Severing The Links With London’s Past


London grows, and in doing so it sheds the past. The fabric of much that made the city special to Londoners is unravelling. Here’s another small example. The city’s drag & cabaret pubs can trace their origins back to the old music halls. They hide in plain sight in high streets around the city – […]

When Big Architects Get Big Ideas


I’ve always disliked Richard Rogers (not the composer, the architect). Although I know the purpose is for their interiors to be sightline-free, I still think Paris’s garish Pompidou Centre is an eyesore, and I hate London’s gasworks-like Lloyds building. Both have exteriors that look like Ferraris made for the Middle Eastern market have been carelessly […]

Who Will Survive In The Great Soho Sell-Off?


Yesterday I walked through Soho to see what all the fuss was about – residents have been running a ‘Save Soho’ campaign ever since Soho Estates decided to rebuild sections of beloved streets. I’d seen that work on the new Crossrail link had taken its toll, but I hadn’t realised quite how much demolition was […]

The Weird World Of London Robberies


Go on, admit it. If you’re over thirty, right after you heard about the Hatton Garden robbery you thought of Sid James and gelignite and vans roaring out of post offices. You secretly think it’s a bit cool robbing safety deposit boxes. It’s old-school-drop-it-copper-and-nobody-gets-hurt thieving in the grand tradition of the Great Train Robbery. There’s […]

Happy Birthday, Will!

Will birthday

‘Fun-packed’ isn’t a phrase you often hear associated with ‘Hamlet’. However, I think the Globe theatre has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek (at least I hope so) because it’s advertising a special day on Sunday April 19th to celebrate Will’s birthday. And in classic Shakespearian style they’re planning ‘to mark the mid-point of […]

Love It, Loathe It, Leave it.

Old Leadenhall

There’s a lot of talk in the press this week about the sterilisation of London, how glass boxes and ‘retail experiences’ are replacing entire scruffy streets to cause the greatest overall change since WWII at incredible speed. The fear is that the core of the city will vanish and it will cease to be London […]

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?


  Above, behold; London’s air pollution. If you’re visiting take a tip for the Japanese and bring a mask. 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 […]