DISAPPEARING LONDON

london-footprints.co.uk

Do you enjoy the ITV series presented by Suggs?

I made a few suggestions in the planning stages - some included and others ending up on the cutting room floor! I watch the programmes twice as it is easy to miss details. There is a website to accompany the programmes. This page offers some info from my knowledge on topics featured in the first series. To see what has been covered in the new series click here.

CAB SHELTERS
There are 13 of these little buildings left in London including the one in Warwick Avenue that appeared in the programme. See my
webpage for more info.

ICE SKATING
It seems strange with outdoor ice rinks becoming more popular each winter that the indoor rink in Streatham High Road is falling apart! The building is threatened by a Tesco development and the action group set up to save it has a
website

TELEPHONE BOXES
Despite mobile phones a familiar site on London streets are red telephone boxes. However their designer Giles Gilbert Scott intended them to be silver with a greeny-blue interior. The K2s that remain (with cut-out crown & regular windows - as pictured left) are listed 'buildings'. These were introduced in 1926 in Metropolitan Boroughs. The smaller K6s of 1936 (with raised crown & irregular windows - as pictured right) were designed to commemorate the silver jubilee of George V and were sited in the whole country. K1s were non-standard, K3s concrete (by Scott) & K4s included a stamp machine. More information on telephone boxes is available on the GLIAS website [
click here]

LIDOS
'Lido' comes from the Italian for 'seashore' and these were built for people who couldn't afford to go to the seaside at a time when sun-worshipping became fashionable. In their heyday they were extremely popular but high maintenance costs made them uneconomic and only a few examples remain. The programme showed Tooting Bec Lido in SW17, one of the largest in Europe. Designed in the 1930s by H J Martin the blue cafe was added in 1936. There are functioning lidos in Brockwell Park SE24 and at Paliament Hill and the one in London Fields re-opened in 2006. There is a
website devoted to lidos past & present and the London Pools Campaign has a website.

TURKISH BATHS
Suggs visited the baths in Ironmonger Row behind St Luke's Old Street [
Finsbury walk]
The building pictured was the entrance to baths in Bishopsgate Churchyard. The premises are now used by a restaurant and are much more spacious than they look.
The lovely tiles have been retained inside [
Spitalfields walk]

I'm not familiar with the pubs included - perhaps because I'm not a great fan of Camden! However everything you could possible want to know will be on Fancy a Pint [website] or CAMRA [website]

RIVER TRAFFIC
The programme met the owner of one of the few working boats remaining on the Thames apart from the pleasure cruisers. Some historic craft can still be seen in London [
webpage]. A good place to visit to find out more is the Museum of London Docklands [website].
[
East to West India walk]

HIGHGATE GARDEN
The large house and garden on Highgate West Hill is 'Witanhurst' built by millionaire soapmaker Sir Arthur Crosfield in 1920 for his young socialite wife. The house and grounds are private property

UNDERGROUND TOILETS
On TV bolt cutters were used to gain access to the toilets at Kennington Cross where someone hopes to convert them to an art gallery/exhibition space. Plenty of closed ones still exist and a few have been converted to other uses including an eating place outside Christ Church Spitalfields. The ones you may still be able to use are in West Smithfield, the south end of Gracechurch Street and Bishopsgate, opposite Liverpool Street Station. The Gents pictured (closed of course!) is in Star Yard. [
Inns of Court walk]

PREFABS
I've come across isolated examples in East Dulwich and Peckham [
Peckham walk] but didn't realise a whole estate of them still existed - and in my part of London. They are located between Forster Memorial Park and Hither Green Cemetery in Catford SE6 but please remember they are private houses if you go to have a look.
I can remember going to visit an uncle who had one on Hilly Fields - long since demolished.

WELSH DAIRIES
I know of old dairy buildings on Warren Street/Conway Street (pictured), Rugby Street off Lamb's Conduit Street in Bloomsbury [
Bloomsbury walk] and River Street/Amwell Street in Islington (seen on the programme) [New River walk]. However despite the giveaway names I hadn't associated them with the Welsh before now!

WELSH CHAPELS
I can't remember where the chapel visited was but there is one on Southwark Bridge Road near Great Guildford Street [
Southwark walk] and a Welsh Church off St Mary's Terrace in Paddington [Paddington walk].

SYNAGOGUES
The programme went to Sandy's Row off Bishopsgate. A nearby one in Bevis Marks is regularly open to visitors. [
London wall walk]

OLD SHOPS
Suggs visited Bates Hatters at 21 Jermyn Street and Smiths Tobacconist at 74 Charing Cross Road. However there are lots of examples of lovely old shops in London including Ede & Ravenscroft legal outfitters in Chancery Lane/Star Yard (pictured) [
Inns of Court walk]. The St James's area is particularly good. [St James's walk]

FUNERAL DIRECTORS
The family firm of Cribb still offer traditional horse-drawn funerals. [
Beckton walk].
At number 24 London Road, Kingston are the historic premises of Fredrick W Paine (Undertakers). Mr Paine lived above the shop and their records date back to 1896.
[Kingston walk]

RIVOLI BALLROOM
I used to live just round the corner from this place (sited opposite Crofton Park Station) but never went inside. Nice to know it is still flourishing however.

CLASSIC CAFES
As Suggs discovered these are disappearing from the capital. The example pictured in Regency Street near Horseferry Road is popular with cabbies. [
Victoria walk]. There is a website devoted to the subject which includes a feature on the New Piccadilly at 8 Denman Street which appeared on the programme.

BATTERSEA POWER STATION
Battersea Power Station was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. Station A was built in 1932-4 and B added in 1948-53 [
Battersea walk]. It STILL remains an undeveloped white elephant unlike its hugely successful counterpart in Southwark - Bankside/Tate Modern.

CINEMAS
The cinema visited was the Granada Tooting at 50 Mitcham Road SW17. The Italianate front of white stone was designed by Cecil Masey in 1931. The interior by Theodore Komisarjevsky has a foyer in the style of a baronial hall and an auditorium of Venetian Gothic design. It is now a Gala Bingo Hall. Many other cinemas of the 1930s remain, some with lavish interiors. Some Art Deco examples are listed on my
webpage including the former Woolwich Odeon (pictured). Opposite is another ex-cinema (now bingo) with a Komisarjevsky interior [Woolwich walk].
The photograph collections of Terence Nunn who appeared on the programme are available
online.

BOOKS
London Oddities by J Edward Hart
London: Sight Unseen by Snowdon
London Peculiars by Peter Ashley
Secret London by Andrew Duncan
Still Open - the guide to traditional London shops
Inside London by Joe Friedman
[
Booklist]


london-footprints.co.uk 2007

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