But Geoffrey Fletcher did

A bargain was bagged last week for the princely sum of £2.94 (including p+p off Amazon), it was a book by Geoffrey Fletcher which inspired the film “The London Nobody Knows” as featured in the last post. It’s a nice old book with illustrations by Fletcher (who was a graphic artist as well as a writer) and a preface written in 1989 where he mentions the changes in London since the original publication of 1962.

The book features lots of places that have long disappeared, language from a time gone by (some that now wouldn’t be politically correct) and some just plain daft: “Weird youths…stare listlessly into radio and jazz shops, youths with white-eyeleted shoes accompanied by their fun-molls. Each couple has horribly pointed shoes that make me think of elves; they twitch epileptically to the sound of jazz”. God knows what he’d say if he was still about today about London’s youth (and also the 50-odd year old punks wandering around New Cross with “Discharge” painted on the back of their “levver” jackets) but we love this book and it comes highly recommended!

If they were ever going to do a contemporary rewrite of the book and were looking for someone to do the illustrations we here at Liylh reckon they should be done by the artist Marc Gooderham (his “Elder Street, Spitalfields” above and Hawksmoor’s “Christchurch” below) as he uses decaying London as a major inspiration (examples of his London paintings here). As it says on his website about his work “Capturing the singular beauty to be found in those neglected buildings that have fallen into disrepair as the living city continues to evolve around them”. Fletcher would have liked that! By coincidence “The London Nobody Knows” was and is used by Marc as his bible and in his own words: “for drawing and sketching, looking for lost architectural delights… the book was a great discovery”. Have a look at more of Marc’s work here.

And finally while researching this post I found two episodes of a Radio 4 programme from 2011 where Dan Cruickshank revisits Geoffrey Fletcher’s old haunts in the first episode here and in the second he visits his own quirky favourites here. One of them is the abandoned St Mary’s Underground Station in Whitechapel which is featured on this short BBC film here. The London nobody knows indeed! P

Well stone me

It was thanks to meeting up with our old friend Marc Gooderham the other day that this post came about. We were both walking from London Bridge and he asked me did I know what the holes were in the walls in the chambers around the back of Chancery Lane/Lincolns Inn Fields.

stone buildings_2

I used to work in that locality and walked up and down Chancery Lane on a regular basis and never noticed any holes (I walk around with me eyes closed most of the time I reckon.) We wandered up Chancery Lane and Marc then took us into Stone Buildings to show us what he meant.  After perusing the marks, a passing lawyer told us that they were shrapnel from a World War One bomb and he directed us to one of the brass plaques on the wall for more info.

Stone buildings_1

“The round stone in the middle of the roadway marks the spot where, on 18th December 1917 at 8-10pm a bomb from a German aeroplane struck the ground and exploded, shattering the windows in Stone Buildings and doing other material damage.”

It’s funny as you think you know an area well and all you have to do is veer off the regular track and you find something like this. I find there’s always something that surprises you in this fair city! P

There’s no such thing as a free lunch (hour)!


Free food samples, they’re all the rage now! One afternoon on my way to meet W, walking down Holborn I had a third of a cornish pasty thrust into my hand (of course I didn’t refuse!) and then when I reached Leather Lane I had a combination of; a falafel, a mini cup of soup, a single nacho dipped into some hot sauce, a sliver of meat pie then to top it all, a piece of chocolate fudge brownie from a posh cake stall, all for nowt! So do take a walk down Leather Lane one lunch hour and see what you can pick up on your travels but don’t blame me if you feel sick when you get back to work (which I did)!

Marc gooderhamAlso yesterday it was great to hear our old mate Marc Gooderham on the Robert Elms show talking about his work and the show it’s presently featured in. It’s an exhibition of East End paintings called ‘Now & Then’ – The East End seen through artists’ eyes from 1930 to present featuring work by the original East London Group. Go and have a look one lunchtime before it closes!

Now & Then
November 28th – December 8th 2013.
5 Fournier Street, Spitalfields,
London, E1 6QE

Life in a lunch hour

Thanks to our good friend Marc Gooderham for letting us let us know about this great exhibition that’s available in a lunchtime and free too! Its features work from Marc and other artists from the spitalfields life blog (spitalfieldslife.com/) and held in the shop Ben Pentreath, 17 Rugby Street, (off Lambs Conduit Street), London WC1N 3QT until the 24th November 2012. Looks great!
More on Marc’s work: