My books...

Thought it would be useful to have all the information on my books in one place.

John Grindrod, Concretopia, Outskirts, How To Love Brutalism

I've created a page on which collects them together. is a great site because it helps support high street indie bookshops.

My first was Concretopia: A Journey Around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain, described very kindly by Owen Hatherley as 'about the best history of the intersection of post-war architecture and politics (often with a small 'p') that you could hope for – personal, erudite, even-handed and driven by a subtle, but still present underlying anger at the dismantling of the Welfare State under the dubious banner of "austerity".' It covers the period 1945–79 and features stories from prefabs to tower blocks, the construction of new towns and council estates, and corruption trials and the collapse of Ronan Point. I interviewed architects and planners, original residents and experts from Cumbernauld to Plymouth, Cwmbran to Sheffield.

My next was Outskirts: Living Life on the Edge of the Green Belt, which was shortlisted for the 2018 Wainwright Prize for British nature and travel writing. Lynsey Hanley, author Estates, said 'Grindrod writes beautifully about nature . . . a lucid, evocative book, suffused with sadness and anger.' And David Kynaston, author Austerity Britain, called it 'illuminating and enjoyable . . . tolerantly and unsentimentally, he gets us close up to the green belt as it actually is today . . . what truly lifts it is the personal element, above all Grindrod's portrayal of family life.' For this book I mixed the story of my growing up on the edge of the green belt in Croydon with the stories of grene belts all over the country. It contains beautiful illustrations by Eleanor Crow, and is also available in large print and an audiobook.

More recently I published a small side-project, part of Batsford's 'How to' books on architecture they've been publishing since the 1930s. Mine's called How To Love Brutalism and is illustrated by the brilliant Brutal Artist.

You can buy my books from your local indie or chain bookshop, or online from Bookshop.orgHive, Waterstones, Foyles or Amazon. Ebooks are also available at Hive, Kindle, Apple, Kobo, etc.

Currently I'm writing a new book, a sequel to Concretopia, looking at the places we built and lived and worked in from 1980 onwards. Iconicon won't be out til 2022, but if you could help me find interviewees (housebuilders, home improvement show victims, millennium project workers, out-of-town pioneers, etc) that would be wonderful.

Thank you!


  1. Hi John, congratulations on a really good programme on housing standards decline.
    Could you email me back?

    1. Thanks so much. You haven't any contact information on here. I can be contacted on dirtymodernscoundrel [at] gmail [dot] com


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