Silent city heat: The Herne Hill Membrane

Brockwell Lido on the first warm Saturday of spring. That’s the bittersweet image preoccupying Yua Fremantle in these strange, shut-down days. She wrote about it last year on her blog of Herne Hill life, The Woman in the Lido Cafe:

Light. Tumbling in from the open sky to splash across pool water, sunglasses, dripping dry bodies and smiles. Light shining into noise – noise reflected as light.Read more

To Hell: A chamber in the disused railway tunnel under Sydenham Hill

The following story was posted on a Lewisham borough forum, under a discussion about Sydenham Hill in the 1980s and ’90s:

Yes, I remember stories about secret tunnels in the hill. Me and a friend found one once. But it was nothing like they said. This was thirty years back and you may not believe me, but hey.

They closed the branch line to Crystal Palace in the 1950s.… Read more

Out of the miasma: The Clerkenwell Attic Miracle

A shadow fell over London in 1665 – dark days that historians have sought to illuminate ever since. Samuel Pepys wrote the most famous eyewitness account of the Plague year. But it is a lesser-known diarist we turn to for evidence that amid the death and desperation that racked the city – killing up to 100,000 Londoners – an event occurred which reveals the city’s febrile dimensional nature: The Clerkenwell Attic Miracle.… Read more

Echoes in the dark: The Thames Tunnel Phantom

Gaze into the darkness between Rotherhithe and Wapping, and you might just catch a glimpse of the past. Beneath the river, pale arches flicker in the glare from the train window, a ghostly reminder that the Thames Tunnel wasn’t built for modern commuters.

Isambard’s father, Marc Brunel, pioneered the tunnelling shield to construct London’s first under river tunnel. It still took floods, deaths and twenty years to complete.… Read more