Friday, 1 February 2008

Lamenting lost London

I've blogged before about those little losses we suffer when the city around us changes. The eel pie and mash shops, the old cafes, those little places that used to be an unchanging and almost unnoticed part of our world - and then, suddenly, they're gone.

Someone else feels that way. They're using the internet to erect a memorial to the lost places of London - London R.I.P.

One of these days I will have to write a history of the number 76 bus route. Or the 73. And the things that have gone;

  • a stonemasons' yard, which I think was the same firm that used to have a yard next to Cambridge station. Ricketts? was that the name?

  • a house entirely surrounded by corrugated tin fences, mostly boarded up,almost derelict; there was a story that the man who lived in it was digging tunnels under his garden, under the house next door, across the road even... I never knew whether to believe them, but there was definitely something odd about the place.

  • Baring Street Metal, a scrapyard in the middle of Islington.

  • Hackney Wholefoods. Every time I passed it with a friend one or both of us would proudly say it as it has to be said - 'Ackney Olefoods'.

  • One building near Old Street where absolutely every window was blocked with old newspapers piled all the way to the ceiling. It must have been a terrific fire hazard. One of those things you only notice from the top floor of a bus, when your mp3 player's packed up and you forgot to buy the newspaper, and you're staring out of the window, bored, and not quite able to doze.

I'm going back to RIP London now to look for some of my old favourites. It will be nice to see them again - even if not in the real world.

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