The London Grill: Alf Townsend

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.

Alf Townsend

[A]lf Townsend, a London Cabbie for 50 years. A founder member of HALT, the cabbies co-operative at Heathrow, later the Chairman, and Editor for some six years of The HALT Magazine. A well-known trade journalist for the past 45 years and author of six published titles. Winner of The Taxi-Driver of the Year Competition in 1979, followed by many appearances on TV. A popular lunch-time speaker at the American Women’s Clubs in Greater London, where I try and spread the gospel of London taxis and their longevity! One of the first to join The LTDA in the sixties and still an active member.

What’s your secret London tip?
Stay along the river for most of your runs if you can.

What’s your secret London place?
Highgate Cemetery where our eldest daughter Jenny and her son Sam, lay at rest.

What’s your biggest gripe about London?
All The PCN’s dished out to us cabbies while the bikers get away with murder!

What’s your favourite building?
Oak Tree House Hampstead – where I live!

What’s your most hated building?
The Gherkin – ugh!

What’s the best view in London?
From the top of Parliament Hill.

What’s your personal London landmark?
The Old Curiosity Shop in Portugal Street – just off of Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

What’s London’s best film, book or documentary?
My book The London Cabbie tells everything about London that tourists should know!

What’s your favourite bar, pub or restaurant?
The Garden Gate, South End Green,

How would you spend your ideal day off in London?
A trip on the boat from Westminster Pier to Greenwich.

This ‘Grill’ was first posted on the Radio Taxis blog.

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