Wen & Why?
While I was writing ‘The Memory Of Blood’, the next Bryant & May book, which opens in the London Dungeon, I looked around at London’s other sinister sites. I was disappointed by ‘London At War’, part of which involves you sitting in a Nissan hut listening to bombs falling – very unimaginative – but remembered that a lot of local libraries had little museums attached to them. I certainly remember the one at Plumstead Library, which had the usual array of Roman coins and pipes and some local oddities.
Trying to find out if they were still there (you can see how my day fritters away, can’t you?) I went to The Great Wen, one of my favourite London websites and was surprised to find two Great Wens – the other site seems to be a sinister guide to a London that never existed, a weird alternative to the first site.
I rather liked their double-page spread on the hole left behind after the sinister Candy Brothers had the Middlesex Hospital destroyed, to be replaced with an unsympathetic block of lifestyle lofts. It didn’t happen – the site has been flogged on, and we’ve been left with a ruddy great hole.
Given the intelligent, playful nature of the original The Great Wen site, I wonder if there’s a move to deliberately create a dark alternative. This is one of the reasons why next month I’ll be launching a site exclusively dedicated to all things Bryant & May (Oh good, more work).
The original Wen’s author was given permission to visit Scotland Yard’s Black Museum, now called the Crime Museum. (I tried years ago and was turned down). He’s running his excellent article about it on the site along with a 1988 documentary which I’ve not come across before.
It’s available on Google Video, which wouldn’t let me embed on this site. (Why? Is it a Mac issue?)