Category Archives: tourism

The Leaning Tower of Westminster

So anyway, one of the significant stories this week revolving around Our Fair City is the discovery that Big Ben is, in fact, leaning. Some reacted with indifference, some with curiosity, those angry guys you see in the Wetherspoon’s at 2pm with a clenched fist of triumph. Some pointed out that technically Big Ben isn’t leaning, because the clock tower isn’t actually called that.

I have to admit, Big Ben (I am going to call it that, pedantry be damned) is not a landmark I feel any great affection for. That might be partly because I used to work opposite it, so it was just another part of my daily routine. I’m also not a huge fan of the architecture, which to my eye is just a bit too “busy,” if you know what I mean. Still, I’m not going to deny that it’s a significant part of our skyline and we’d all miss it if it was gone. After all, how would you establish that characters from American movies had arrived in Britain if not for a shot of Big Ben and a couple of bars of ‘Rule Britannia?’ Not easily, that’s for sure.

The clock tower was completed on 10th April 1858, part of Charles Barry’s new Houses of Parliament. The Gothic style being very much in fashion then, that was the architecture plumped for by the Powers that Be. The clock tower at the end was farmed out to Augustus Pugin, who you may see on the left there. Pugin was a noted architect of the Gothic style, and when not busy designing spooky buildings, he supplemented his income by looting from shipwrecks (I am not making this up).

After completing his design, he went mad, probably as a result of syphilis, and died in 1852. Students of architecture will note that this is a surefire way to ensure that your building includes lots of non-Euclidian geometry and possibly summons the Elder Gods, but there has been no sign of that thus far. It would certainly liven up the parliamentary debates.

As I said at the start, Big Ben is not the name of the clock tower, but the big bell, the one that sounds the bongs. The official name for the bell is the rather less interesting “Great Bell” (how long did it take you to come up with the name for that, guys?). It was originally cast in Yorkshire and brought down to London by water, its size nearly wrecking the boat carrying it. On arrival, the bell was found to be defective. It was melted down and recast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, from whence most of London’s bells originate. The method used to cast “Big Ben II” was an unusual method of casting, unique at the time and now used for bells all around the world. Oddly enough, Big Ben is actually cracked, resulting in its very distinctive tone. I’m sure a campanologist could tell us more.

The origin of the nickname is disputed. The official story has it that it was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, the Royal Commissioner for Works at the time of the tower’s construction. Another has it that it was named after Benjamin Caunt, a heavyweight boxer of the time who was himself nicknamed “Big Ben.”

The clock is famed for its accuracy. However, should the necessity arise, it is possible to adjust the swing of the pendulum and thus change the time. On top of the pendulum is a little stack of old pennies. By removing or adding a penny, the speed of the pendulum is changed. You’d expect something a bit more hi-tech, or at least legal tender, but I suppose it’s worked this long.

The most recent news, to return to the start of this entry, is that the tower is actually leaning. In fact, this is not particularly new news, and I’m not sure why it should particularly come to prominence now. Thanks to all the many different tunnels dug under Westminster since 1858, the ground isn’t as firm as once it was, and so a degree of lean is to be expected. Wake me if it actually falls.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under 19th century, 20th Century, Buildings and architecture, Current events, History, Landmarks, London, tourism, Westminster

The Infernal Tower

There have been some interesting proposals for London buildings over the years, from the Pyramid of Death to the scheme to rebuild the Crystal Palace so that it stood on its end. Perhaps the most significant landmark-that-never-was was the Wembley Tower.

It all started with the old Metropolitan Railway. Being a commercial enterprise, the directors of this company were naturally keen to make as much money as humanly possible. In the 1880s, though, they were already making quite a lot of money. What is a railway tycoon to do under such circumstances? If you were Edward Watkin, Chairman of the company, you simply create more traffic by making London bigger.

The idea was simple. Buy land out in the sticks where it’s cheap, miles away from London. Build a railway to it, build some houses on it and bam! You got yourself a suburb, mister. Sell the houses, there’s a goldmine for ya. You’d be amazed how much of London basically didn’t exist until people did this. Put it this way – until the 1860s, Kensington was considered to be a rural village.

Watkin was a man who liked to think big. For instance, his ultimate plan for the Metropolitan was to run trains up to Manchester and down to Paris (I forget how that one turned out). When he looked upon the route of his railway, he decided that what his grand plan needed was a selling point. Some sort of focus that would draw people to the area (and, let’s not forget, drive up the land values).

In 1889, the latest wonder of the world was the Eiffel Tower. Watkin came to the conclusion that what we needed in London was something similarly troubling to Freud, only more so. Possible sites included High Street Kensington and Gloucester Road, but eventually it was decided to purchase a 280-acre site at Wembley and develop that. Former Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone asked questions in Parliament on behalf of Watkin and was told by the committee that “although the atmosphere of London may not be so favourable to extensive views as Paris, the view would be incomparably superior.” Suck-ups.

Having been given the go-ahead, the Metropolitan Tower Committee was formed in 1890 to decide on the form this tower would take. Many exciting designs were proposed. I think my favourite was one based on the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I’m no structural engineer, but I can’t help wondering how wise it would have been to build something like the Leaning Tower, only much taller. I also like the one about the “colony of aerial vegetarians.” Gustave Eiffel himself was even approached and did initially show some interest, only to decline later on patriotic grounds (he probably heard that dis about the views in Paris).

As it happened, the final design was very similar to the Eiffel Tower, only 320 metres taller. Work started in 189e and in 1896 the park around the tower’s base was opened to the public. The tower had only reached its first stage, but hopes were high even if the structure wasn’t.

Yet already problems were being encountered – the year before, the new Chairman of the Metropolitan, John Bell, had already been convinced the whole thing was a white elephant. It turned out that the foundations couldn’t quite support all that weight on just four legs (the original design called for eight). The biggest issue of all, though, was money. It turned out that not everyone was as enthusiastic as the Parliamentary committee, and very few were willing to invest. The park itself was not the major tourist attraction Watkin had hoped for, and work ground to a halt.

In fact, the tower ended up having a detrimental effect on the Metropolitan Railway. At this time, the Great Central Railway used the Met lines to get into London, a costly move. With the construction of the Tower, the Great Central was able to say (and I’m paraphrasing here y’understand), “Oh hey, that’s cool, with all that extra traffic you’ll be getting from the Tower you won’t be able to run our little trains so we’rebuildingourownlineintoLondonbyenow,” and promptly rushed off to Marylebone.

The Tower also had something of a domino effect on Watkin’s other schemes – it was very clear, as the mostly-incomplete tower rusted away, that Watkin had maybe lost his golden touch, and so investment in his grand scheme to run trains to Paris dried up as well. The ugly monument gained such unflattering nicknames as “the London Stump” and, the name by which it is perhaps best known today, “Watkin’s Folly.”

The enterprise went bust in 1899, in 1901 Watkin himself passed away and in 1902 the whole thing was declared a health and safety hazard and closed down. In 1907 the remains were blown up and sold for scrap. Yet Watkin’s scheme was not entirely in vain – in the 1920s, when the organisers of the British Empire Exhibition were looking for somewhere to build their stadium, they discovered there was a perfectly peachy-keen area of flat ground at Wembley…

… and the rest, they say, is history.

3 Comments

Filed under 19th century, 20th Century, Buildings and architecture, Geography, History, London, London Underground, Parks and gardens, Politics, Sports and Recreation, Suburbia, tourism, Transport

Carnivaliant Efforts

On Sunday, I enjoyed a day that was a testament to the wondrous power of impulsively saying “yes” to things. God, what an appalling intro. I’ll try again.

Basically, last weekend I was feeling a little run down. Having come back from the Edinburgh Festival, getting back into the swing of everyday life was hard. I tend to feel a bit low after the end of a show, no doubt a psychiatrist could tell us more, and Edinburgh was such a surreal and crazy experience that it was doubly hard to accept the prospect of free evenings. Therefore, I’d been partying as hard as possible. Pimpstick Jr. had a boozy gathering at the Princess Louise in Holborn at which I got roundly hammered (and discovered that it is literally quicker to walk from Holborn to Waterloo than to get the Tube, but that’s another story). Tiny Emma came around on Saturday for a night of wine and Dark City (Emma is into films that “mess with reality,” and Dark City is a shining example of the genre). And then I got a text from Izzi inviting me along to Notting Hill Carnival the following day. I’d never been to the Carnival before, and I had nothing else to do, and Izzi’s company is never less than scintillating, and so I said yes. Tiny Emma, who does not frequent the Internet, thought this was incredibly short-term planning.

Sadly, when the day dawned, I was not in perhaps the best shape for the event.  Bloated, hungover and poor, Sunday morning was not my friend. Izzi and I met up, and she – who lives in the Western Zone of the city – explained how it goes. She also took the photos for this entry, by the way.

The Carnival has been running since 1959, and since then has grown to be one of London’s greatest excuses to let its collective hair down. Initially started in response to racial tensions in the area, it is now a celebration of Caribbean culture in the city and, indeed, of the city’s multi-culturalism in general. I did not steal any of that from a press release. This year, it enjoyed over a million attendants, of whom Izzi and Yr. Humble Chronicler were two.

Initially, I have to admit I was cynical (read: grumpy and hungover) – on the way from Notting Hill Gate, I was struck by the number of boarded-up shops and houses, and the number of makeshift stalls charging exorbitant amounts for food and beer (beer especially). But we got further in, and helped by a rum-filled coconut and the appearance of sunshine, I started to mellow out.

By the time we got to the parade route, I was definitely in the mood to party most hearty. Now I see what Polly Thomas meant in her essay, ‘Growing Up With Carnival’ (published in Miranda Davies and Sarah Anderson’s Inside Notting Hill):

“I’ve never been able to understand those joyless souls who don’t love Carnival, who refuse to get impossibly excited about the prospect of sharing their streets with some two million revellers intent on sticking two fingers up to the norm for a couple of days and letting it all hang out in public.”

Indeed so.

We strode along the route for some way towards Ladbroke Grove, enjoying the wind-baiting costumes and awesome Caribbean music, although that ‘Trini and Tobago’ song got a bit tedious the eighteenth time. An awful lot of people, us included, wound up smeared in chocolate (yes, it was definitely chocolate). Even the odd shower of rain could not dampen the mood, although I have to say the presence of baton-carrying police was slightly sinister. Izzi and I opined that the event would be improved if they started breakdancing.

Lunch consisted of curry goat, plantain and rice and beans, because why the hell not? Izzi was most pleased to bump into Mr Levi Roots, a saucy fellow indeed, hey nonny. Food was followed by booze and, of course, more dancing. In fact, so merry were we that we decided to continue partying in Bayswater after the parade had ended. At this point my memory grows hazy and fragmented, but for some reason my pupils have gone white and Bibles combust at my touch.

My last memory of the night was an amateurish attempt to sell me cocaine in Stockwell.

All in all, as Portobello Road degenerates into a row of chain stores, it’s good to be reminded that Notting Hill still retains some individuality. I think I’ll have to go again next year.

4 Comments

Filed under 20th Century, Booze, Current events, London, Music, Notable Londoners, Notting Hill, tourism

The Beasts with Two Backs

Saturday was a busy, busy day. It started when I woke up in bed with two women and an empty champagne bottle. However, because this is the real world, the reason I was in bed with two women was because we’d passed out watching Moulin Rouge. The champagne is more complicated, and remind me to tell you about it some time.

Rashly, I had agreed to meet the Da and the Sis in London for lunch, and so I had to stagger back from Fulwell to Colliers Wood to get myself into some sort of respectable state. On the way, I decided that mobile phones should be banned on buses, purely because when you have a pounding headache and rising nausea, there is little that is more annoying than a guy sitting directly behind you, babbling non-stop for the entire journey. Well, actually, screaming kids are more annoying. There was one of those, too.

I had hoped a shower, a snooze and some lunch would take care of the hangover. Even a hair of the dog at the Princess Louise in Holborn didn’t help. This was particularly lame, as I was supposed to be meeting some of my theatrical chums at the Natural History Museum.

Our destination was the Sexual Nature exhibition, and after half an hour in line in the sun (with a hangover, I don’t think I mentioned that before) we were in. The exhibition, if you haven’t seen it, is basically devoted to the subject of reproduction in the animal kingdom. Reproduction is a hugely important part of life – if you go with Richard Dawkins’ Selfish Gene theory, it’s basically the meaning of life. But what makes this such an interesting exhibition is the incredible variety of it out there.

The exhibition covers a very wide area, from mating displays to pheromonesto  The Deed Itself to birth and those early days of life. Each section in turn covers a huge and incredible variety. Take the seahorse, where the males are the ones who give birth. Or ducks, in which the females have evolutionary strategies to deal with gang rape. Or the angler fish, for whom the males are so much smaller than the females that scientists initially thought they were parasites (any radical feminists in the readership?).

Isabella Rossellini is a strange woman.

Although such a broad topic is by necessity going to be unable to cover any individual topic in great depth, it certainly brought home the incredible variation among the many, many species with which we share the planet. We were particularly taken by the section on scent, including a rather pungent exhibit enabling you to experience the smell of jaguar piss. And there were a number of very strange short films by Isabella Rossellini from the Green Porno series. Good fun.

Following a swift cheap-and-cheerful Chinese meal, we headed over to Holborn, to the Princess Louise. As I think I’ve said before, this is one of my all-time favourite pubs, due to its pure Victorian decor downstairs, its luxurious lounge upstairs and, not that I want to sound like a cheapskate or anything, the fact that you can get a round of drinks for a tenner without descending to the accursed levels of Wetherspoons. Here, we met Shoinan for more alcohol and inappropriate conversation. At this point, my hangover finally subsided and I could return to damaging my liver in earnest.

After this, Shoinan and I decided to move on into sinful Soho to see where a couple of reprobates like us could get some more booze. We came upon the Nellie Dean, a pub we’d visited once before. This is another old-skool place, unkempt, disreputable-looking, not too crowded and not remotely trendy. Therefore, ideal for us. It’s also open until midnight, which helps. We continued to put the world to rights over a jug of Pimms (executive decision by Shoinan) before heading home.

I feel we all learnt a lot that day. Unfortunately I can’t remember any of it. Hey ho.

1 Comment

Filed under Booze, Film and TV, Flora and Fauna, Kensington, London, Museums, Plants and animals, Randomness, Soho, tourism, West End

Little Boxes on the Roadside

Here’s a London icon for you:

Yeah, you like that, don’t you. What you have there is one of the ultimate icons of London, familiar from a thousand picture postcards and souvenir paperweights, the classic red phone box.

The time was when these were simply everywhere, and indeed, in London they still are. The advent of mobile phones has rendered them largely obsolete except as a place for prostitutes to advertise (Yr. Humble Chronicler recalls an American friend who was most impressed by this. “In America we keep porn out of reach, in Britain you’ve got it in the phone booths!”), but nevertheless, as a curiosity I don’t see them vanishing any time soon.

Phone boxes are a relic of the time when not only did people not have mobile phones, most didn’t even have a house phone. From the 1870s onwards, most phone calls had to be made from “call offices,” usually located in shops. At the beginning of the 20th century, the telephone companies began to locate these offices in booths outside of the main buildings, hence the birth of the phone box. These were sometimes rather elaborate structures in iron or carved out of wood, but more often were simple shed-like structures.

In 1911, most of the phone companies were nationalised under the General Post Office and some thought was given as to mass-production and standardisation. The first boxes (a preserved example may be seen right) were made of concrete, and were simple structures with pointy roofs and no standard colour. These were the K1s, the “K” standing for “kiosk” if you’re kurious. Ironically, given the now-iconic status of the boxes, the Metropolitan Boroughs of London refused to let these be sited within their boundaries.

In 1923, thought was given to a redesign, and so the Royal Fine Arts Commission held a competition. Giles Gilbert Scott’s design was the winner. Scott is these days best known as the designer of Liverpool Cathedral and Battersea Power Station. His design was simple but elegant, and would come to be known as the K2, the design pictured at the top of this entry.

The design was supposedly inspired by the tomb of Sir John Soane (he of the Museum) in St Pancras, on the left there. Scott envisioned it as being made of steel and silver in colour, however the GPO went with cheaper cast iron and a bright red colour scheme for visibility.

Despite all these compromises, there were problems with the K2 design. It was far larger than the design brief specified and each one would cost £50, 25% over budget. Which rather raises the question of why this design was chosen in the first place, but ours not to reason why. As a result, most of them were installed in Central London and on sights of prestige, with the K1s continuing in use elsewhere (including a couple of thatch roofed examples in Eastbourne, I am not making this up).

So Scott went back to the drawing board and came up with the smaller, concrete K3, seen right. This satisfied those initial design requirements, but there were issues nevertheless – concrete pillars had to be thick and so restricted space inside, and they were quite expensive to maintain as compared to iron. The solution, in 1936, was the K6.

[PARENTHESIS: For the purposes of this article, I’ll skip over the K4 and K5. The K4 incorporated a letter box and stamp vending machines, and the K5 was a portable model made of wood, the 1930s equivalent of a mobile phone I suppose]

The K6 was made of iron and known as the “Jubilee kiosk” for King George V’s Jubilee in 1935, first being installed in 1936. This was the best of both worlds, being small and cheap to build like the K1 and K3 but distinctive and cheap to maintain like the K2. They also featured the option of the Scottish crown rather than the English one above the sign.  These were installed nationwide, becoming by far the most familiar phone boxes in the country and continuing in production into the 1960s.

In the 1960s, the Post Office began to favour more modern designs, the sort of thing that looks more like a shower cubicle than a phone box, and I hope you’ll forgive me if I skip over the K7s, K8s, KXs and the various non-Post Office/British Telecom manufactured examples. I’ll briefly mention the KX-Plus, which does look like a shower cubicle but also incorporates a Scott-style dome, which I feel is at least a step in the right direction architecturally-speaking.

Yet the old red boxes were far from dead. As soon as they started to disappear, people began to complain, to the point where British Telecom was having to perform booth replacements at midnight to prevent outcry. An actual exception was made to the rules concerning listed buildings to allow 2000 of the boxes that remained to be saved. Thousands of the boxes that were removed were saved and refurbished, often finding new uses on private sites. Many have even been reinstalled as phone boxes, some in places that never had such kiosks in the first place.

Not bad going, given that these days their primary function seems to be as props in tourists’ photographs.

Leave a comment

Filed under 19th century, 20th Century, Buildings and architecture, History, London, tourism

Thomas Willson and the Pyramid of Death

As I think I’ve mentioned before, one of the problems London faced as it expanded in the nineteenth century was the issue of where to bury the dead. There were just too many stiffs for the earth to hold. One churchyard in Holborn had a ground level twelve feet above that of the surrounding area, due to the sheer number of corpses crammed therein (and “crammed” really is the word). While the transmission of disease was not yet fully understood, people did have a dim awareness that corpse-goo was leaking into London’s wells, and this was almost certainly a Bad Thing from a hygiene perspective.

Obviously, there was only so much that could be done with the existing burial grounds. Cremation was out of the question, due to the Christian belief that the body had to be whole for the Day of Judgment (no heaven for you, amputees!). Christopher Wren had proposed the establishment of cemeteries outside of the city – one of a number of modernising improvements that were turned down by the Corporation of London following the Great Fire in 1666.

By the beginning of the 19th century, the attitude was starting to shift. After all, other countries had successfully built cemeteries on the outskirts of cities, and London really was getting very smelly. While most ideas proposed were along the lines of a sort of landscape garden – basically our modern idea of a cemetery – the architect Thomas Willson had a slightly more ambitious plan, which he put forward in 1829.

To understand the background to this, you need to know a bit about the fashion for Egyptiana that came about in the 1820s. It began in 1821, with an exhibition of Egyptiana by an archaeologist named Giovanni Battista Belzoni.

Belzoni was, in scholarly terms, a crap archaeologist. Even in the 19th century, many historians didn’t hold him in high regard. His methods of excavation consisted of going into a place, grabbing all the treasure he could and then buggering off. He was sort of the Indiana Jones of his day. Nevertheless, many of his treasures ended up in the British Museum.

His exhibition of Egyptian finds in Piccadilly created a sensation. This was the era when Gothic fiction was still very popular, and the macabre fascination with death among the Londoners of the time fitted in well with the burial culture of Ancient Egypt. As a result, a kind of Egypt-mania arose in the city.

So in a sense, it wasn’t at all surprising that Willson should suggest the construction of a pyramid to house the dead. The location he suggested was atop Primrose Hill, now a well-known beauty spot a short distance from Chalk Farm.

This would have been a truly spectacular landmark, had it actually been built. The base would have been the size of Russell Square and it would have been taller than St Paul’s Cathedral. There would have been 94 storeys and capacity to hold up to five million corpses. Steam-powered lifts would have been used to access the many, many catacombs therein, although construction would have been of suitably ancient-looking granite over a brick shell.

Such was Willson’s optimism that he formed a Pyramid General Cemetery Company in which people could invest. His profit projections were optimistic – the projected cost would have been £2,500 (which, in modern money and adjusting for inflation, is quite a lot) and the ultimate profit, he estimated, would be £10,764,000. Furthermore, he thought it would not only be a practical way of dealing with the problems of the big city, but he also saw it as a tourist attraction for the morbid folk of the time – more profit to the Company, one assumes.

Sadly (perhaps), the scheme didn’t go ahead. Perhaps it was too radical. Perhaps people got the wrong end of the stick when Willson asked them to invest in a “pyramid scheme.” In any case, the concept was turned down in favour of more conventional cemetery schemes. All was not lost for Willson, however, and he later found himself on the Board of Directors for the General Cemetery Company, which would construct the burial grounds at Kensal Green. 

Frankly, I don’t think I’d have liked such a monument. If you look at the photo above, you can see how high above the city Primrose Hill is, and I think a giant granite memento mori looming over the West End would be a little offputting. But then, I’m not a nineteenth century emo.

2 Comments

Filed under 19th century, Buildings and architecture, Camden, Environment, Fashion and trends, History, London, Notable Londoners, tourism

Good Friday? I’ll say!

Happy Easter, chums. I hope the weekend finds you well. I am fine. At the time of writing, it’s Good Friday and I’ve just come back from a rather unexpectedly pleasant day out which was, I feel, in the true spirit of psychogeography.

I mean, it was a lovely sunny day outside, and as it was a four-day weekend, I was feeling rather chipper. I wasn’t at all sure what I wanted to do, so I thought I’d explore the canals around Limehouse a bit more. Alas, when I got to Bank, I discovered that the Docklands Light Railway wasn’t running. Yes, I know, I know, could have seen that when I started the journey, but that’s not how I roll.

So, vaguely at a loss, I decided to just go for a wander. I broke the surface (not literally) and wandered vaguely North-East through Leadenhall Market. This place, pictured right, is an absolutely gorgeous Victorian shopping arcade. During the week it houses a food market, but at weekends is rather peaceful – I have yet to sample the weekday wares, alas. You may know it from the film of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, in which it appeared as the area around Diagon Alley. I got the impression Chris Columbus was going for the Bridget Jones’ Diary school of London film making, in which London is a magical place that hasn’t quite moved out of the Victorian era.

Heading out beyond Liverpool Street, I came upon Petticoat Lane market. I’ve never been here before, and I must admit that I’d never really thought about going there before. I’d heard of it, but had no especial desire to visit. It’s not one of the top tourist destinations, and as such doesn’t cater to tourists. It’s primarily a clothing market, which is great if you are me. However, I do have to say that there’s a lot of duplication between stalls – if you’ve seen one selection of shirts, you’ve seen them all. The market has historically been a place of dubious legality, only becoming official in 1936, but despite this and the lack of tourism, it remains a firm local institution. While I wouldn’t go out of my way for it personally, it’s worth a look if, like me, you get stupidly excited about clothes.

Speaking of places where one can get stupidly excited about clothes, Brick Lane is very nearby, and so I made a beeline that way. With it being a bank holiday and thus less crowded than usual, and with the sun out, it was an utterly delightful experience. Sadly, at present, I find myself having to hold the purse strings – I’m moving house shortly, you see. And so it makes perfect sense that the universe should choose this point to taunt me with an incredible stripy blazer in black, red and grey (which I could totally pull off, I’m telling you) and a pair of Chelsea boots in exactly the style I’ve been looking for. Sadly, I could afford neither of these. Not even in the “can but shouldn’t” way. Instead, I consoled myself with a bagel, and now my fingers smell indelibly of chopped herring.

It was at this point that a teenager told me to get a haircut. I have thus out-fabuloused both the teens and the Shoreditch kids, which I believe is what is termed “bi-winning.”

This being done, I decided to finish my journey by walking up City Road to Islington. Wandering around Camden Passage, I came across one of the most amazing canes I have ever seen. It had a silver skull-shaped handle with a jawbone that doubled as a cigar cutter. But sadly it was £150, which I really, really, really cannot afford. Finally, I know the pain of unrequited love.

2 Comments

Filed under Current events, East End and Docklands, Fashion and trends, Geography, Islington, London, Markets, Photos, Psychogeography, Shopping, Shoreditch, The City, tourism, Weird shops