The Tin Pan Alley Horror

Tin Pan Alley

Get ready to say goodbye to parts of Denmark Street, London’s Tin Pan Alley, where everyone from the Rolling Stones to the Sex Pistols tried out their guitars in the shops and studios. The demolition squads are heading for the street and its alleyways, including Denmark Place, a row of battered terraced houses off Charing […]

New Heights Of Vulgarity


Just when it seems that London’s bling-property economy may be faltering (as reported in the press this week), the ‘developers’ of the new FutureSlums (sorry, ‘Luxury Loft Lifestyle’ Apartment Buildings) at South London’s Nine Elms are planning to bring to our fair city, or at least 1% of 1% of London, this hilarious Six Senses-style […]

A New Theatre But Where’s The Fringe?

900 Seater

So there’s going to be a spiffy new 900-seat theatre beside Tower Bridge from Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr, who oversaw 12 years of artistic and commercial success at  the National, running the show. It’ll be the flagship home for the London Theatre Company and will operate entirely on a commercial basis with no subsidies or […]

The Rowton Houses


You couldn’t mistake them; they were vast, ugly red-brick castles with mean little windows, ‘grim places, echoing with the cries and coughs of defeated men’ – a chain of monolithic hostels built across London by the Victorian philanthropist Lord Rowton to provide decent accommodation for working men in place of the squalid lodging houses of the period. […]

London’s Street Bankers


Whenever my gran wanted ‘a flutter’ on the horses or the dogs, she sent for the man over the road who acted as the street’s banker. Every working class street had a Mr Fix-It, as well as a local woman you could visit for ‘marital advice’. The men ran book, bought and sold, lent money, […]

London Tough


It’s said that if a girl can look good in London, she can look good anywhere. Everything conspires against her. We have the hardest water I’ve found anywhere in the world. It silts pipes and cracks skin. We have key hotspots of overcrowding (tip: avoid the Piccadilly Line between Russell Square and Piccadilly during rush […]

The Mystery Of Sherlock’s Home


The Independent is becoming a great uncoverer of odd stories. Today they reveal that the address of Sherlock Holmes, 221b Baker Street, together with two valuable properties near Hyde Park and a mansion in Hampstead worth a total of £147m, are linked to notorious Kazakh businessman Rakhat Aliyev, the son-in-law of Kazakhstan’s President. He was accused of […]

Where Would You Rather Live?

Public or private 2

      Two new apartment buildings perfectly illustrate London’s housing dilemma, and help explain what’s going so wrong. Look at these two photographs and decide which building you would prefer to live in. Without thinking, I automatically chose the brick building. I was surprised to discover it’s social housing. The one on the left is […]

London’s Home Movies


In his head, Arthur Bryant still sees London as it was; his memories were based on my mother’s, as she was living in town working as a secretary, and had vivid recall of life around her. Now the British Film Institute is rolling out a huge project called Britain on Film which includes home movies, […]

At Home In The Old Pubs Of London


I love kids, but feel their parents shouldn’t think they can go anywhere. Which brings us to pubs. Research today points out that less than 1 in 10 pub visits are for the beer, and that most landlords now make their money by running family-friendly restaurants. Is the day of the ‘quick pint’ over? In […]