I hadn’t intended to walk anywhere other than a spot of roast and a beer at the Jugged Hare, but it was a sunny morning and there seemed to be something going on in Whitecross Street, East London, behind Old Street church, which has an oddly tall and vaguely Pagan-looking steeple. St Lukes is now a music centre, and the home of the London Symphony Orchestra.
Ironmonger Row Baths is being beautifully refurbished (it feels like everything in London is at the moment), so I sat in the park behind it watching families head toward the Whitecross Street art fair. It always strikes me as odd that there’s so much more culture in the formerly impoverished East End than there is in the more affluent Western part of the city. Outside The Bicycle Man, London’s premier bicycle-repair-and-coffee cafe, there was a party to watch Bradley Wiggins win the Tour de France, the first Englishman to win it in over a hundred years.
For all of its makeover attempts there’s something about the City of London that seems to defy corporatisation. There’s always somewhere quiet and pleasant to sit on a sunny day. In Whitecross Street, most of the buildings had been painted with giant chunks of street art, although there was the odd enormous pink robot wandering about. The independent shops down here hide a host of cool art inside. Typically, I hadn’t known any of this was going on, and just stumbled across it. Finally it felt a little like summer, just as all of the Olympic tourists were arriving. As always, click on images to enlarge (Sorry about the lack of captions – WordPress has thrown a moody and keeps chucking them off).