Friday, 7 October 2011

Out and about #1

Inspired by Danny Choo's excellent blog about life in Tokyo this will be the first in a series of posts about things I see and places I go in London.

Woburn Place by Euston station. This is a wonderful arcade where the Victorian store fronts have been preserved. It often features in period film and television productions as a result.

St Pancras station facade. The upper portion you can see here sits over the main station and is a hotel. The building was famously vacant for many years and has just re-opened amid much fanfare. It has been re-developed by The Manhattan Loft Corporation. Staying there is every Steampunk's dream.

The Cruciform Building. This is part of University College London/Hospital and used to be the main medical site. It is so called because of its cross-shape in plan. When it was built it was believed that ailments spread through bad air, so the cross shape maximized the number of windows which could be thrown open to admit the "fresh" London atmosphere.

I have no idea what this building is, but it looked nice. :-)


  1. Lovely photos; the buildings opposite the UCL and the Slade at the top of Gower Street are also worth taking a second look at too, the white ones look very similar to the final photograph in your set above.

    They're particularly interesting as they're completely riddled with shrapnel damage from the blitz; however, unlike the damaged buildings by the V&A where the damage is commemorated, it's completely unremarked on - the buildings instead just remain curiously scarred. Some of them have even been patched up in an odd way, so they appear to have lighter coloured squares floating in front of the building's facade, never quite becoming one with the building. They look like some kind of glitch in the matrix, where the tones or pixels making up the building are incorrect - jarring when face on, but unnoticed through a side-eye.

  2. Hey Fulgrim. I think I know the building you mean, on the West side of the North end of Gower Street. The bomb damage adds to the psychgeography of the region. Whether they are conscious of it or not, I think Londoners are affected by the resonances left by the blitz so they are prone to fetishise the heroism of the Home Front.

  3. Yes, that's the building.

    I couldn't agree more, really - it brings it's own problems and rewards in equal measure, too. There's a desire to crystalise everything in London, which I think comes in opposition it's ever transient nature - like King Cnut trying to turn back the tide. It's interesting that the University have made the decision not to continue repair on these buildings, but without mentioning the existence of the damage: have you seen the commemorative plaques on the buildings opposite the South Kensington underpass which do just that?

  4. Hi Fulgrim - yes I do believe I've seen the plaque. That's a very interesting idea about the transience of London leading to a desire to crystalise.

  5. Thanks - I was quite pleased with that myself :)