London

No Longer Brutal, Just Beautiful

If you’ve ever been hypnotised, you’ll know that you’re told to imagine a place where you feel calm and safe and happy. I would pick London’s South Bank complex, home of the National Theatre and the Royal Festival Hall. This is what was written about the formation of a national theatre in 1904 by William […]

Notes From The London Bubble: A British Taboo

Look at the picture – is it in central London, or Wales? Here in the Decaf-Soy-Flat-White hell of London N1, home of the ‘liberal intelligencia’, people love to help their fellow neighbours. When we run out of raclette and have no alpine-based dairy product to substitute just before a wine and cheese party, someone will […]

London’s New Home

Well it looks like the planning application for the new Museum of London, which is meant to occupy the site of the old Poultry Hall at Smithfields, has only just been submitted this month, which pushes back the start date and significantly, the opening date for the museum. As the new home of the London […]

London’s 2nd Most Famous Landmark Vanishes

This vast edifice once came after Big Ben in the list of London’s most visited landmarks. Everyone in the city knew it, and it was much loved. Its history has been almost entirely wiped away, except in the logbook of the London Fire Brigade. I cobbled together this photo from shots taken during its devastating […]

London Puzzles No.3: The Church Of Surprises

What’s this all about, then? A boat sticking out of a wall? That’s the first puzzle you encounter on entering St Magnus the Martyr. It’s just another research day in London. I was heading to a specific London location to see something few people bother checking out. Who, I wonder, is still interested in the city’s […]

The Square Mile’s Other Sky Garden

Another research day, and this one takes me to Fen Court, where a new rooftop garden, better than the glorified food court at the top of the Walkie Talkie, is open to any and all, and affords terrific views of the city. And unlike the Walkie Talkie it doesn’t need to be booked for a […]

London Puzzles 3: The Lost Banks Of The Thames

I’m out and about doing London research today, inspired by our erstwhile commenter Jan, who sent me a couple of shots of the Thames foreshore. (She knows her history but the camera could do with a bit of an upgrade). Jan points out that the beach of the South Bank runs parallel with Shad Thames […]

London Puzzles 2: Dr Johnson’s House

Dr Samuel Johnson once predicted the drawbacks of aviation. In his philosophical novel The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia (1759) he thought about the advantages of flying and concluded; ‘What would be the security of the good if the bad could at leisure invade them from the sky?’ While he was working on his dictionary […]

London Puzzles 1: Bear-Faced London

My local area of King’s Cross was traditionally connected to hunting deer, and the psychogeographic connection remains when you walk around the neighbourhood and spot the number of either accidental or deliberate references to deer and stag horns – they adorn buildings and pubs, often tucked into decorative motifs. Having just read Dr Matthew Green’s […]

A Christmas Sesh

My Brother had a Big Birthday yesterday and although he does not enjoy coming up to London, he gave it a try for a city day out. It turned out to be a pretty good template for a chatty stroll in the short daylight hours. We started in Shoreditch at the Bike Shed, a warren-like […]