Remember the old joke about the man waking up in New York one day to find that all the building work had been finished?
I think it’s happening here in London. With the Diamond Jubilee next week and the Olympics approaching, it seems the scaffolding is coming down all over the city, revealing buildings that have been covered over for the past year. Holes are being filled in, railings are vanishing and Leicester Square, which for the past year has been blighted by hoardings and rubble, miraculously appeared as if from nowhere yesterday, looking completely different.
The current fashion is for space – the removal of street clutter and unnecessary signage. Although there’s still a long way to go, the effects are immediately noticeable in certain areas. The builders are just moving out of Leicester Square, but the sense of space is palpable. The old Hippodrome has re-emerged with all of its statures and wrought ironwork restored. The interior of King’s Cross station has suddenly blossomed into light as thousands of panels of glass have been returned to illuminate what was once there gloomiest of all London termini.
Next to go will be the nasty old green iron concourse, then the opening of Granary Square in July – I’ll be there on opening night to take pictures.