Another Hidden London Oddity Is Exposed To The Light


It seems for each part of hidden London we lose a new one is exposed. First New Scotland Yard’s Crime Museum was finally unveiled (I attended a terrific police lecture there this week) and now the mysterious Mount Pleasant train will be seen by Londoners. The Mail Line opened in 1927 and was the first […]

Another London Landmark Becomes A Chain


Kettner’s restaurant in Soho was opened by Auguste Kettner, the chef to Napoleon III, and became one of the first French restaurants in London. It boasted among its regulars Lillie Langtry, Oscar Wilde, Agatha Christie and Bing Crosby. Everyone in Soho has a favourite memory of the place. For my business partner’s 40th birthday I […]

Is London Losing Its Views?


For me, one of the most unspoilt old views of London is one of its least visited – the churchyard of St Pancras Old Church, a site associated with the sons of Bach and Benjamin Franklin, John Polidori, Mary Wollstonecraft, Dickens, Hardy, Byron, Shelley and Gilbert Scott. It may well be the oldest site of Christian […]

London Gets An Old Pub Back


While the trend of emptying out fine old pubs and turning them into flats isn’t slowing, there’s been a lot of talk lately about saving some London pubs by having them listed as assets to the community. Sadly, this hasn’t helped boozers at the city’s heart much because they don’t serve ‘communities’ anymore. But every […]

The ‘Wobbly Grid’: Why London Streets Are So Tricky


When you see London from the air the first thing you notice is the Thames. The slate roof houses and backstreets echo the swerving shape of the river. The film ‘This Happy Breed’ is set in Battersea between the wars, and shows off London’s road layouts well. But why do they look like so distinctive? The […]

Star Wars & Me


This is about ‘Star Wars’ from the London end. One evening in 1977 we gathered in the Blue Posts, a strange rockabilly pub at the bottom of Tottenham Court Road that looked like a one-storey plank shack (eventually torn down and replaced with a concrete box housing the Muji store) and grabbed a few beers before […]

My First Panto


…as an adult, at least. As a kid I went all the time, but if you don’t have children you forget what they’re like, and if you go with someone who has no cultural reference points for such an event – well, you have a hard time explaining what the hell is going on and […]

The Homeworker’s Cookbook 1: Spicy Chicken & Egg Soup


Wherever you are in the world and whatever you’re doing, if work at home it’s still very easy to stop eating properly. Where I live in London (between three major stations) I’m surrounded by takeout joints, 90% of which are either cheap, pretty good offerings of world cuisine, or total rubbish like McDonalds, so I […]

What He Did In The War (Interactively)


Like most Londoners I never get around to doing the things tourists do. I had mentally ticked off the things I never wanted to do again, like Madame Tussauds and the ‘Blitz Experience’, both overpriced and awful, the former now for celeb-struck gawkers and the latter an ‘experience’ (mercifully now shut) in which you found […]

Falling Back In Love With London Part Three


November was the UK’s dullest month since 1962, which is why everyone looked so depressed on the tube every day. Yesterday morning dawned in such a blaze of heat and light – yes, heat; the confused trees in my street are blossoming – that I decided to do some hands-on research, and headed to The […]