Is London Losing Signs And Gaining Statues?

Jamrach's Tiger

Look up in London and a menagerie of animals greets you, from locusts and beetles to lions, dragons, camels and fish. There’s a statue of a deer at Wimbledon and another camel at Victoria Embankment, and a cat at Highgate Hill. Statues proliferate, especially if they’re animals, because they’re non-controversial. Signs tend to vanish. Many […]

Working For Your Lunch


The ever-prescient Londonist recently pointed out the average cost of a working Londoner’s lunch; a conservatively-estimated £830 p.a. And if you factor in visits to Pret A Manger you can add a few more hundred quid to that bill. Then you’ve got the choice of dining ‘al desko’ or trying to find a free square of […]

Best Photographic Books On London


There are now so many volumes of photographs of London it’s hard to know where to start. I tend to avoid books of the staple shots that crop up again and again, and go for something with more of an individual point of view. A number of picture libraries have released their photographs, and these […]

What’s The Long-Term Plan For London?


Last month, the Chancellor and the Mayor announced a long-term plan for London. In essence, this consisted of the following wishlist: Secure London’s strong economic future by outpacing the growth of New York, adding £6.4bn to the London economy by 2030. Create over half a million extra jobs in London by 2020 by backing businesses, attracting […]

Send In The Gowns


My mum stopped going to Marks & Spencer. ‘Their blouses have dropped off,’ she complained. ‘There was a time when strong corsetry and a good gusset was all you needed under a pleated skirt.’ She loved Blustons Gowns though. ‘It’s so refreshing to find a trapeze dress with some give in the armpits.’ Blustons is […]

What Londoners Actually Say

Cockney ATM

I was reading a crime thriller set in London written by a Californian, and it was peppered with the kind of words you only ever find online when searching ‘British rhyming slang’. Never had I heard one of these words spoken aloud in my own city. It set me thinking. Forget rhyming slang (although you […]

The London Road That Never Existed

Broad Streete

There are imaginary London addresses scattered throughout literature, but there’s also a real street in London that never actually existed, in the sense that one minute it wasn’t there, then it was, and then it was gone again. Any clues? It was called Broad Streete, and it appeared on January the 8th in 1683 in […]

The Most Londony Film Ever


Considering that walking around certain parts of London in the rain is the single most depressing thing you can do in the world apart from visiting Dover, it scrubs up well in photographs and on film (although my heart sinks whenever Hollywood shows the city as being some kind of quirky village; check out ‘Night […]

The Indoorsness Of London


Many people coming to London from another country are surprised by a simple word they here all the time: ‘Indoors’. It seems to hold a host of meanings. ‘Outdoors’ is the bit you go through to get to Indoors (or as Dorothy Parker once said, ‘The bit between the taxi and the hotel’). London, between […]

London: Destruction & Reinvention

KX Chaos

I try to be upbeat about the Mayor’s transformation of London into an Oligarch Moneypit, but sometimes it’s hard. After more cyclists were maimed on London roads last week, the half-hearted new cycle lanes that peter out after a few metres, forcing riders into traffic, feel symptomatic of what happens when government planners step in […]