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Charles' London Architectural Journal   #3

London Skyline London Panorama Meanderings of an Londoneering Castaway.
A series of Charles' occasional observations. He does go on a bit... Shuffling soon to a street near you.
Aug 2006 Leave me alone with my dreams 
Hello Universe, and thanks for tuning in. This is the London Destruction website. And this is Charles, writing to you all, once again, from deep in the heart of London. Firstly, I must apologise for the shutdowns of the site. When LD gets too popular, they shut it down for an hour. There are limits on what traffic the site can handle. I'm sorry about that. Otherwise, I suppose one has to be grateful to Geocities (in 2006) for keeping us up and running for 5 years. Five long destructive years. Sadly, there isnt much else to celebrate here in the world of London Destruction. It never gets any better. Just look at today's news from Wembley... Our grand old stadium held it's last match in 2000, and here we are hearing that it might be 2008 till the next one! Why the hell did they knock the old one down? They could have built the new one anywhere else, and we could have kept the fantastic architecture of the old one. Anyway, that one will run and run. Well, at least the heat was off today, and London was cooler after a killer July. We toiled through the 7/7 anniversary and we melted on tube trains that stuck in tunnels, thanks to the privatised joke that London Underground has become. We waded through the flood waters from leaking water pipes, and were told to use less water. We groaned at the ever increasing gas bills, and laughed at the gas fat cat bonuses. And then there was Red Ken again, his vendetta against motorists, and then those traffic wardens... All in all, quite unpleasant. Biggest story was the sad tale of the Aylesbury Estate, just south of the Elephant & Castle... and how the council have played a great con to get this massive estate demolished... it's a developers dream, but the underhanded methods that the council have used, and all the glossy propaganda... its sickening. Pretty soon, south London will be a huge building site from Elephant down through Walworth, and they've let it all run down for years to make it look dilapidated and ready for destruction. They tried to privatise the estate, another con, but it failed, so this is ruthless plan-b in action. Stand by for some fat cat business contracts, brown envelopes, and knighthoods. Thats all folks. It's been an honour to write for you all.

Jul 2006 Curry & Chips, with a nice Chianti 
Hello, and welcome once again to Charles' Journal page. And thanks very much for tuning in and reading my little website, I really dont deserve it. Anyway, as summer is under way, and football is coming home, I have to say that this has been a summer of summers. Only last week, a squirrel fell out of a tree and almost on top of me. This was no ordinary rodent type thing, but a true monster, with claws and evil staring eyes, and big goofy teeth. Was this a good omen? Or a cue for me to start writing about architecture? I was getting quite excited this month about this Shard Of Glass building, a gianormous thing to be built at London Bridge, and by their reckoning it should be up by 2010, with a viewing gallery at the top of its 1000 feet! Yes, I will be up there, right at the top, reporting all the facts for you, the humble and most outrageous readers to this site. Perhaps let us pay homage to the building which will die to make way for the Shard. Poor old New London Bridge House, up since 1967, and reeking of Centre Point type architecture, but now consigned to the eternal dustbin. I went there a few times on business in the eighties, noted its funtionality and unremarkable character, but still feel sorry for it's demise. Anyway, moving slightly on, my recent travels did include Kingston, Hampton Court, and Richmond, all outbacks of London town, and so far, rather less over developed and destroyed compared to the more inner parts of the town. It was so refreshing to see these parts of old London, unhampered by progress and euro debacle. Far away from the offices of Ken Livingstone, like going back in time to a much happier era. And readers, it was bliss. Cheerio for now, everyone!

Jun 2006 The End of the World Is Nigh 
Hello. This is Charles again, writing to you from the heart, in the heart of good old London Town. Hello. And an even bigger hello to all architectural preservationists around the world. Hello from London! Well, I've been getting stuck-in this month, scribbling away, taking photos, just for you, the wonderful reader. Recent reconnaissance efforts took me around the capital, and only yesterday I was at poor old Borough Market, still whincing under the sword dangling above it's head. Soon a horrible decision will be made on it's future, and this corrupt government still want to smash up most of it for the railway. But oh what a glorious afternoon I spent there, amongst the traders and little teashops and pubs. Its a cruel blow if they dont save this part of London. Do we have to just stand by and watch? THIS LUNACY MUST STOP!
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New Eurostar terminal: It was an ugly concrete sandwich some several hundred yards long, bolted onto the classic St Pancras station. This and all the quagmire of mud and dust that goes with it. It was the worst design, a big white box stuck amongst the brick and slate of old London. Just clamped onto our most loved buildings and train sheds. All in the name of that rediculous channel tunnel rail link. I was mad with mortification... but what can one do? Then, last week, and to cap it all, some of Smithfields buildings, under threat for some years, got the demolition notices signed. So thats another death warrant. Luckily for me, I sought solace in quiet and creepy victorian Nunhead Cemetery, where, with the angelic effigies, I relaxed in a zombified state, and heard british songbirds at last, and enjoyed the woodlands and flowers. All this, knowing that beyond the cemetery wall, dirty demolition deeds were at hand. It's all too much for me to take. So farewell for now. Goodnight, readers... goodnight.

May 2006 Come fly with me 
Greetings, London lovers, and lovers of London. It's me again, Charles, walking the streets of London. Looking up, looking down, and looking all around, mainly at architecture. Which reminds me, I must get over to Paddington before they pull the span-four train sheds down: Another station ruined in a series of many. What with the horrendous digging and mess going on over at Kings Cross, seems that the stations of London are still quite a target for the over anxious speculator. But what can one do? The mound of concrete and excavation at Kings Cross is a sick and ugly hell hole, and I used to love the back streets and goods yards there, which were an organic warren of wonderful old London. Now the area looks like London's new airport terminal. Anyway, folks, April was a fair old month, where I made a visit to a few olde english pubs. I'm waiting and wanting for the smokers ban to happen here as it did in Scotland. Even though I have occasionally worked for smokers rights, there are still a majority of smokers who dont care where their smoke trail goes, and kick up an insane fuss if you politely ask them to move their stinky ciggy away from your face. Otherwise, the old London victorian pub remains a perfect place, and was exceptionally so on St George's Day, where I watched some Morris Dancers, not dancing, but drinking and swaying, and losing their bells! Some other ex-nice pubs had been ruined by landlords thinking that music at 20,000 decibels will make their pub more attractive. It wont, and I avoid them. I also avoid pubs with bouncers on the door, as I think trouble is all self regulating, and has deeper roots than this frightening cure. Oh yes, and I returned to my beloved Roof Gardens, where these ducks came right up to me and went quack quack quack... It was brilliant! Cheerio everyone!

Apr 2006 My Kingdom For A House 
Hello, everyone. Thanks for coming to my little website, and a further thanks for reading my little journal. Anyway, this website, as you can see, seeks the protection of old London and it's buildings and traditions, back to an age when there was respect for all, and good manners, and no political correctness, and there was love and courtesy all around. Back to the days, my friends, when a house was a home and family domain, not just an 'investment' to turn into flats, to gut out and ruin with 'modernisation', not just a thing to 'sell on' and make money out of. You notice that this is a fight against the people who nowadays might refer to a house as a 'property'. PROPERTY??? What happened to the home and castle? Property ladder... Investments. Rentable value... A lot of good homes are lost to the speculator, the developer, to destroy and move on. Ok, so the ladder routine might help one to progress, but a lot of destruction is caused by those wanting to convert and contemporise to try and make more and more money, and I think it's a shame. Oh for those old victorian fixtures and plumbing. For those odd curves and ancient kitchen units. So many 'property' hunters have minds transfixed by the magazine culture and are tuned out and away from what is real beauty, real London. A great shame. So they go it a rip the heart out of a good home, tranced by the home make-over tv snobs. Rows and rows of nice suburbian houses violated. Damnation !!! If I had my way, I'd list every old residence there was. Get them listed, protected against the portfolio rats who might just put greed before preservation. If you want investment, try Blair's Government Bonds, or go gambling at the dogtrack...

Mar 2006 Down the Tubes 
Hello, London lovers. Welcome to the London Destruction website, soon to be a non smoking zone, and i'll drink to that. Actually, it doesnt seem to long ago, when smoking was allowed everywhere, and even on public transport, there used to be reserved places to smoke, like on the top decks of buses only, or in one tube carriage. I can remember quite often running for the tube, getting on, and realising I was in the one 'smoking' carriage of the train, which stunk, of course, and I realised I was stuck on it until the next stop, and had to hold my breath. Actually, I have supported smokers rights in the past, thinking it was too authoritarian to stop peoples pleasure, but i'm glad it is now being banned, having never smoked myself, but I do fear this is another step too far by a dangerous government. But the tubes smell much better these days, although they are worse without the good old guardsman that used to travel on the rear carriage of every tube train, providing protection and making sure that all were aboard, something the driver can never do. Its not too many years since they were all sacked just to save money, and like bus conductors, they were a brilliant service and presence to look after us all. What an unforgivable move. No wonder the scum of London rule the tube lines and rob and hurt people. At least with a guard in attendance, they might think twice. Especially if the guards were armed with stun guns!

Feb 2006 House Of Fun 
That Suggsy of Madness has been fronting a new group recently, yes its that production mob who make 'Dissapearing London' on the TV. It's been a splendid show so far, highlighting many items that are now missing from the London scene, a few of which have been featured on this website. Otherwise I think it's a shame that the prog didnt venomously condemn the actions that have led to London's demise, but I dont suppose one is allowed to be incorrect these days, without a visit from the thought police. Anyway, Suggs did a good job, what with Hat shops and public baths, all tragically being replaced by branches of Costa Coffee or Irish theme pubs. Why, if I had made the show, a few bulldozers may have been involved. As for more intangable items, such as the fall into degenerate behaviour, they should do another show on that, and march all offenders towards Devils Island. Never mind ASBO's or community police. Call in the Army!!! This relates to the fact that Hoodies rule the London streets now, and no-one does a thing, for fear of being brutalised by the media or politicians. Anyway, back to the Suggs show. If a learned one thing, it was that the dear old New Piccadilly Cafe seems to be open, with not a mention of the closure order headlines that ran a few year ago. Maybe I should go round there soon for a celebration cup of tea!! And maybe one of his special blow-outs. Marvellous....

Jan 2006 Bye Bye Routemaster 
Oh well, it was early December when the last regular service of that dear old friend, the Routemaster, was condemned to a life as a tourist trapping in the form of a 'Heritage' route. Like feeding pigeons and Madam Tussauds, our favourite bus is now only around for the novelty effect. Forget that it might be the greatest transportational wonder, and is right and necessary for Londons 21st century passenger movement. It's a modern tragedy that we've lost the RM fleet. And so it was, that I took ride on the final service day. Even in the early morn, the Bus 159 from Brixton was packed with bus spotters, and I had to wait for the next service. Upstairs, I found myself the only one without Video camera, and I must be on quite a few home movies of that final routemaster day. I'm afraid I wasnt smiling, as this was a sad day for the world. Alas, I didnt travel the whole route, and alighted so that a desperate bus spotter could take my seat. The fight for a place on the last RM of the day, seen later on TV, was shocking. I'm really glad that my spotter days ended long ago, but least I can guarantee that I will fly the Routemaster flag forever, in a hope that one day, full reinstatement will occur. Ding ding!!! Hold tight please!!! No more room upstairs madam!!!

Dec 2005 Offensive Christmas 
How marvellous it is that the season of goodwill is still celebrated by some of us in London Town, and the big tree went up in Trafalgar Square as usual, to the sounds of wonderful carol singing. How we sang, louder and louder, as if to wind up the PC brigade who find Christmas 'offensive', even though it's not much more than a marvellous London tradition to lots of people. Time for some more carols tonight, as we hit one of London's beautiful churches to sing and admire the glory of the architecture, one of the greatest by-products of the religious movements. Speaking of which, that cathedral to the industrial age, Battersea Power Station, is in danger of more vandalism by its evil owners, who are pulling down its great chimneys to replace them by fake ones. How rediculous, but they say the poor things are unrepairable. Well im sure they'd like to pull the whole thing down and put up some modern excuse for a new building, rather like the joke thats just opened in Victoria Street SW1. Good grief. Anyway, no matter what they do at Battersea it shall remain an atrocity of the modern age how they left the Power Station derelict and roofless for near on 20 years an only lately have been goaded into action, therefore ruining it further. Oh well, I'm lost for words on that, so cheerio for now, everybody !!!

Nov 2005 A word in your ear 
Howdy world. It's me again, and it's Novemeber already. Time to write about the steadily disintegrating London Town, and all who sail in her. Actually, if I could afford it, I think that I would move out. Away to somewhere nicer, where I didnt have to watch in horror as London develops into a downward spiral. Looking from my window now, it's a lovely day, the first of November. And a gaggle of Traffic Wardens spoil the view. I'm so glad I dont drive in London any more. The level of persecution is just to high, especially for the motorist. Er... if I were the emperor of London I would have just to much to do to rectify things, and the first job would be to sack all the wardens. Then to pull down all speed cameras. And then to order the police to stop messing with the lives of motorists and go and catch some real criminals. However, I think that anyone who does misbehave whilst driving and parking - I mean really misbehaves, should be punished. But at the moment you cant even drive at 31mph without getting stung for zillions of quids. My local speed camera goes off at cars who only just seem to be moving. It makes me so angry, as they are just being conned out of cash. Same with those evil wardens - actually, the wardens should be imprisoned if caught issuing fradulent parking tickets, and they should never ever be on commission. Gasp! Thats enough ranting for now. Apart from putting Red Ken in the stocks, and pelting him with tomatoes!! Bye for now...

Oct 2005 Red Ken does it again 
Oh no... that Ken thinks that he needs eleven more years to sort out London. I dont wish him eleven more minutes with the way he's treated us all, but he seems untouchable. One thing he's done to the buses, apart from all the bad things he's done to them, is make for over-capacity. Where you used to wait forever for your favourite bus, now they are everywhere, and usually empty. But I think this is good. I'd rather go for over capacity, although it is a bit of an expense. This move, however, has been targetted by the press, which I think is a shame, because for once in my life I dont have to wait endlessly in the rain for a bus that runs once an hour, and often is cancelled anyway. Otherwise, Ken's bus ideas are a shambles, especially when it comes to stock. It's not so much that the Routemaster was brilliant, just that the new buses, modern as they are, have so many failings. One thing I noticed is that with every new model that appears, the more watertight the passenger areas are. No ventilation. Apart from the odd little window, it's all just one little sealed compartment. Talk about greenhouse effect! And in the summer, the upstairs heating is quite often still on. Then you may get lumbered with sitting at the back of upstairs, where the soft seats have been removed, and you have to sit facing the drug dealers. Its horrible! Those new buses are certainly not ergonomic, and there's something very very wrong with them. I blame Ken (as ever). He needs a custard pie in the face for this.

Sept 2005 London Is Lost 
I guess i've thrown in the towel with London, having nearly been mugged by some lowlife street thugs, kids really, whose lives lean heavily on gangsterism and intimidation. Only by chance and distraction was I not brutalised for fun. But this sort of behaviour is encouraged now. Surely London is lost. Still, whilst I am still here, living and working in the heart of old London Town, I shall carry on with my beloved website. A warm welcome to you all. A polite welcome. A greeting on the street, never to ignore my fellow Londoner. Always courteous, always helpful. But, these actions are looked down upon, and only receive a negative response from all, to the point where politeness is disencouraged, and the swaggering gangster rules the streets. Speaking of which, I had another encounter with a charity mugger recently, one of those idiots who wear a bib advertising some charity and stand on the pavement wearing a hideous inane grin and attempt to stop you for some demented sales talk. A candidate for getting thumped if there ever was one. Maybe I should let my new found gangster friends know, if they need some mugging fodder. But are these charity cases legal muggers? Its hardly a delightful way to to conduct oneself in public. And they wont take no for an answer, and pester you until a better target comes into view. These muggers are all the same. Made for prison, all of them.

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