Saturday, 24 June 2006


The centre of the Central

My meeting ended at four o'clock today near Liverpool Street. I had to be at Paddington by eight. With four hours to kill, what better way to cross London than follow the path of the Central Line from the east side of the Circle to the west?

[A crane being lifted onto the old Stock Exchange Tower]

Distance: 5.1 miles
Ascent: unknown
Duration: 2 hours 40 minutes

I love this walk, even though I've not done it in maybe ten years. Navigation is easy yet it threads together places that many never feel are connected.

In the City I watched a bright blue crane being lifted to the top of the old Stock Exchange Tower. Past the Bank of England the walk takes in some of Wrenn's finest churches.

[A plaque at the Watts Memorial]

I turned off by St Paul's to visit the Watts Memorial in Postman's Park. (What interests me most here is not the individual stories of heroism told on the plaques, but the hidden story about the memorial. For example, why have no plaques been errected since Watt's time? Especially since there's so much space available.)

[Dragons beneath Holborn Viaduct]

Back on the main route the dragons carved into Holborn Viaduct called me on. The British Museum and Oxford Street were next followed by the Angels carved into Marble Arch. Turning off the route of the tube line I finished the walk by heading up Edgware Road before dropping down to the canal-side developments at Paddington Basin.

[Canal boat at Paddington Basin]

Much has changed since the previous time I was here. The all-night newsagents which supplied me with chocolate and Coke during my student days have become posh restaurants. Paddington Basin - then a derilict tract of land - is now a mini western version of Docklands.

I love taking time in this city. I know it so well, but am also constantly surprised and delighted by the people and pockets of change I find each time I actually open my eyes to look.

Posted by pab at 19:12 | Comments will be back later in the year. Please email me instead!