As you wander through Kingston, are you distracted by the bright shops, heaving crowds and relentless traffic?

Everyone knows there is more to the place than meets the eye, and a new book, a year and a half in the works, aims to reveal the hidden nuggets of the borough's history.

Find out about the battle of the undertakers, and how many criminals could be hanged at one time - and where.

Julian McCarthy, author of Secret Kingston upon Thames, has already dipped his toe in the water of local history with the New Malden booklet Monday Was Always Washday.

He said: "I had been a tour guide for a few years. We've got limited time on a tour, to explain to people what they're actually seeing.

"We found there was much more to Kingston - there's a surfeit of history."

The book itself says: "There are clear reminders of the town's past everywhere, waiting for you to stop, look and listen to their intriguing stories."

Those stories include the origins of the town centre's repeated circular architecture, and the area's beer-brewing heritage.

Surrey Comet:

The history of St Raphael's Church, in Portsmouth Road, is included in the new book. Picture: Julian McCarthy

Mr McCarthy said he would have been "at a loss" for writing the book were it not for the internet - which is why he included an acknowledgement to Tim Berners-Lee, who is credited with inventing the web.

He said: "It was made a lot easier for me due to the web being there."

"I was just intrigued by anything and everything I found."

Secret Kingston Upon Thames by Julian McCarthy is available to buy online through Amazon, and 

It can also be picked up at Kingston Museum and the Kingston branches of Waterstones and WHSmith.