Yesterday afternoon’s project was to replenish our leaflets at some of our august institutions, including Museum of London, National Portrait Gallery and the Foundling Museum. For various reasons, I left home later than planned and forgot my A-Z. It was a glorious warm and sunny afternoon, so once in town, I was disinclined to travel further Underground – what a waste. This meant hard yomping against the clock without a map. I’m pleased to report that my street savvy has come on leaps and bounds the past year or so: didn’t get lost, didn’t ask directions. I managed to fire off some snaps.
I have loads of pictures of St Paul’s. But none of it being strafed by a blimp.
One of our members drew my attention to a 3D model of London at the Building Centre in Store Street. This institution promotes (as far as I can tell in the short time I had there) London city planning and British architecture. The model is large and comprehensive, running from beyond the Thames Barrier in the east to Wandworth in the west. I think the main point of it is to show the route of Crossrail. Whatever, it’s an amazing thing. A churlish quibble on my part might be that it has no contours, but that would be a Big Ask, as they say on sports programmes.
As a Brentford boy, I was a bit miffed that the panel for Hounslow is tiny in relation to our neighbours’ in Ealing. Hounslow abuts a huge stretch of the Thames and eclipses Ealing in many departments, as my article in Londonist this week clearly demonstrates. (Note to Ealing readers: we love Ealing too – Pitzhanger Manor tomorrow!).
I am not one of life’s demonstrators, really. The last stuff I did was anti-Mugabe action outside Zimbabwe House in the early 2000s (still going strong most weekends, incidentally). Final duty of the day was to front up at the demonstration at Broadcasting House against cuts to local radio, specifically in our case, BBC Radio London. My favourites are Danny Baker and Robert Elms who between them steward the afternoon slots Monday – Friday. Danny, aka “Candyman”, is one of this country’s best radio broadcasters, in my opinion – an opinion not shared by all, but hey – possibly a Marmite thing. Robert is the station’s main champion of London history. His own knowledge is prodigious and he has some fascinating guests – authors, architects, curators, all sorts. Quite few members of London Historians too, as it happens, including little ol’ me on one occasion quite recently. I’ve also been on the Sunny and Shay slot on a Saturday evening a few times. So it’s a loyalty thing, partially. But for me, the main argument for BBC Radio London in particular – quite apart from its quality – is that it covers a catchment area that must include over 10 million people. So it is a special case.
I was a bit concerned that on the Facebook group for the demo only seven of us had clicked “Attending”. By ten to six there were only about a dozen of us in situ. Oh dear. But in the event, there must have been well over 100, some with placards. Our leader is someone known only to me as “John the Cabby”, in the nomenclature of radio phone-ins. It was all very jolly, everyone seemed to be committed and determined. There appeared to be quite a lot of media in attendance, but – surprise surprise – no politicians, local or otherwise. The organisers promise further demos.