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.
[H]ENRY ELIOT AND MATT LLOYD-ROSE are old friends and co-wrote the book Curiocity: An Alternative A to Z of London, recently published in paperback. Henry likes mazes, maps, and literature and is the author of Follow this Thread: A maze book to get lost in. He is now the Creative Editor of Penguin Classics. Matt Lloyd-Rose has been a primary teacher, police officer and social researcher in London. He is the author of The Character Conundrum, a book about education, and is currently writing a book about the Met police.
What’s your secret London tip?
A reasonable number of people swim in the Hampstead bathing ponds through the summer. We recommend becoming a member of the Hampstead Mixed Pond winter swimming club and immersing yourself in its healing waters all year round. After your dip, the perfect place for a fry up is the Royal Cafe on Fleet Road.
What’s your secret London place?
We have seven secret London places. Hidden in our book Curiocity are six secret locations around the city, in each of which we’ve cemented a tile. When you combine the information on the six tiles you discover a password and the details of a final seventh location.
What’s your biggest gripe about London?
We’re disappointed that the Thames no longer freezes over and, therefore, that huge Frost Fairs are no longer held on its surface.
What’s your favourite building?
Sir John Soane’s house, perhaps the most sublime and surprising place in London
What’s your most hated building?
The Walky Talky.
What’s the best view in London?
The view from upstairs in the Caffè Nero near Borough Market, down onto the deck of the replica Golden Hinde, across the Thames and over to the spires and towers of the City.
What’s your personal London landmark?
Oxleas Woods, southeast of Greenwich, where we went strolling ten years ago and first broached the idea of creating a new portrait of the city.
What’s London’s best film, book or documentary?
Nairn’s London, a book about London’s architecture, that is, in fact, an extraordinary mediation on this remarkable city and the way that places affect people.
What’s your favourite bar, pub or restaurant?
The Bonnington Café, a former squat kitchen in Vauxhall, run on a rota by volunteer chefs.
How would you spend your ideal day off in London?
Walking the Coronation Ley Line from Arnold Circus to the Coronation Stone in Kingston-upon-Thames.