The Bone Hill

On the edge of the City there is a rare green lung, a shaded glade among brick and concrete. The Hill of Bones it was once called, but today the thousands of Londoners who over the centuries have passed through during their day-to-day lives, or finally to their afterlife – have known it as Bunhill […]

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London – but not as you know it

Head 20 minutes west along the A40 from the Hanger Lane gyratory and the ranks of suburban semis that occupy the ancient Anglo-Saxon hamlets of Greenford and Northolt, start to give way to larger patches of useless green and scrubby fields. Press on, and at Swakeley’s Corner -the last exit before you leave the capital – […]

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A Soho state-of-mind

Sex shops, coffee shops, beer shops, record shops, noodle shops, theatres and clubs. The artists may have swerved east, but Soho remains London’s brash playground, where clip joint tourists still get rinsed of their cash and office workers still feverishly drink away their workaday stress in beer-soaked boozers. It was to Soho in the summer […]

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Murders beneath a bone-white spire

A few years back I happened to be working in Aldgate on the eastern edge of the City. I was just beginning to investigate my long family connection to Shoreditch, Spitalfields, Whitechapel and beyond to Stepney and Bethnal Green, so it was an opportunity to visit the places named in the family records I’d been […]

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Showcards and ticket writers

Just north of Oxford Street is Marylebone Passage, a narrow secluded alleyway that helpfully cuts the corner off Wells Street and Margaret Street. It’s typical of the many passages that crisscross central London – grime blackened walls with the faint smell of urine. Block out the hum of traffic and it’s easy to imagine a […]

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Bloomsbury and Holborn at Night

I’ve always loved the streets and squares of Bloomsbury, so a couple of years ago, having worked late at the office and needing some fresh air, I took the long way to Holborn Tube. Perhaps attracted by the museum, ┬áthe area is a centre of the occult and esoteric knowledge. Treadwell’s and Atlantis Books, famous […]

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