Any visitor to the Barbican will know its highwalks. The criss-cross of raised footpaths provide a confusing but just-about functional means of traversing the much loved residential and cultural centre. But follow them to the estate’s edges, attempt to use them to exit to the City at large, and whatever strange logic they possess starts to break down.
A bridge you half-remember led to the tube station you want ends abruptly in mid-air, its access point fenced off.… Read more
These are transcripts of three recordings made within the last month. They were leaked to us by someone working for a company that logs radio traffic within the security industry. The fate of the subjects (whose names have been changed) is unknown. PoL’s attempts to follow it up with the relevant bodies and corporations have met with resistance.
The events within, to our mind, constitute convincing evidence for some manner of cross-dimensional breach.… Read more
Halfway along Stoke Newington Church Street is a rift. A lost world of leaf, iron and stone; a crouching, brooding interruption in the row of high-end bakeries, fashionable cafes and designer homeware shops:
Abney Park Cemetery.
One of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ garden cemeteries built when Victorian London was too full of the dead, Abney Park’s garden element has, over the years, assumed feral dominion over the dwindling numbers of burials.… 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
The original mudlarks were children who scoured the Thames slime for coal, copper or other items that had fallen from commercial ships: a symbol of inequality in 19th Century London. Poverty remains in the capital, of course – often in sight of the luxury developments that now line the river – but the working docks and their ecosystem are gone. Today’s mudlarks are hobbyists, artists or historians, recalling a piece of London’s long story with every upturned Roman coin or wartime bullet casing.… Read more
The church buildings of Medieval London have a long reach. 350 years since perishing in the Great Fire, afterimages linger. Outlines exist as small City of London gardens, or live on in the walls of the churches that Christopher Wren built after the fire – Wren’s classical forms had to fit the wayward foundations of their medieval predecessors, which is partly what makes his churches so striking.… Read more
Camberwell, 1980. In the cold, dingy attic room of a smog-blackened terraced house, two undergraduates are on the brink of something. They are physics students, although the strange, gaffer-taped structure that fills the room could be mistaken for an art project. A crudely bolted network of steel piping – propped up by beer crates and books – connects a large refrigerator, the workings of a spin dryer, a tangle of wires and a bank of television screens, circuit boards and telephones.… Read more
The following is a transcript of a cassette recording sent to us anonymously. There were a few brief notes attached. The audio consists of a call to a late night show on a popular London radio station. The radio station concerned has pulled the audio from their archive and asked PoL not to mention them by name. In the interest of protecting the caller’s identity, we present a transcript in place of the audio.… Read more
The official website of North London’s Alexandra Palace has a timeline feature. As you scroll back and forth through the exhibition venue’s 140-year history, certain events stand out: A ‘flying bomb’ which blew out the Rose Window towards the end of World War Two; BBC transmitters jamming the navigation systems of German bombers; a devastating fire in 1980; the Palace twice being home to Belgian refugees.… Read more
A footballer, arriving early to Hackney Marsh one autumn Sunday League morning, sees strange lights flicker in the mist.
A conservationist, picking through trees at the edge of Walthamstow Marshes on a quiet afternoon, hears shouting and laughter from the adjacent field. When he emerges from the overgrowth, he finds the field is empty.
A commuter, on a train crossing the marshes one dark winter evening, thinks she sees a ramshackle settlement of odd-looking houses where she knows only scrubland should be.… Read more