London Corners – Keystone Crescent
There are hundreds of books about London, many of them repetitive regurgitations of factoids, but of course there are many gems, including ‘Tired of London, Tired of Life: One Thing A Day To Do In London’ by the excellent Tom Jones, expanded from his hardworking website. (He has also pulled off the same trick for England in ‘Mad Dogs & Englishmen’).
Many London books concentrate on the grandly historical, of course, and as much of the city is replaced by the kind of bland corporate non-architecture you see everywhere else, I can’t imagine anyone producing a guide to ‘The Glass Boxes of London’. But there are corners that go unnoticed, and here I’ll try to find a few of them.
Here’s one on my own doorstep; Keystone Crescent is a 2-minute walk from King’s Cross Station and a real oddity, a crescent road so steeply curved that the houses on both sides have curved walls. Sadly the front gardens have now been removed to make way for cars, but the strangeness of the street hits you as you walk in. It feels like a miniaturised film set.
There’s a plaque on the wall attesting that it was built in 1855, and I think I’m right in saying that it’s the smallest crescent road in Europe. It looks like the houses that were used in Mike Leigh’s film ‘High Hopes’, and although most of the locations used in that film have now been torn down, similar buildings and streets can be found elsewhere in the area.