The Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens were a place to lose oneself. Laid out among Lambeth’s green fields as an escape from 17th Century London, over the following 200 years they became a virtual town in themselves, an unrivalled destination for music and theatre, drinking and bear-baiting.
But there was seclusion and shadow amid the noise. Dark, tree-lined alleys were a favourite haunt of the amorous.… Read more
Hornsey Town Hall is suspended in time, caught between a vanished past and an uncertain future. Recently, we walked through the revolving doors of this crumbling Crouch End landmark, right into one of the last guided tours before the building closes for redevelopment. We tagged along. The guide was passionate, informative and – unsurprisingly – mentioned nothing of the rumours of temporal disturbances which had brought PoL there in the first place.… Read more
The recent silencing, for maintenance reasons, of the bell known as Big Ben met a suitably muted response from the nation. A half-hearted effort by a handful of MPs to lend the moment significance faded on the wind. But, on the day the last chimes rang across Westminster – and the small group held their vigil outside the Big Ben tower – it seems that inside the Houses of Parliament, a disruption may indeed have been felt.… Read more
Each night, a bright green beam cuts through the sky above Greenwich: a laser, marking the path of the Prime Meridian (the imaginary line – from the north pole to the south pole – from which all other lines of longitude are measured).
It is emitted from the Royal Observatory, high on the hill at Greenwich Park. Another (carved and gilded) representation of the line crosses the building’s forecourt.… Read more
When the Woolwich foot tunnel closed for repairs in 2011, it should have been a routine job. The pathway had been providing pedestrians with a quick route beneath the Thames since 1912. A century on, a few minor improvements were necessary. Contractors were hired to plug holes, improve access and bring communications capabilities into the 21st Century: swapping leaky tiles for a leaky feeder.… Read more