changing London

The Battle For London’s Character

The Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London’s East End has been in existence in some form or other since the 1570s and has been going like the clappers ever since. Here were forged the bells of St Pauls’, Bow Bells, the great Big Ben bell itself, America’s Liberty Bell and many grand bells supplied throughout European […]

Should Bryant & May Mention What Happens In The Real World?

Today I fell back with relief into the fictional world of Bryant & May, staging a scene that involves an argument between Dan Banbury and John May over paint, an African parrot and a murder on a restaurant staircase. I don’t know if it will reach the second draft yet, it’s a bit mad. The […]

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 […]

Love It, Loathe It, Leave it.

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 […]

Changing London 3

The former prime minister of Qatar, whose family owns a chunk of the grotesque bullet-proof ‘One Hyde Park’ apartment complex, and Harrods (which they’re welcome to) said he would retire to London rather than his homeland. For some, his decision is symbolic. London has become a playground for foreign fortunes – a land where you […]

Changing London 2

Think of a city. Now hold the image and smash it into a thousand shards, so that each reflects a slightly different angle. That’s London, pretty much. Here, you see what look for. I think it was the Minister of Tourism who, when asked why so many people come here, notoriously replied; ‘For the sex.’ London […]

The City Of The Krays Is No More

The London of the Kray twins has pretty much gone now. I was reminded of this while watching Peter Medak’s excellent film again last night. It’s official; in terms of property, London is the most expensive city in the world. (Not for the cost of living – that’s Tokyo.) The problem is that it’s pulling […]