Lovely Bankside

July 2, 2009

More reasons to miss my office in Great Suffolk Street – some scenes from around Bankside yesterday.

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Pavement cafes and TV screens around the Blue Fin Building

Beach life in SE1!

Beach life in SE1!

Sun worshipping at the Tate Modern

Sun worshipping at the Tate Modern

More photos at my photoblog.


So. Farewell Then Southwark . . .

June 5, 2009

To my great regret my company is relocating from Southwark to Oxford Circus. There are numerous things I will miss about Southwark (and one or two I wont miss!). So I thought I would make a few posts saying what I love about this wonderful part of town.

Southwark, or perhaps more specifically SE1, has become one of the most vibrant and exciting parts of London. Arguably SE1 is now the cultural capital of our city, with more high quality and independent theatres, art galleries, music and rehearsal studios, and architects pratices than almost anywhere else. Combine this with the fact that this is a part of London where people actually live (not diplomats, millionaires, or visitors but real Londoners!), and you can see the potential.

Things I Will Miss 1:

The architectual mix: streetscapes are important to me, and I like variety. Within 500m of my office there is incredible variety including large modern office developments, thriving street markets, social housing, former industrial buildings, victorian streets, and in fill developments of architect designed housing or small offices. At times the mix is bizarre, reflecting the ups and downs this part of London has experienced.  As recently as the 1980s two story houses were built in the area, reflecting the low value of land. Yet right alongside these houses you can now find massive office developments or expensive loft apartments.

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Things I Will Not Miss 1: The Palestra!

I have nothing against Will Alsop’s architecture, although he can do much better than this! No, what I and most locals HATE is the wind tunnel along Union Street that this building has created. Its horrible. How did they get away with it?

What do you love or hate about SE1?

Snow, Snow, Thick, Thick Snow

February 6, 2009

Why is there still snow and slush on platforms in London three days after the last snowfall? In British Rail days when it snowed everyone was expected to turn out and clear the snow from both the tracks and the platforms. That included ticket office staff and even management. If you couldn’t get into work you were expected to make it to the nearest station and volunteer to help.  I never did it myself, mind, with the excuse that, as a marketing trainee I was never passed out as an operator. 

I remember my chum David Smith turning up at his local station shovel in hand to dig out frozen points and clear the tracks some time in the mid 1980s. Contrast this to the humiliating sight of a guy slipping down the slushy stairs at Waterloo on Monday. In today’s railway this kind of thing is effectively impossible. The railway is fragmented, and safety rules force people to sit in their offices watching passengers slipping and getting injured.

Its not just the railways though. Even today, some of the pavements in Southwark are coated with frozen slush, forcing people to walk on the nicely salted roads. This is a really serious issue for the elderly. Yes, I know that the snow was really bad here, but clearing pavements near to flats should be a priority.

OK, old fart moan over. I’ll get back to work now.

Hello world!

January 19, 2009

Welcome to my blog. I aim to add interesting and odd things that come to my attention, with a particular focus on transport, but also likely to include more than a few references to Thailand and to London SE1 – the vibrant area where I work.

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