Sunday, 29 May 2011

Berkeley Square

Found this in Berkeley Square. The place where the nightingale sang.

Over to you Frank........

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Gloucester Road, SW7

Gloucester Road tube station was opened in 1868 at a time when there were first class carriages on the underground. "By 1910 a sixpenny ticket allowed the traveller access to the first-class carriages of the Metropolitan Railway's Pullman cars; the carriages contained morocco armchairs set in the replica of a drawing room with mahogany walls. Electric lamps were placed on side tables and blinds of green silk covered the windows. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were served." - 'London Under', Peter Ackroyd

The area is mainly full of tourists due to the large number of hotels but also include this Mews and original "Chard and Sons" shop front.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Trafalgar Sq, 10am Friday 27 May

There is always something happening in or around Trafalgar Square. Today the Robbie Boyd Band played live in front of St Martin’s church. I hadn’t heard of them either but it was free, they weren’t bad and so worth a mention.

The two footballs are to promote the women’s UEFA CupFinal, which Lyon won last night beating Potsdam 2-0 at Craven Cottage.

The clock is gently counting down the minutes until the start of the 2012 Olympics.

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Thursday, 26 May 2011

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Ai Weiwei - Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads

Ai Weiwei's animal heads at Somerset House. I'm not really a fan of this work but it must not be ignored given the plight of the artist.

The fountains are a permanent fixture within the square but only act as an unneccessary distraction.

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Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Gospel at the Festival hall

The South Bank always deliveries something interesting. This Sunday was no exception when the excellent London Community Gospel Choir performed in front of the Festival Hall. Unfortunately this picture in no way captures the energy and spirit of their performance.

This is just the excuse I need to include this 1958 clip of Mahalia Jackson.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Green Aliens

When London puts its mind to something it tends to do it on a large scale. Royal Weddings, Olympic Games, plagues and great fires. This also applies to animal infestation. London is currently home to 50,000 ring neck parakeets that have flocked towards the Brixton, Peckham and Greenwich area with 3,000 living in Esther Rugby club. Normally the invasion of emerald green aliens would cause alarm but according to London folk lore these birds are all descendants of a pair released by Jimi Hendrix as a peace offering in Carnaby Street in 1969. I know this is a load of baloney but if repeated enough times on the internet it will become fact.

London also has more than its fair share of foxes.  I have nothing against these animals but wish they would keep the noise down with their screeching and shrieking in the early hours. I’m not suggesting we bring back fox hunting but the thought of “The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable” through the back gardens of London homes and council estates would be interesting.  This picture, taken at the Hayward Gallery on the South bank, shows what could happen if the situation goes unchecked.

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Saturday, 7 May 2011


I have no idea what is going on here but suspect it has something to do with the Thanmeslink project. The picture is taken between Blackfriars road and rail bridges with constructors making use of the unused pillars of the old London Chatham & Dover Railway (LCDR) bridge, which was built in 1886 and dismantled in 1985 leaving only the cast iron supports remaining.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Limehouse to Regents Park via the Regents Canal

Limehouse Basin to Regents Park via the Regents Canal tow path.

The intention of this blog is to explore various walks through London and this is one of the best. Starting at Limehouse Basin it takes approximately three hours to reach Regents Park having only to leave the tow path at Angel, Islington due to the tunnel.
The Regents Canal was completed in 1820 and built to transport imported goods from the Thames to the Midlands. This was achieved by joining the Grand Union Canal at Paddington. The basin is now a 10 acre marina for luxury boats and is the southernmost point of London’s oldest industrial canal.

The old industries such as Lime works (from where the area gets its name), chemical and leather factories have long since gone and have been replaced with desirable flats.

Walking north along the tow path with the canal to my left , the route passes through Mile End and on to Victoria Park. Unfortunately it does not pass through Bow so I am unable to use the Bow Locks gag (thanks to everyone who gave me this priceless piece of information / double entendre).

An East End garden shed with it's own stove.


On through Haggerston and De Beauvoir Town, the rest of London seems unaware of this path, used only by joggers, cyclists, mothers with prams and me. Roads and rail track pass over head without ever blocking the way until you get to Angel. Due to a tunnel, only wide enough for barges, it becomes necessary to use the main road. The tunnel is three-quarters of a mile long and passes under Muriel Street, Barnsbury Road, Tolpuddle Street and Upper Street. The canal re-emerges next to Noel Road.  This is a good excuse to stop for re fuelling in any of the many pubs and cafes in Angel.

The tunnel was opened in 1820 when boats were propelled by “legging”, which involved men laying on their backs and pushing the barge with their feet against the sides of the tunnel. This was replaced in 1826 by a steam tug which brought a new set of problems due to the smoke, fire and noise.  The tunnel was renovated in 2000.

Old and new means of transport. A Euro Star train arrives back in London, passing the canal barges at St Pancras.

The path then takes you through Pentonville, Kings Cross and onto Camden Town.

Camden Lock. It feels strange to leave the tow path at Regents Park, like arriving back on 'dry land'.

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Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Street or river art?

Teeth in Shoreditch and a domestic setting in Camden. Both along the banks of the Regents Canal.

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