967. He authored many other books on London and, like the present day Gentle Author of Spitalfields Life, would always add a little history, personal anecdote or idiosyncratic description to his work. He would not concentrate on the big landmarks, but rather on the ‘out-of-the way’ little known places.
Fletcher’s contributions to the Telegraph became increasingly concerned with the demolition of neglected historical buildings and although he was not against change, he was saddened by so much history being wiped out without a second thought.
His favourite London location was Islington which he regarded as having a ‘many-sided’ character with its combination of affluence and poverty and in his rambles he would often follow in the footsteps of fellow artist and Islington resident, Walter Sickert, who was a great inspiration to him.
Geoffrey Fletcher sadly died in 2004.