Author: Andrea Kirkby

Mudlarking

Mudlarking
I’ve written before about the joys of mudlarking – wandering the Thames foreshore between the high and low water marks, to see what you can pick up. I’ve been at it again. This time (okay, a few weeks ago; I haven’t got round to posting about it till now), found a few intriguing...
June 21st, 2010 | London | Read More

An apology

An apology
Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Oh.... bu**er! Occasionally as a journalist you get it wrong, and you have to print (or blog) an apology. That’s part of the job. But I think it’s quite rare for an architect to have to do so. However, if you visit the Brunei Gallery [map] of the School of...
June 20th, 2010 | London | Read More

The Urban Orchard

The Urban Orchard
Back in Shakespeare’s day much of the South Bank was covered by gardens and orchards. This month, Bankside will once more acquire an orchard – with a community garden in Union Street as part of the London Architecture Festival. On the weekend 3-4 July there will be a plant adoption programme...
June 18th, 2010 | London | Read More

Colonel Pierpoint and the Irony of Traffic Islands

Colonel Pierpoint and the Irony of Traffic Islands
Let’s spare a moment to remember the heroic Colonel Pierpoint, the inventor of the traffic island – a creation which has ensured the safety of many a London pedestrian. But not, alas, of Colonel Pierpoint. Traffic islands have moved on since Colonel Pierpoint's day A smart and cautious...
June 17th, 2010 | London | Read More

The Clockmakers’ Museum

The Clockmakers’ Museum
I make a practice of collecting small, quirky museums. For instance there’s the Bank of England museum, and the Hunterian collection of surgical paraphernalia, and the Soane museum with its eccentric accumulation of art and curios. I’ve just found another one – the Clockmakers’...
June 15th, 2010 | London | Read More

The London Ramblas – an iPhone tour

The London Ramblas – an iPhone tour
Nash found London a shambling random city – and left it a shining work of classical reason. His work around Marylebone, Regents Park and Piccadilly still gives the area its wonderfully spacious feel – elegant town houses, colonnades, villas, wide streets and open vistas. Later development...
June 15th, 2010 | London | Read More

London statues: mobile phone man

London statues: mobile phone man
There are a lot of these guys in the City. One ear always attached to a mobile phone, sharp-suited, often still wearing their coloured stripey LIFFE jackets from the floor of the exchange. Remember when mobile phones were that big? Or at least, there used to be, before LIFFE – the London International...
June 14th, 2010 | London | Read More

Scary Gormley at White Cube

Scary Gormley at White Cube
There’s always been something a little bit scary about Antony Gormley’s art – the sheer size of the Angel of the North, the wobbly precariousness of his ‘energy’ sculptures, the loneliness of his figures on the beach. One of Gormley's strange figures stares down at us....
June 12th, 2010 | London | Read More

Execution Dock, Wapping

Execution Dock, Wapping
“So to Execution Dock I must go, I must go” sings the pirate Captain Kidd in an old folk song. I used to think it was one of those made up places like Ruritania or the Land of Cockayne. But it wasn’t – Execution Dock was real. So I took the tube to visit it, in Wapping. The gibbet...
June 10th, 2010 | London | Read More

England’s meanest poet

England’s meanest poet
“O rare Ben Johnson!” That’s an epitaph fit for a poet. Succinct, elegant, ambitious, and… misspelt. England's other Bard - Ben Jonson You’ll find Ben Jonson (correct spelling) in the north aisle of Westminster Abbey [map], under a small square stone with this epitaph...
June 9th, 2010 | London | Read More

Blast from the Past – the Police Telephone Box

Blast from the Past – the Police Telephone Box
Nowadays everyone’s got a mobile, even if not quite everybody’s got an iPhone. Even the standard red telephone box is becoming a rarity. But even rarer are the svelte blue telephone boxes that gave direct access to the City of London Police. As the photographer says, it would have to be bigger...
June 7th, 2010 | London | Read More

Day out: Hatfield House

Day out: Hatfield House
One of my favourite periods of English history is the time of Elizabeth I.  It was a time when Englishmen were exploring the world, when scientific discoveries were being made, when great drama and poetry were being written – and when modern England was being born out of the husk of the Middle...
June 5th, 2010 | London | Read More

Message in a bottle in Trafalgar Square

Message in a bottle in Trafalgar Square
The Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square [map] seems to have become one of the most interesting modern art venues in London. Every few months we get a new art work on the plinth – so much more interesting than the dull generals and field marshals you see everywhere else. And the latest sculpture is...
June 1st, 2010 | London | Read More

Coming up: Greenwich and Docklands International Festival

Coming up: Greenwich and Docklands International Festival
The Greenwich and Docklands Festival brings modern dance to East London at the end of June, using some of the area’s most famous buildings and green spaces as the theatre for spectacular events. An Italian dance company set the Royal Naval College on fire... This year the theme is ‘earth’,...
May 30th, 2010 | London | Read More

The City of London Festival

The City of London Festival
Watch out when you visit your stockbroker, or you might get stung. That’s good advice at any time, but particularly this year when there are going to be bee-hives all the way round the Square Mile – as part of the City of London Festival. There’s a Portuguese flavour to the festival,...
May 28th, 2010 | London | Read More

Coming up for folkies – Cropredy Convention

Coming up for folkies – Cropredy Convention
If you’re a folkie, and if you love folk rock, the Cropredy Convention is a must. Started by Fairport Convention thirty years ago, it’s been going strong ever since. This year’s convention has a wonderfully eclectic mix of acts. There are great rockers Status Quo on Thursday. There’s...
May 26th, 2010 | London | Read More

Tottenham’s historic buildings saved

Tottenham’s historic buildings saved
In the struggle for the soul of London’s built heritage I’m glad to report one success – historic buildings on Tottenham High Road have been saved from demolition. Lancaster House - not one of the four saved buildings but a good example of Tottenham's fine Georgian heritage Enter...
May 24th, 2010 | London | Read More

Boris’s new cycleways

Boris’s new cycleways
Boris Johnson is well known as one of London’s cyclists, as well as its mayor. He nearly faced death some time ago when a lorry door swung open just as he approached on his bike – now he’s opening a huge network of new cycle lanes. Or is he? The Cyclists’ Touring club is not impressed....
May 23rd, 2010 | London | Read More

The new Red Bus!

The new Red Bus!
I’ve just been looking at the new London bus – the mayor’s office has posted a video tour of it on Youtube. The gleaming red vision that was Routemaster I’m not quite sure what to make of it. It’s certainly an improvement on the dreadfully uninspired boxes-on-wheels that...
May 22nd, 2010 | London | Read More

India portrayed

India portrayed
There’s a fascinating exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery at the moment. It focuses on Indian portraits from 1560 – the heyday of the Mughal courts – to 1860 under the British Raj. A more modern style of Indian portrait - the Bollywood icon For me, one of the interesting things...
May 20th, 2010 | London | Read More