Out on the Streets

Tuesday 26th January 2021

So we’ve been turned out to wander the streets. Walks or pedalling all that’s allowed. With Royston King I went to Welsh Harp Reservoir and then almost as far as Wembley Stadium. Tremendous mud. Then we crossed fields towards Fryent Park. I think it was West Hendon Playing Fields in fact, but it could have been wilds near the Artic or remote New Zealand. There were some crows, or perhaps rooks. The trees full of birds were actually ashes whose dead clusters of leaves look like a rookery from afar.

The path to Fryent Park was impossible. First World War standards of mud, churned and endless. So we left that for another day. Royston said it was one of the largest open spaces in London, easily the size of Regent’s Park. At Welsh Harp Reservoir, Royston said, there had been drainage to create a wildlife sanctuary but it hadn’t worked. He’s not on the Committees for these places but sees them from the inside, of course. Any tour with him is exclusive.

He said my machine needed replacing. His is new and has an electric boost so he whizzed ahead on hills. But the bell fell off and we couldn’t find it, going back a bit over our route. We went past the Neasden Esplanade, a photograph of which always accompanied the Sid and Doris Bonkers column in Private Eye in the old days. They supported Neasden F.C. In fact they were the only supporters of that club which didn’t even exist.

Last week I accompanied Robert Nevil and the Nizam on a tour of Clerkenwell – very much two steps behind, like the Duke of Edinburgh, I can tell you. At one point the vista was entirely occupied by Peabody Buildings which was thrilling because we’d seen quite a few sets of these before on earlier walks. In Clerkenwell Road there is a fine building in the Sloane Square Dutch style but better – about 1880. The Holborn something or other. It’s been there all these years, passed by me almost every week but never seen before. We moved into Hatton Garden which gave rise to mention of the Hatton Garden Heist of only a few years ago. I was explaining to the Nizam and that it was turned into a TV drama. So there’s something else that they could watch. They’d been watching Legend, about the Krays. So I watched it too. I do agree with Ronnie Kray in his attitude to life, although no good came of it.

There’s so much going on. Really there is. Also in Hatton Garden is a partial Wren church with some blue dolls glued to the outside. The Bluecoats. But on the corner an excellent blue plaque commemorating the location where Sir Maxim invented the Maxim machine gun. At last, something really useful. I could think of quite a few people who would benefit just now from a riddling with bullets. We were engaged trying to translate from the Italian a plaque to those drowned in a Second World War shipwreck. The sacristan appeared and insisted we enter the Church. All the usual precautions, but he was coughing in the outside lobby and then again when the visit was over. Nobody coughs nowadays. Italians settled in Clerkenwell and must have done well for they erected a Church with a huge kind of parking lot before the Altar for the parking of numerous ruthlessly gold items. Otherwise the Church was blazing cerulean with red carpets.

The very next day I joined Anthony Mottram and we roamed through Acton. Wonder! Another Peabody – this time in the Queen Anne Style with extravagant lunettes but set in a depressing sea of tarmac. After a while I realised we were near Bedford Park. It’s actually only a few streets of prime Norman Shaw (?). Very complicated Arts and Crafts houses, all different. We went into the Church there of St Michael and All Angels, where I once heard a Matthew Passion. On that occasion it was freezing within and the tenor had pyjamas on underneath his concert wear. Now it was very snug. Perhaps they got a legacy and can heat, especially in the present time with nobody there.

Welsh Harp Reservoir - Wilds within London

Welsh Harp Reservoir – Wilds within London

Prime Peabody in Clerkenwell

Prime Peabody in Clerkenwell

Queen Anne Grandeur of Peabody in Acton

Queen Anne Grandeur of Peabody in Acton

Clerkenwell: An Antique Vista

Clerkenwell: An Antique Vista: these Victorian Commercial/Industrial buildings Looking Better and Better as Time Passes

Farringdon Road: Victorian Gothic, Very Good of its Kind

Farringdon Road: Victorian Gothic, Very Good of its Kind – with Peabody Van by Chance!

Clerkenwell Georgian

Clerkenwell Georgian

Sir Maxim and His Machine Gun

Sir Maxim and His Machine Gun

The Office of the Holborn Union Board of Guardians 1885. They Administered Workhouses. I don't Think This building Actually was a Workhouse. Now Flats.

The Office of the Holborn Union Board of Guardians 1885. They Administered Workhouses. I don’t Think This building Actually was a Workhouse. Now Flats.

The Italian Church Clerkenwell

The Italian Church Clerkenwell

The Italian Church Clerkenwell

The Italian Church Clerkenwell

Bedford Park, Chiswick

Bedford Park, Chiswick: So Many Bits

Bedford Park, Chiswick

Bedford Park, Chiswick: Minimal Symmetry

Posted Tuesday, January 26, 2021 under Adrian Edge day by day.

2 comments

  1. Laura Malcolm says:

    That prime Peabody would make the perfect twilight home for Distressed Poor Little Rich Gays. Maybe some richer PLRGs could club together and buy it for them.

  2. Adrian Edge says:

    What a superb idea. I’m sure it will happen because Poor Little Rich Gays are so caring and will care for those in the twilight. This is the first generation, I suppose, of major numbers of ‘out’ twilight gays looming

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