Category: Leaving the city

Albert Bridge to re-open

The Albert Bridge will re-open next week after two years of repairs.


Swimming in the newly-restored Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace Sports Centre has had a modest restoration. A strange building, the wet and dry sections meet in the entrance hall which makes the whole place feel a bit damp. And despite being cathedral-like in its scale, swimming in the fifty-metre lane is very claustrophobic. The best part is the way that the lights set into the roof appear to merge with each other as you swim.




Ken Worpole in praise of real public space

At a lecture given at the Garden Museum, writer, academic and chair of Clissold Park Users Group Ken Worpole highlighted the benefits of open space, available to all. He referenced his superb book on public space, democracy and architecture Hear Comes the Sun. I found myself in Clissold Park the next day. For me it was the place I was taken as a child, my idea of the rolling countryside complete with wild animals and its own railway engine. Now it is beautifully preserved and looking brilliant in autumn.


What is the connection between the opening of Westfield in Stratford and the closure of Gaby’s Salt Beef Bar in the Charing Cross Road?

Here is a picture of the hotel at the new Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford, viewed from the International terminal.

And here is a picture of Gaby’s salt beef bar in the Charing Cross Road.  Westfield is about a week old and has been welcomed as the saviour of East London.  Gaby’s is about fifty years old and following a decision by Westminster Council is due to be closed down to make way for a Strada or similar.  The government has been attempting to revive the high street; Charing Cross Road is very much a high street but most of the qualities for which it was known: books, independent traders, a college of art – and the lives of its immigrants – have now gone.  Gaby’s is eccentric, the quality of the salt beef varies with each visit; the number of free falafels depends on who is serving; and the toilets are pretty grimey but is has character, enterprise, personality and history.  It is part of the place that is my London – Westfield, where I stayed for about twenty five minutes, speaks for itself.

Join me this weekend for two Open House walks

This Sunday I am leading two walks for London Open House.  The first is a guided tour of Golden Lane Estate.  The second is a tour of the City of London’s newest landscape architecture schemes.  Both tours are free but need to be booked through Open House.

Booking details for Golden Lane. 

Booking details for City of London Landscape – Landscape Institute London.

Great green wall outside National Gallery

The National Gallery, London has recently unveiled a living wall depicting Van Gogh’s painting A Wheatfield with Cypresses.


New building at Moorfields Eye Hospital shows how Daily Express owner spends profits


The Richard Desmond Children’s wing at Moorfields Eye Hospital is an interesting illustration of what the owner of Express Newspapers and Asian Babes does with his money. This picture shows the decorative aluminium fins which change colour at night.