What Did Hitler Ever Do For Us?
Ah, the Northern Line, running through London like the digestive-tract of a prawn, unreliable and overcrowded, with stations that still use creaking lifts to escape from platforms. The Northern Line, which is in two entirely separate sections just to mess with our heads, and where you have to go North to go South even though Euston is actually East of King’s Cross interchange. If locals can’t figure it out, tourists must be stuffed when they try to get from City to Charing Cross.
The Northern Line, with its missing stations (anyone remember Trafalgar Square being open? I do) and stations that simply don’t exist like British Museum. At the moment, just to add to the confusion, Embankment is shut on one side so trains whizz through it, so that you look up from your book and find you’re on the wrong side of the river.
The Northern Line, with its endless pointless announcements and myriad annoyances does pass over some oddities, including underground bomb shelters at Clapham North into which 12,000 people crammed during air raids. Well, now they’ve finally found a new use.
Two entrepreneurs have set up a 2.5 acre crop farm in one to grow zero carbon food in a commercial urban farm twelve stories below London. The first test garden, which has been up and running for a few months as part of a commercial project called Growing Underground, is backed by chef Michel Roux Jr.
The farm consists of hemp beds in which salads and herbs are being grown hydroponically, so nutrient-rich water floods once a day and is drained away, with no soil involved in the process. Above each bed are strips of special low energy LED lights. The advantage of being underground is it’s insulated, so the temperature can be kept stable and the rent is cheap.
So it may now be that London’s vegetables will be born out of the need to protect the populace from bombs. Well done, chaps!