Mar
2021

London in Lockdown

 

Writing about London in Lockdown has been a challenge.

Hopefully this will be the last post about London in Lockdown. Not managing to get out for many walks up the river, and being restricted  has been uninspiring; London in Lockdown, is London with it’s heart cut out. London is a place of constant movement with thousands of events going on simultaneously. Writing about my five mile radius is somewhat boring. I want London to get back to normal but as well need to Get out to explore and discover new walks, 

After attending a funeral recently where I  stayed over night in another part of London,  the next day a very short walk along the river was welcome.

Walking along the river from Greenwich North on a suitably wintery morning.

 

They really are combining the Urban with wildlife down here. A place you can see wild birds and Barclays Bank in loving harmony!

 I have been living with a SE24 postcode longer that I care to remember. I’m never sure if I live in Brixton or Herne Hill!

Brockwell park is our very own Central Park that borders on Brixton & draws round to Tulse Hill  going round to the Norwood entrance then sweeps down to Herne Hill. The park has become extremely important over the last few months. For those of you who don’t know Brixton or Herne Hill. I feel compelled to explain how close they are to each other. I mentioned in the last post a visitor from Ireland was quite impressed with the area. Then thought, can I  truly consider myself living in brixton with a SE24 post code!  I really am on the border, which has been said of my general persona; so perhaps I’m in the right place!!

In fact if I walk five minutes up the road from my place, to Brockwell Park at the top of Effra Parade; leading onto Brixton Water Lane (South Brixton/Tulse Hill)  If I turn right out of my house in less than a 10 minute walk  I’m in Brixton Central. Turn left and there is Herne Hill station in 10 minutes. 

https://brockwellparkcommunitypartners.org.uk/visit-the-park/

I found a neat little map of Brockwell Park Community Partners It’s worth a look at what’s on offer, should you ever want to visit. The Lido and tennis courts .As well as the  sheer scope and size of it  is well worth it.

My mother used to write letters to me and always addressed it as Brixton /Herne Hill, London England.

That is about right. Although for many years I lived in SW9 which is proper brixton that was back in the squatting days.  In Brixton Central you will find the: markets, clubs, bars, cinema, crowds and all of that. I took the picture below as I wanted to get a snapshot before the builders painted over it.

BRADYS SW9….
Home of the brave. You could come out of Brixton Underground, stroll in 2 minutes, through an arcade and straight into the saloon bar. The Wild West never died here.. I’m glad to see the developers so far have kept the original Bradys aka The Railway sign in tact. It really had it’s moments, a mainly Irish bar with frequent live music lively nights were had by all.

Herne Hill, the new Hampstead

This has a lot going for it. Years ago nobody went there! Now it’s buzzing.

I nearly forgot to mention the poets roads in Herne Hill

Off Railton Road, running up to Brockwell Park, we have residential roads named after poets: MiltonRoad, Shakespeare,Spencer &Chaucer Road. This is most definitely Herne Hill residential at it’s finest.

St James Park

My second favourite park in London. I had an opticians appointment and as it was in Victoria London, I took the opportunity to meet up with a friend for a walk across the park. ( no kissing or cuddling took place! we maintained our distance)

LUSH GREEN PLANTS IN ST JAMES PARK VICTORIA LONDON 12/3/ 21

ducks, swans st james park

A freezing cold day in March. St James Park, down among the ducks & Swans

DUCKS ALWAYS UP FOR A FEED IN ST JAMES PARK

 

BENDY TREE AMONG THE DAFFODILS.

  In 2015 I wrote Out and about in London a simple day of pleasure        click here to read.

Many of my blogs have been about days out in London, but I do want a change 

but I’m not sure where to start. Lockdown is becoming normal and I feel almost scared to start planning.

RIP Eileen Deeks, who enjoyed life to the full & is famous for saying life is for living.

It’s likely most will agree, I’m sure, it is time to start living a little! 

 

Feb
2021

Eastbourne to Winchester

Eastbourne to Winchester a 100 mile walk across the Southdowns’

Recently I was browsing through my you tube subscriptions. I came across some posts from a crew called WSV, Their channel is dedicated to hiking, mainly around the North and south Downs. They recorded a serieS of walks  between Eastbourne and  Winchester. I watched the first episode of six ,which was walking from Eastbourne to  Alfriston. I’m interested for sure. The questions arising so far are:  where will I get the water from, and will the pubs still be open?

https://youtu.be/0_3HsCmW98M

 

Is it possible to walk from Eastbourne to Winchester over 7 days?

A VERY LONG WALK is on the cards

 

I think I could and it will take a hell of a lot of planning. I can make vague geographical plans, theres’ no harm in that. Many of my walks have covered the first section of the South Downs.

In the meantime I have to make do with local walks.

Brixton theatre restaurant, I don’t often walk down this bit much anymore. It seems they have stripped some of the veneer to show off a beautiful front window.

 

A grand old building on the corner of Brixton Road and Coldharbour Lane, sadly, a junk shop underneath it, I can imagine a better world, selling clothes and art.

 

More pics from the not so mean streets of Brixton.

I always remember a young Irish fella I had met in Galway, He came over to London for a break and I showed him round Brixton. He was so surprised at how civilised it was. He had expected overturned cars and an overall seediness, obviously his views stemmed from the internationally famous Brixton riots;  but this was  around 1995 or so. Things were a bit more upbeat by then.. As well -there have always been ‘posh’ houses in Brixton.

This is a shot without the crowds. Usually at weekends or evenings  it’s like Barcelona in here.!

Early morning shot of one of the arcades in Brixton.

 

Green life in arcade, closed presently of course.

 

Ethnic food, lots of international cafes in the arcade.

 

Empty shop but still you could pick up a free book, or leave one behind.

POP UP BRIXTON. Temporary makeshift units of bars, cafes, and clothes stores. I think this is due to come down soon and may well be the area they want to build some new high-rises. Will check that out later.

 

The old railway bridge in Market Road Brixton.

 

BOOKMONGERS SECOND HAND BOOKS COLDHARBOUR LANE

 

It seems there are two schools of thought about Lockdown

Those who are thriving and finding inspiration in lockdown, who are these people?: recluses! writers  artists!?  The second group of people are those (probably the majority) who are not finding inspiration in Lockdown and trying to carry on as if all is well when it isn’t.

The Thames @ Bermondsey taken seconds before the snow came down.

 

BERMONDSEY WINDOW, ONE I TOOK EARLIER.

 

I fall somewhere in-between, to be totally honest. I feel obliged to find inspiration in Lockdown, but despite my efforts to keep fit and mentally sane.  It’s something that I’m struggling with. On the positive.I have  I have enrolled on various courses with Domestika and they are brilliant.

For the first time in my life i have got into water colours and painting.

I have, embarked on experimenting in note pads using paints and pens all new to me. There is a whole world to explore, and I’m taking my own sweet time, just dipping in and out when I feel like it.

I enclose the pic not to say how great I am, just to show that a doodle done in a few minutes without really any skill as such can still be fun.

I see it as a tool and I’m not too worried whether it’s good or not, but to see my doodles in colour is fun.

https://www.domestika.org/en

MARY BOAST WALK

I left last months post with a question. The post was about places and names.

I looked up the origins of the name on the sign Mary Boast Walk. Rather than copy the information , I have included the link.  Please see below another blogger who knows and loves London.

https://knowyourlondon.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/mary-boast-walk-camberwell/

Until next time, keep on keeping on. I suspect March will see me venturing up the river more often and hopefully a bit further each time. It will be April before I start venturing out of London, and I’m so looking forward to that.

 

Jan
2021

Places & Names

Looking a bit closer at Places & Names

 

Looking closer at some of my recent blogs I decided to do a bit more research on the places and names I come across on a regular basis. 

In a recent walk from Brixton to Crystal Palace, ending up in Forest Hill/ Sydenham, I took a photograph of the sign Jews Walk.

Places and names is also the title of a very good song written by John Cale and Lou Reed featured on the album; songs for Drella.  Names can tell us a lot about our environment, if we take the time to investigate.

For this post I will limit myself to exploring: Love Walk- Jews Walk, and Gipsy Hill .

Jews Walk

Jews Walk was named after two Jewish brothers who lived in Westwood, a large house on the edge of Sydenham Common, In about 1769 the two brothers obtained permission from Lord Dartmouth, the Lord of the Manor, to create a tree-lined walk across the common to their house.

This walk became known as “the Jews’ walk”.

When Sydenham Common was enclosed in the early 19th century the name was retained. By at least 1854 the residents of Jews Walk felt that such a name was not appropriate (undertones of anti-Semitism? ) and they began referring to the street as “The Grove”.

In 1878 the Metropolitan Board of Works, a London-wide body amongst whose responsibilities was making sense of house numbers and street names, was petitioned to officially rename Jews Walk to “The Grove”.

To their credit the M.B.W refused to change the name and “Jews Walk”, one of the oldest street-names in Sydenham, survived.’ Extract taken from Sydenham Town Forum.

 

Gipsy hill

The hill once covered in trees was a well- known-haunt of Romani people in the 19th century.

It  is an area bordering two London boroughs of Lambeth and southwark, it’s worth a climb to the top for the views of London. A massive hill takes you up to Crystal Palace where you will pass Gipsy Hill train station. Gipsy Hill also can boast its’ own brewery. The Ghost Whale craft beer bar stocks their brew as do other trendy bars.

A couple of interesting facts about the area of Gipsy hill

A 28-room nuclear bunker was constructed between 1963 and 1966 as part of a block of flats on the Central hill Estate called Pear Tree House on Lunham Road.

Famous residents of Gipsy Hill area include the singer songwriter Errol Brown from Hot Chocolate, and Nigel  Eaton who was a hurdy -gurdy player for Jimmy Page and Robert Plant also lived in the area.

LOVE WALK AND CAMBERWELL

 There is only one street named Love Walk making it unique in the UK. 

Every day I walk or cycle from Brixton to Camberwell and walk down Love Walk. I have researched Camberwell and still could not find the exact origin of the name Love walk.  During my research however,  I  realise how much Camberwell means to me.

Years ago I wrote a post comparing Brixton to Clapham, intending to be dismissive of Clapham, turns out I had a soft spot for the place. Likewise I have the same love for  Camberwell.

.

The most famous landmarks is probably Camberwell College of Arts which is also part of St Martins. Maudsley Hospital and Kings College Hospital are significant major hospitals serving Southwark and many areas in Kent.  It hasn’t a tube station but a train station called Denmark Hill.  Oh and of course Love Walk Café and the famous mural.

I love the fact that the office I work in is on Love Walk. Love Walk Cafe on Denmark Hill

A famous painting as a mural in Camberwell. It’s a shame the graffiti below it is so ugly. If I had the gift I would spray something beautiful over that.

 

There are no high street shops in Camberwell.  Morrison’s is the main local shop, and they give 10% off to NHS workers; the other main food shop is the Coop. In recent years we said goodbye to Woolworths and Hello to Costa, but that was the only update.

Camberwell Grove is a leafy residential conservation area and has a steep and long grove.  Walking up and down there is enjoyable at lunch times and a way to get some steps in.

Love walk is a pretty walk, featuring old fashioned country cottages situated just off the walk with their own front garden. Camberwell was originally a tiny village in the county of Surrey, the artist and writer John Ruskin moved there in 1823, and Ruskin Park on Denmark Hill is named after him. It’s easy to imagine it as a country village.

I was unable to locate the exact origins of the name LOVE WALK, but did find some interesting theories about the name of Camberwell.

It has been conjectured that, as the name of St. Giles (church) just off Love Walk, conveys an idea of cripples, the well which gave part of the name to the village might have been famous for some medicinal virtues, and might have occasioned the dedication of the church to this patron saint of cripples. The well would then become the well of the ‘crooked’ or crippled. Interesting, as now The Maudsley mental Health Institute and Kings college hospital dominate the area.

See further reading.!

source https://www.british-history.ac.uk/.

 

Brixton v Clapham 

Oh and before I go.

answers on a post card if you know the origins of this name

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

Dec
2020

walking in London 2020

I have done a lot more walking in London recently

 

I have really enjoyed my off the cuff walks in London in 2020. . This post looks more at the art & architecture, I come across when out and about. London is forever changing; which means wondering about the city can be quite fascinating.  It wasn’t really my intention to do more walking in London, I’m usually looking for ways out! It was always in my mind to get out in the hills and start preparing for adventures further afield. Lockdown put a stop to all of that.

Recently I joined an organisation called Life/work; which is basically a company that hires out workspaces at very reasonable prices in great areas.

https://work.life/locations/bermondsey/?utm_source=local&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=gmb

This is my favorite branch of work/life-it is based in Bermondsey.

I love this building in Bermondsey street, the colours and windows are gorgeous. Walking around Bermondsey, Surrey Docks, and Rotherhithe in July 2020 was really inspiring to me. Luckily I have an excuse to keep visiting Bermondsey,

I believe there is an artist somewhere in Liverpool doing this style of murals/cheeky children’s art. I took this early October before the lockdown, and last week found an article about street art in the Guardian. Cheeky and unadulterated art! Rude Kids series in Liverpool by Dotmaster.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2020/nov/13/cheeky-and-unadulterated-readers-favourite-uk-public-art

 

One of my first impressions of London as a 10- year old, (on a tour boat down the Thames,) was of all the warehouses along the sides of the river.  I was a big fan of the film Oliver and Imagined all sorts of artful dodgers roaming about. When I returned to seek my fortune at 17 I found it all to be true. The streets were not paved with gold but with chancers, runaways, and all sorts…London has cleaned up almost completely but I still love looking at buildings and revisiting different areas of London.

A Welcoming bar in Bermondsey.

 

Ad hoc walk from Camden to Kings Cross

I had met up with a friend at the Camden Branch of Work/life and we decided to walk along the canal to Kings Cross. I couldn’t believe how much it had changed. This was just before the second Lockdown.

A perfectly warm autumn day along the canal from Camden to Kings Cross.

A new shopping place just off the canal.

The New St Martins School of Art in an old building at Kings Cross.

 

COAL DROP YARD

This was once the grand coal yard were back in the industrial age, trains would drop off the coals, bringing them down to London on the great North Eastern Railway. Now a very trendy shopping/café hangout place for city dwellers.

“Coal buildings were built in 1851 as part of Lewis Cubitt’s design for the Goods Yard. The offices originally housed clerks who were employed to monitor the flow of coal through the yards.” The buildings were gutted by fire in 1983, and have remained abandoned until now.” https://www.kingscross.co.uk/fish-coal-buildings

 

Ode to the Viking?! Along the canal situated near Coal Drops Yard

 

I even managed to get to a couple of exhibitions this year despite the crazy lockdown. Although the arrangement didn’t quite go to plan, I went to the wrong Tate, bewildered why my friend was saying she was at the entrance and I couldn’t see her! Talk about Lockdown brain damage.! Luckily one of the attendants advised me and assured me that I could take the boat over the river and they would still let me in late as I would be.


The Iconic Jagger print, as designed by Andy Warhol, at The Tate Modern!!

 

M U S H R O O M R O C K!

The exhibition explored some ground-breaking, uses, and experiments in design, textiles, and architecture.  The humble mushroom has taken on a role of increasing significance, and I’m not just talking about magic mushrooms (incidentally trials are still being run to see ways they can help with depression)

The mushroom is being explored in other exciting new ways – from upcycled agro-waste to sustainable shoes made with mycelium. I’m waiting for my’ mushroom leather jacket,’ and will have my name on the waiting list when they come out. If that all sounds far fetched, check this link out.

https://www.somersethouse.org.uk/blog/virtual-tour-mushrooms

For more of my walks in London, see the link below or see my archives. Don’t forget you can always leave a comment, tell me something I don’t know, or tell me you liked my blog! Go on…..

Alongside my series of a day out from London, I am devising walk guides for people who can’t read maps or aren’t good at following instructions!  Next year I’m sticking to easy days out from London. Until life gets back to normal I’m not making any ambitious plans.

Until then. Keep on Keeping on.

Local London walks more about London

Out and about in London London oh London

LONDON LIFE/MUSIC MACHINE

Nov
2020

Local London walks

 Shorter local London Walks have been essential in Lockdown

 Under normal circumstances, I would not go out on so many London walks.  local London Walks hasn’t been top of my list, but under the circumstances I have made do and even enjoyed staying closer to home. 

As we approach winter and face short days, longer walks further afield are not practical. It doesn’t help that cafes, bars and places of interest are closed due to Lockdown.

 

Brockwell Park Beautiful Autumn day.

 

In between Lockdowns, I have made do with a lot of ad hoc walks.

London is a great place to walk about as there is always so much going on. It’s not the best place to avoid people though, even in LOCKDOWN.

 Those of you who know me, will be aware I live in Brixton so I spend a lot of time here. Using public transport at the best of times is a fairly awful experience, but there is only so far I can walk within London. I’m only an hours walk from the Thames so that’s a good thing.

Walking through one of Brixton’s Arcade leading onto Coldharbour Lane and the junction of Railton Road.

This is one of my favourite off the cuff pictures taken in Railton Road one fine summer evening earlier in the year. I’m a big fan of shadows.

 

In the summer when the threat of lockdown became a reality.

Sometimes you just want to sit down and have a beer.. The Craft Bar Brixton looking extremely empty.

I sometimes Like to sit in the Craft Bar after a late afternoon shop and look out of the window at the comings and goings of people in Brixton.

 

 I am just as close to Herne Hill and Brockwell Park, as I am to Brixton.

Once a decision has been made to go out for a walk in the park, life somehow looks better.

Looking out towards Herne Hill Flats from Brockwell Park. Looking fairly empty for a change

I had a lovely walk round the park with another walk leader, earlier in the summer. It was nice to see so many wild flowers.

WALKING TO CHELSEA IS A REAL BOOST TO THE SYSTEM, WITHIN AN HOUR I AM IN BATTERSEA PARK OVERLOOKING THE RIVER, AND THEN I'M CROSSING THE ALBERT BRIDGE TO CHELSEA. 

My favourite Bridge (Albert Bridge) and the telephone box just sets it off. Hope they don’t ever take it down.

This is one of my favourite spots, I love cycling from Brixton to Chelsea. I also often walk from Brixton to Chelsea. I am still a member of Chelsea Library and use it often.

 

Walking home from work, I sometimes walk through Ruskin Park, the ducks were very friendly and were hoping  I had some food for them.

 

I love the fact that the office I work in is on Love Walk. Love Walk Café on Denmark Hill

A famous painting as a mural in Camberwell. It’s a shame the graffiti below it is so ugly. If I had the gift I would spray something beautiful over that.

My short  lunch time walks mainly up and down the Grove are a life saver.

Beautiful Camberwell Grove

Camberwell is an interesting area, and I love walking about here in my lunch half hour. Camberwell deserves a blog of it’s own, but in the meantime, see below for some interesting Camberwell facts and stories.

https://supportandsustain.co.uk/uploads/3/4/4/7/34479834/travel_guide_to_camberwell.pdf

I love these signs that are appearing all over London.

 

A walk starting in Brixton to Crystal Palace then over to Forest Hill, this turned into a 10 mile walk, as we took a wrong turn when coming out of Crystal Palace Park. I often visit the small garden Centre in Penge, but thought better of it, as people seemed to be in the mood to queue for anything. Hordes of people were waiting for ever to buy a cup of coffee in the park.! I don’t have the patience for that.

Pounding pavements, we stop to read the road signs and all signs mean something . There is always history on every corner. (Anyone out there know of this history?)

 

Recently I did a 12 mile walk from Richmond to Wimbledon

It was great to be in a bit of open space and see the Deer. My walking partner was leading this walk and the battery on his phone had quit so we ended up a bit lost in the woods. My knees felt the strain as did my feet. Fortunately it wasn’t too cold or raining.

I have written  few blogs about walking in London that can be found in my archives or how about this one for a starter? .Brixton v Clapham

 

Until next episode  on 31/12/2020 Keep on Keeping on..