We challenge our contributor to reply to ten devilishly probing questions about their London and we don’t take “Sorry Gov” for an answer. Everyone sitting in the hot seat will face the same questions that range from their favourite way to spend a day out in the capital to their most hated building on London’s skyline to find out just what Londoners really think about their city. The questions might be the same but the answers vary wildly.
[L]ucy Inglis writes the award-winning blog Georgianlondon.com. It is the largest body of study on eighteenth century London freely available online. Unearthing murders, love affairs, shady business dealings, spiritualism, corsetry and dog-napping it has featured in The Times, the Guardian and Time Out. Her recently published book Georgian London: Into the Streets is about the Georgians who called London their home, from dukes and artists to rent boys and hot air balloonists along the way. It investigates the legacies they left us in architecture and art, science and society, and shows the making of the capital millions know and love today.
What’s your secret London tip?
Walk as much as you can, and look around you instead of at the pavement.
What’s your secret London place?
The City of London at the weekend. It’s so full of people rushing around in the week that it’s hard to see the landscape.
What’s your biggest gripe about London?
The public transport. I walk or cycle pretty much everywhere to avoid it. Or take a cab of course!
St. Paul’s cathedral. It’s a beautiful building with an amazing history. And it really did rise from the flames. One of my favourite images is of Old St. Paul’s burning, and young William Taswell, a Westminster schoolboy coming to explore the still-baking ruins. He put pieces of twisted metal from the molten bells in his pockets and against the east wall he found the corpse of a woman who had huddled there, trying to shelter from the fire. Her body had been mummified by the heat.
What’s your most hated building?
NeoBankside, currently being built behind Tate Modern and completely ruining the roofline. Or Baynard House near Blackfriars, which is a rotting monument to the worst London architecture of the 1970s. Baynard House probably.
What’s the best view in London?
In all directions from an empty Millennium Bridge at dawn on a summer morning.
What’s your personal London landmark?
The dome of St Paul’s cathedral, particularly after a long day or time away. Then I know I’m home.
What’s London’s best film, book or documentary?
A Clockwork Orange captured the menace of bad urban planning perfectly.
What’s your favourite bar, pub or restaurant?
The Rising Sun in Carter Lane is always friendly and their beer is good.
How would you spend your ideal day off in London?
A quick look around Borough Market, early to avoid the crowds, a drink by the river with my husband, walking the dog to Wapping. Mainly just sitting somewhere and watching the world go by.
This ‘Grill’ was first posted on the Radio Taxis blog.