The London Grill: Joanna Moncrieff

We challenge our contributors 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 they will face the same questions ranging from their favourite way to spend a day out in the capital to their most hated building on London’s skyline to find out what Londoners think about their city. The questions are the same but the answers vary wildly.

Joanna Moncrieff is a qualified tour guide in both the City of Westminster and Clerkenwell and Islington and has been leading guided walks in these areas and further afield since 2009. Apart from guiding in Central London she also regularly guides in Walthamstow and has delved quite deep into its history and that of neighbouring but very different Chingford where she lives. Her Walthamstow walk ‘From Monoux and Morris to Beer and Bacon Jam’ is a best seller alongside her West End based ‘Foodie themed Christmas Lights’ walk. Joanna has a number of half-finished research projects which she hopes in time to write-up on her blog. Her upcoming public walks are marketed via Footprints of London and can always be found on the following link. Any of these walks can also be offered for private groups and some of them have virtual versions too.

What’s your secret London tip?

Attending lunchtime concerts in City churches. A bit of culture in a beautiful setting. St Bride’s, St Dunstans in the West, St Stephen Walbrook are just a few that offer these on weekday lunchtimes.

What’s your secret London place?

Canonbury Tower. I’m sure people walk past this Tudor building all the time without noticing it. It has a fascinating and rather mysterious history. You can go inside too; Clerkenwell and Islington Guides lead regular tours of it.

What’s your biggest gripe about London?

People riding scooters and electric bikes who seem to have no consideration or awareness of other road or pavement users.

What’s your favourite building?

St Paul’s. I used to work in an office job close by and took a photo almost every time I walked past! Tower Bridge also falls into this category!

What’s your most hated building?

The Strata Tower; it is just so ugly!

What’s the best view in London?

Not very original but from Waterloo Bridge in both directions.

What’s your personal London landmark?

The series of reservoirs along the River Lea close to where I live which I love looking out for when flying home from overseas.

What’s London’s best film, book or documentary?

At the moment the Rivers of London book series.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

Gotto at Here East, Hackney Wick but Zedel Brasserie is a close second.

How would you spend your ideal day off in London?

A random amble which I do quite often with London obsessed friends. We pick an area or a theme and then spend a day wandering about the streets seeking out things of interest and stopping in a pub or two along the way. We have recently been trying to follow routes from an 1887 guide book.

2 thoughts on “The London Grill: Joanna Moncrieff”

    1. Might I just remind you what I wrote about the Strata Tower:
      To be truly reprehensible something has to be offensive at many levels. The designers of the Strata Tower at the Elephant and Castle have risen to the challenge admirably. So high, its ugly exterior can cause offence wherever you are in London. Installed at a cost of £1.5 million, the roof turbines rarely move, the wealthy residents on the upper floors apparently have complained about the noise the turbines create. A worthy recipient of the 2010 Carbuncle Cup, but where it has trumped its rivals is, as the Guardian reported:

      “while providing the required social housing within its wonky zebra cladding, the less well-off tenants have a separate entrance, along with segregated bicycle storage spaces, postal deliveries and even rubbish disposal”

      A blot on the landscape both aesthetically, culturally and morally.

      Liked by 1 person

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