All posts by Gibson Square

A Licensed Black London Cab Driver I share my London with you . . . The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

A Churglar

A man knocked on our front door today. It was a Churglar. A chugger who call at your home. I’m a reformed offender can you . . . No. Thanks.

Inside Out/Outside In

Boundaries, these days we are all subjected to them: Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3, it just depends on what side of a border that you reside.

So how about Kent being on the north side of the Thames? North Woolwich, which of course, lies on the opposite bank, was for more than 800 years, technically a part of Kent. The Woolwich Free Ferry and the Woolwich Foot Tunnel did their best at connecting both halves. It started, as often the way, with William The Conquer, who gave Hamon de Crevecoeur in 1086 both banks, and in all likelihood rights of charging river traffic.

It wasn’t until 1965 that North Woolwich was transferred to the Borough of Newham, but we still have two places called Woolwich.

Or being a London borough but outside the M25. North Ockendon is inside London, but outside the M25, while South Ockendon, a short walk away, is in Essex and outside the M25.

So just how many live inside the M25 but outside of Greater London? According to estimates, about one million, living in 21 districts which straddle the M25. When describing infection rates it might be a psychological buffer zone but not according to cartographers.

Image creative commons, but including Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright

Postcode should be pretty localized, we have after all ‘postcode lotteries’. When they were first introduced on New Year’s Day 1858 London was divided quite logically into 10 segments: EC, N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W and NW. Less than a decade later there was talk of changing this logical sequence, NE London found its way to Newcastle-upon-Tyne and S London migrated northwards to Sheffield, where they remain to this day.

Just as oddly, Havering, Hillingdon, Barking, Dagenham and Sutton are not London postal districts even though they fall mostly within the M25, but Sewardstone in Epping does, despite being nearly 12 miles from Charing Cross, outside the M25, surrounded by a forest and having been given the postcode E4.

London in Quotations: Henry Eliot and Matt Lloyd-Rose

London is among the most vibrant, fascinating cities in the world, seemingly limitless in its variety, but it’s also sprawling and cacophonous, making impossible demands on our time, attention and purse.

Henry Eliot and Matt Lloyd-Rose, Curiocity, in pursuit of London

London Trivia: The Thunderer goes full steam ahead

On 29 November 1814, The Times, known as the London Times was printed by steam, instead of manual power, the first newspaper in the world to be produced by this method. Its owner John Walter, is said to have surprised a room full of printers who were preparing hand presses for the production of that day’s paper. He showed them an already completed copy of the paper and announced, “The Times is already printed – by steam”.

On 29 November 1855, the Nightingale Fund was inaugurated at Willis’s Rooms, King Street, St. James’s Square, establishing the formal training of nurses and auxiliary staff

It was at Francis Bacon’s studio at Narrow Street, Limehouse that he met lover George Dyer as Dyer attempted to burgle the place

The dome of the O₂ weighs less than the air contained underneath it; there’s only one curved piece of glass in the Gherkin – the one right at the top

In 1862, Dr Thomas Orton, one of London’s most senior physicians, established four sibling’s deaths in Limehouse were caused by vivid green wallpaper whose constituent was arsenic

Under Paddington Green is a disused Cold War command centre its entrance covered by a bush, nearby are the top-security jail cells for terrorist suspects inside London’s Paddington Green Police Station

A fight with a fashion designer at a party is said to have inspired Ray Davis to write The Kinks hit Dedicated Follower of Fashion

During World War II the south moat at the Tower of London was used by the Yeoman Warders as allotments to grow vegetables

The neon sign on Hornsey Road Baths is the sole survivor of 12 similar signs commissioned at various London baths in the 1930s

The eastern extension of the Jubilee line is the only Underground line to feature glass screens to deter ’jumpers’

Constructed in 1850 Crystal Palace had nearly 1 million square feet of glass, about a third of all the glass produced in England that year

The Clapham South wartime bomb shelter was later used to house the first ever Jamaican immigrants who arrived in 1948 on the Empire Windrush

CabbieBlog-cab.gifTrivial Matter: London in 140 characters is taken from the daily Twitter feed @cabbieblog.
A guide to the symbols used here and source material can be found on the Trivial Matter page.

Capital Letters

Looking at the index of my Collins Superscale London maps I noticed that each section commenced with a capital letter. As I worked my way through the list I found, incredibly, four streets in London appear to have unique names. So, without further ado, here is the first street in every letter in London.

AAaron Hill Road (E6) 400 years ago Aaron Hill was a poet and dramatist, renowned in London for his adaptations of Voltaire, and successful enough to be buried in Westminster Abbey.

BBabmaes Street (SW1) Founded in 1872 the Naval and Military Club, known as the In and Out Club has its premises in the house once owned by Britain’s first female MP – Nancy Astor. The club’s old location in Piccadilly had an in and out drive, hence its nickname. Now its doors are located in St. James’s Square and 7-9 Babmaes Street. In and Out indeed.

CCabbell Street (NW1) Jack ‘Spot’ Comer was an East End gangster attacked outside his home in Hyde Park Mansions on Cabbell Street in 1956. Son of Polish immigrant parents and born into grinding poverty in Whitechapel, Jack Spot joined his first gang at an early age. Comer rose to rule the criminal underground via protection and gambling rackets, by the late 1940s he was making a fortune at the racetrack working in partnership with another famous gangster, Billy Hill.

DDabin Crescent (SE10) Dabin Crescent is only 157 yards long. There is only one street named Dabin Crescent making it unique in Britain.

EEagle Close (SE16) This cul-de-sac of only a few yards long is but a stone’s throw of the last entry here, Zampa Road.

FFabian Street (E6) This short close with only a couple of dozen houses has the advantage of a footpath at the end giving access to the Greenway, a 4.3 mile-long footpath and cycle highway mostly in Newham which at its easterly end runs along the embankment containing the Joseph Bazalgette Northern Outfall Sewer.

GGables Close (SE5) Not many gabled properties here about, the flats do provide easy access to the Camberwell College of Arts counting actor Tim Roth, musician Humphrey Lyttelton and designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen amongst its alumni.

HHaarlem Road (W14) This short street at 94 yards long can boast that it is one of only 3 similarly named Haarlem Roads in Great Britain.

IIbbotson Avenue (E16) There is only one street named Ibbotson Avenue making it unique in Great Britain.

JJacaranda Grove (E8) Properties here, despite the large number of council flats nearby, sell for more than £1 million. At least the local female MP lives in the adjacent road.

KKassala Road (E13) Approximately 120 yards long, this is the only street named Kassala Road making it unique in Great Britain.

LLaburnum Close (SE15) Unsurprisingly there are 84 other streets named Laburnum Close in Great Britain.

MMabledon Place (WC1) UNISON union once had their headquarters at the junction of Mabledon Place and Euston Road.

NNag’s Head Court (EC1)
There are a plethora of Nag’s Heads in London, but it’s hard to imagine a boozer being squeezed into this minute street near the Barbican.

OOak Crescent (E16) Although you have to pay over £350,000 for a flat here the street is yards from the Canning Town Flyover.

PPace place (E1) Could this be the shortest street on this list? So small the postcode E1 2NA was terminated by the Royal Mail in December 2016.

QQueen Elizabeth Street (SE1) The expensive apartments a short walk from Tower Bridge has outside Jacob a life-sized statue of a dray horse as its centrepiece for The Circle to commemorate the history of the site. He was flown over London by helicopter into Queen Elizabeth Street to launch The Circle in October 1987.

RRabbit Row (W8) Rabbit Row is a mews predominantly one-sided, with only 4 properties. The original purpose of the Mews was to provide stable/coach house accommodation for the larger houses on Kensington Mall.

SSabbarton Street (E16) It’s a pity this very short street off Silvertown Way is industrialised, as at its end is a view of Bow Creek as it flows into the Thames.

TTabard Street (SE1) Part of the one-way system at the Borough, I can only think it takes its name from the Tabbard Inn once famous for accommodating people who made the pilgrimage to the Shrine of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral

UUamvar Street (E14) The entomology of this strange name could be derived from Uaighmor, also anglicised Uam Var, the name means ‘Great Cave’, referring to a large cave in the cliff face which was a hideout for brigands into the eighteenth century.

VVale, The (SW3) Just how many Vales are there? This one-off the King’s Road is the cabbies’ cut-through to Elm Park. A turning off The Vale is Mulberry Walk once home to Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits and actor Laurence Olivier.

WWadding Street (SE17)
Close by was the Heygate Estate, a massive concrete warren containing 1,100 homes. Quite why post-war architects thought such grimly functional structures embodied the progressive, honest and classless fresh start we needed after the war.

XNone now There used to be an XX Place, off Globe Road E1, it was a narrow street, first on the left off Globe Road from Mile End Road, serving ten small cottages on the north side.

YYabsley Street (E14) There is only one street named Yabsley Street making it unique in Great Britain.

ZZamba Road (SE16) The most famous road of this list as at the end of its 200 yards is The Den, Millwall Football Club.