Sonic Perambulation: Chrisp Street Market to Stratford

It’s great to be back on the essential Resonance FM. “Sonic Perambulation: Chrisp Street Market to Stratford” – is a collaboration with sound recordist Joel Carr with the intention of capturing the shifting sounds experienced on a walk – along with my spontaneous narration. This walk starts at Chrisp Street Market in Poplar as the market traders packed up for the day. It’s one of London’s older street markets and is currently caught up in a regeneration project. We then walk through the streets to the Limehouse Cut and follow this to Stratford via the Lea Navigation. Recorded in July 2023.

Podcast recording with Joel Carr and John Rogers on the Limehouse Cut - Sonic Perambulation broadcast on Resonance FM 24th November 2023
Podcast recording with Joel Carr and John Rogers in Poplar - Sonic Perambulation broadcast on Resonance FM 24th November 2023
Podcast recording with Joel Carr and John Rogers on the Limehouse Cut - Sonic Perambulation broadcast on Resonance FM 24th November 2023

We hope to record more Sonic Perambulations in 2024.

Walking a North London lost river: the Stonebridge Brook

Haringey’s Lost River: the Stonebridge Brook

Back in the summer of 2021 I received an email while on holiday about the sighting of a river with a boat in the 1980’s behind Salisbury Mansions N4. I was intrigued and had a quick look to see if this aligned with the course of any of the lost rivers of the area I was aware of, but drew a blank.
Then I checked the 1863 – 1869 Ordnance survey map of the area and could make out what appeared to be a possible watercourse running off Green Lanes just north of present day St Ann’s Road (Hangar Lane) – along the top of Chestnuts Park which cut across Avenue Road and South Grove (Newsam Ave). Then it could run along modern day Culvert Road, across Seven Sisters Road shortly afterwards flowing parallel to the railway line near South Tottenham Station, beneath the A10 (Ermine St). The watercourse then appeared to feed a lake at Page Green, run beneath the railway line and join the Lea just South of West Junction and near South Junction where it is joined by another stream from the north (the Moselle). Stonebridge House is marked near the course as well – which was another possible indicator.

I was excited to share this potential course with Rebecca who replied that she’d received an anecdote about the St. Ann’s Hospital site. Apparently there was access, via a door and a few steps, to an underground lake – with boats in the basement of one of the nurses blocks. It was said ‘that there is a Victorian underground water holding area, to the south of site.’ “Another former staff member, was able to verify that there was a spring onsite.”
 The only way to find out for sure was to walk the course of this potential lost river of Haringey … and try and find a name for it.

Haringey Map 1873 'Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland'
‘Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland’
Stonebridge Road, South Tottenham from Stonebridge Brook walk

A year and a half or more passed then a comment from Joe was posted on my Crouch End video in March this year. “At the end of the street that Hornsey Library is in, there’s a manhole cover where you can see and hear the Stonebridge Brook. It starts here in Crouch End and flows down to the River Lea, somewhere near the Markfield Brook. There are a few places in Hornsey where you can spot it running beneath the streets.”
Looking online I found this fantastic thread of information. Including this historical record of the river being discussed for culverting by the local council in its 1906 Report on The Health of Tottenham.
Outlining Typhoid statistics the report refers to the Stonebridge (and Moselle) Brook: “It is a noteworthy fact that 52 out of the 62 cases occurred in the portion of the district “ watered ” by the Moselle and Stonebridge Brooks, most of the objectionable portions of which are now fortunately being culverted.
Amongst the public health improvements put forward the Report recommended, “Culverting Stonebridge Brook (East of Avenue Road to South Grove); Culverting Stonebridge Brook at Green Lanes; Culverting Moselle Brook at Scotland Green
The works under consideration included:
(a) Culverting the Stonebridge Brook between Chestnuts Estate and Culvert Road
(b) Culverting the brook rear of houses in Hermitage Road.”

 I now had enough information to plot a course and head out to walk the Stonebridge Brook.

You can watch my videos of the Moselle walk here and Part two here

Walter Benjamin on The Flâneur

“Before Haussmann wide pavements were rare, and the narrow ones afforded little protection from vehicles. Strolling could hardly have assumed the importance it did without the arcades.

Paris Arcade

“The arcades, a rather recent invention of industrial luxury,’ so says an illustrated guide to Paris of 1852, ‘are glass-covered, marble-panelled passageways through entire complexes of houses whose proprietors have combined for such speculations. Both sides of these passageways, which are lighted from above, are lined with the most elegant shops, so that such an arcade is a city, even a world, in miniature.’ It is in this world that the flâneur is at home; he provides ‘the favourite sojourn of the strollers and the smokers, the stamping ground of all sorts of little métiers’,’ with its chronicler and its philosopher. As for him-self, he obtains there the unfailing remedy for the kind of boredom that easily arises under the baleful eyes of a satiated reactionary regime. In the words of Guys as quoted by Baudelaire, ‘Anyone who is capable of being bored in a crowd is a blockhead. I repeat: a blockhead, and a contemptible one.’ The arcades were a cross between a street and an intérieur. If one can speak of an artistic device of the physiologies, it is the proven device of the feuilleron, namely, to turn a boulevard into an intérieur. The street 4a becomes a dwelling for the flâneur; he is as much at home among the façades of houses as a citizen is in his four walls. To him the shiny, enamelled signs of businesses are at least as good a wall ornament as an oil painting is to a bourgeois in his salon. The walls are the desk against which he presses his notebooks; news-stands are his libraries and the terraces of cafés are the balconies from which he looks down on his household after his work is done. That life in all its variety and inexhaustible wealth of variations can thrive only among the grey cobblestones and against the grey background of despotism was the political secret on which the physiologies were based.”

From Charles Baudelaire by Walter Benjamin published by Verso which comprises of extracts from The Arcades Project