Re-watching the classic episode of Jon Ronson’s For the love of Princess Diana Conspiracies to see if my memory of what heard when I first watched the show late one night was correct or not – this section on the historical resonances and psychogeography of Paris stuck out.
Went for a wander round Leyton with Neil Denny for his brilliant Little Atoms podcast then recorded an interview in my shed.
That loop in the Central Line has got to be there for a reason beyond making Essex commuters change at Leytonstone and wait for a tube going via Hainault.
The reason it seems is protect the architectural gems of Barkingside from the herds of tourists that would surely stampede this way if it was slightly easier to reach.
You’re welcomed by the brutalist beauty of the Magistrate’s Court radiating greyness like a beached battleship.
Then there is this modernist delight on the High Street – the sort of building that makes me dream of a parallel life living in one of these flats above the shops.
But the jewel in the crown must surely be Fullwell Cross Library – a Grade II listed civic alhambra designed by Frederick Gibberd completed in 1968.
Gibberd started his career as a architect of ‘modern flats’, making his name with Pullman Court in Streatham.
But he was just warming up for building Fullwell Cross Library – the ceiling alone worth trundling around the Hainault branch for.
Even the most avid lover of Redbridge may learn something from a new book exploring the somewhat overlooked delights of London.
For example, did you know that Aldersbrook does not have any pubs as it was built when the anti-drink Temperance Movement was at its height?
Or that a grisly murder was committed in Belgrave Road, Wanstead, when Percy Thompson was killed by his wife’s younger lover in 1922?
Author John Rogers, 42, a keen walker, has travelled far and wide from Australia to India and quite a few places in between but said that London has just as much to offer for the adventurer.
With two reluctant knees, and a can of Stella in hand, the father-of-two trekked far and wide to discover the bits of our capital which deserve another look.
John said: “I’ve travelled but kept getting drawn back to London. I kept that spirit of adventure. London has places as wonderful as anywhere else and it’s all the more amazing because they are outside your doorstep.”
Ilford and Wanstead both feature in his book with the grand finale focusing on a trip to South Park, South Park Drive, Ilford, which started as a bet with his seven-year-old son.
“I was trying to get my kids to come on walks with me. One of them said he would if we went to South Park off the TV show.
“He thought we were going to Colorado but I took him to South Park in Ilford – he saw the funny side of it.”
He said the book gave him an opportunity to find answers to things he had always wondered about such as why there are no pubs in Aldersbrook.
“The estate was built in about ten years from 1899-1910 at the time when the Temperance Movement was very popular, which is why there’s no pub,” he said.
“It was built for city gents who wanted the country lifestyle but still commuted to the city.”
This Other London: Adventures in the Overlooked City will be published in September
The publication of This Other London in Australia today made me think of these maps that I stuck in my journal when I was preparing to leave Sydney in 1997 after 2-and-a-half years. They show some of the streets that played a significant part in my life in Sydney, the places I’d lived, the various routes I took up to the library at Bondi Junction where I used the computers to write a screenplay set in a Hackney squat.
I haven’t been back to Sydney for over 10 years now but mentally I still take a wander along those lanes between Tamarama and Bronte then up to Charing Cross and back to the Waverley Oval.