CAUTION! THIS IS NOT A GUIDED TOUR!!!!!
SAVAGE MESSIAH WALK ALONG THE PATH OF THE RIVER FLEET.
As part of Housmans bookshop ‘London’s burning’ programme of events Laura Oldfield Ford invites you to join a collective tracing of the Fleet, one of London’s lost rivers.
Saturday 4th July
First meeting point 2pm Hampstead tube—
Second meeting point 4pm approx Quinns public house, the point where the two tributaries of the Fleet converge.. 65, Kentish Town Rd, London, NW1 8NY
–end approx 6pm Housman’s Bookshop, Caledonian Road, Kings Cross N1 where we will be showing London films, more info to follow.
This event is FREE but we will be collecting donations at Housmans for food and drink.
Fleet road/ Gospel Oak Estate/ Irish boozers in Malden road/ Queens crescent Man of Aran pub/ Royal College stret/ Rimbaud and Verlaine’s house/ St pancras churchyard……
BRING… old maps, booze, chalk, codeine.
Public Reading Rooms
5, Caledonian Road
London N1 9DX
I needed a walk to help recover from a violent stomach bug – the kind that has you laid out for 3 days and still has me on a diet of cous-cous and boiled veg. Walking therapy works for me like no other remedy.
The plan was to revisit my old haunts from when I daily schlepped between the Angel and the South Bank, the warren of runs and ways I etched into my consciousness through repeated walking stretching from Bloomsbury across Clerkenwell, Finsbury, Islington and The City.
I start at Lincoln’s Inn Fields then move onto Fleet Street. I perch in St. Dunstan’s-in-the-West and listen to the choir practice. Up Fetter Lane then breach the border of High Holborn entering the mental realm of lower-Islington. Leather Lane is full of lunchtime bustle. Drop down Herbal Hill behind the Guardian offices then along to Back Hill where St. Martin’s students spread out along the curb munching and sunning themselves. I look through into Black Mary’s Hole, the majesty of Mount Pleasant Sorting Office looms above. I skirt the bomb-site (the last in London?) and then I’m tugged westwards along Calthorpe Street. I sit and reflect in St. Andrew’s Gardens. Push on along Grays Inn Road with a nod to the Calthorpe Project. Stop for a bagel and a coffee (always feels wrong to eat a ham bagel). Harrison Street heading west opens up another front of nostalgia, then along Sidmouth Street and into Tavistock Place. The magnetic force of Judd Street Books is too powerful to resist and I lose myself in there for some time.
I cut behind Camden Town Hall where I once argued with the registrars. Descend into Britannia Street the screech of tubes pulling into Kings Cross below, photo the flats I’m sure are in Mike Leigh’s High Hopes. Lorenzo Street (missed Penton Rise) across Pentonville Road and down along Calshot Street. I’ve neglected to account for post viral fatigue, I’m dizzy, my legs go, I have to regain myself on the steps of the new Peabody Building for the final push. Suck on a Murray Mint. On up the mound. Duck into the old estate – no sign of Sam sitting out in front of his flat. Over to Chapel Market, the Salmon & Compasses having yet another refurb. The record shop I loved has gone – I’d planned to buy the Saint Etienne CD that has been playing in my head all day. Cash Converters has replaced the video shop and Woolies has become Waitrose in a bold statement of intent that the Angel is moving up in the world. Wind up in Borders browsing the stacks of 3 for 2s. End – No.56 bus home. I feel infinitely better.