A shaft of autumn sunlight gave a radiance today to what is in any event one of the more arresting buildings in Fitzrovia. Now a hotel, this was built in 1901 as the Howard de Walden Nurses' Home on Langham Street (just opposite the 'Yorkshire Grey'). This is 'a neo-Gothic hygienic aberration' in the vinegary judgement of Nikolaus Pevsner - but I'm all for aberrations in the modern streetscape, and happily Ftzrovia provides them in ample measure.
The last substantial remnant of what was once one of London's major markets - this lies between Caledonian Road and York Way. It's the clock tower of what was the Caledonian Market (or the Metropolitan Cattle Market). This was a huge live meat market which opened in the 1850s, saw steady decline in the early twentieth century and eventually became a bric-a-brac market which finally closed in 1963. The clock tower is well kept, though showing the wrong time. The wonderfully squat market pubs which were part of the original design are still standing, most of them, but barely so.
Every day, just by the bus stop on Great Portland Street where I catch the C2 home, I gaze down on an old sign inlaid into the pavement. And every day, I mean to find out more about Coppen, Allan & Co. Today I finally did just that.
Coppen, Allan were a top end motor dealer and engineers - dating from the days between the wars when the north end of Great Portland Street was London's "Motor Row". It has home to more than thirty car showrooms.
Coopen, Allan were once, it seems, a household name. The advert above dates from 1920. Seven years later, the partnership at the heart of the comapny was dissolved - though it may have remained as a trading name. Coppen, Allan has left a very slight digital footprint, and to my surprise this last emblem of its onetime grandeur doesn't seem to have attracted a lot of attention.
Well, it attracted my attention - and now yours. Just what blogs are for.
This is Tower Lodge on Parkhill Road, NW3 - at the Belsize Park end of the road. A curious solitary tower amid a street of substantial Victorian houses. It looks a little like a folly - and according to the guy who lives there, who I met as I was taking these photos, that's exactly what it was.
My attention was caught by the coat of arms on display above the uppermost window. That, the current occupant says, has given the building its colloquial name: Three Bears Lodge. If you are wondering why, then look at the photo below.
There is a certain dilapidated charm to the building (formally known, it seems, as Tower Cottage)- which is, I was told, about to face renovation. There's some connection, apparently, with an old dairy on Hampstead hill, but I'm not clear what.
The coat of arms is altogether curious. The legend means, I take it, 'Strength and Patience'. There are three bears, and above, amid some bulrushes, a goose, or perhaps a heron or swan. Horizontal between the bears are a couple of birds, pigeons to my untrained eye, and a fleur-de-lys. You can see a close up of the emblem here.
There's nothing that I can find on the internet which gives much more of a clue. Over to you!
On Saturday, I strolled along the southern section of the Parkland Walk, which starts just south of Highgate tube station and takes you along the route of a disused railway line. It leads all the way to Finsbury Park. There's a bewitching section where you walk through an abandoned commuter station. So the path, as you can see, sticks to the tracks, but if you prefer you can walk along the old station platforms on either side.
This was Crouch End Station - the map below will help you work out where it was. It opened in the 1860s, closed in 1954, and the track was last used in 1970.
There must be people still around who travelled to and from work through this now deserted station. For them, I wonder what memories walking along these platforms must evoke.
This is the striking view from the eighth floor of New Broadcasting House - looking south down Regent Street. The striking witch's hat spire is of All Souls, Langham Place. You can see from this vantage point, high enough to 'see over' All Souls, how the cul-de-sac which leads to the NBH reception - a reclaimed, widened street - has as its architectural conceit that it is the north extension and cap to Regent Street ... opened 200 years after the beginning of the Regency, that gave Regent Street its name.
Well, this was a surprise. A splendid thatched cottage in suburban London, within the range of my sturdy A-Z.
Any idea where?
An arcadian scene on a summer's evening - but taken from a busy London road no more than four miles from Charing Cross. Can you name the church whose spire is shown?
Look up as you walk round central London, and you find all sorts of wonders.
Anyone know where T.J. Boulting & Sons was/is?
The typography is very arts & crafts - and I guess the ranges and stoves may have been similarly refined.
So - where is this?
Look up when you are walking around London, and you sometimes get quite a surprise.
You can see what I mean.
But where is it?
And a little bit of a clue - if you think the brickwork in the background suggests railways, well, you could be right.
So who's on track to get this one?
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