Thursday, July 19, 2018

Highgate - Further London Villages

View from Shepherd's Hill
This week our Further London villages walk was Highgate, we met at the station which had once been part of another line in North London.- before we met I took a walk to Shepherd's Hill where you get a good view of Alexandra Palace.

The Priory Gardens entrance of the station where an unused platform can be observed

The Hillcrest Estate

Really surprised to find Highgate such a nice area of London, it has a large area of woodland  and some great views, far more suburban than I had expected.

We saw some fine (I would say) architecture including municipal housing called The Hillcrest  Estate.

We also saw some flats designed for Sigmund Gestetner by Berthold Lubetkin for his workers

Flats designed by Berthold Lubetkin

Famous residents now include Jude Laws but in the past Dickens passed through.

George's home still a destination  for his fans 

Charles Dickens - not his permanent home 

Highgate's Institution

George Michael the Pop Singer was a famous resident and for a while after his early death the area was a destination for his fans.
Home for the Fair

George  was quietly quietly philanthropic and as well as making donations to individuals he was a backer of Highgate fair held in the (although it's not) square which has Highgate's Institution across the road.

Literary figures have lived in Highgate  too - JB Priestley lived in the same house that  Samuel Taylor- Coleridge had lived in before a - like George  Michael Coleridge had drug issues.

Houseman the poet was another poet who  lived in the same road.

Another poet's home -Houseman 

Dead figures also featured as near to St Joseph's church we saw the graveyard that is where Karl Marx is laid to rest -Karl Marx was non-practising Jew he was buried in non consecrated ground.

2 plaques one house

From the perimeter the graveyard that's home to the remains of Karl Marx 

A most impressive Catholic Church St Joseph's was viewed inside and out
Outside the church

St Joseph's Church

Inside the church

As we approached the shops we saw a Pub used by comedian Graham Chapman.

A Pub used by Graham Chapman 
A 'copious' drinker 

I should also mention the significant New River (NR) marking and an associated building..

NR = New River 
A Building for water

Monday, July 16, 2018

BEAT Shop Pops Up again

So BEAT, the Ealing OPEN (Art) studios event  is running again this September and as last year they've managed to arrange with Landlords of  The Ealing Broadway Centre' (British Land) the use of a shop unit that's currently without tenants.
Pieta By Nick Brown

As much a publicity vehicle as a sales opportunity, I've had some really interesting conversations with people who've come for a look around - it's refreshing to find so many people interested in the OPEN studios both as visitors and as potential contributors

Steve Hackett has made this little visual tour of the exhibition Pop-Up (opposite Poundland in the Broadway centre)  - if you like it come along and see us..

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Back to the 80's (and more) at Kew the Music.

More than 30 years and still going strong 
I'm not surprised how many years since we went to our first Kew music concerts, I know we've seen some big names and great concerts from the regulars (Like Jools Holland and guests) through the legends like Chic featuring Nile Rogers and another  year the super smooth Bryan Ferry but it's a pretty great place to enjoy music outside without having to pack a tent and drive hundreds of miles.

LUNA and her band - lots of energy and a good voice 

This year we opted for the Friday, the opening act was LUNA -a great high energy performance with a strong voice from lead singer (reminded me a little of both Emeli Sandé and Amy Winehouse ).

AFTER lUNA we had the hit making 80's slightly angst-y Blancmange - they kicked off with Abba's The day before you came and did seem (still) slightly cool.
Neil still manages to carry off an 'Angst-y' look at 60

Living in the ceiling does (now seem to me) more than a throwaway number and they had a couple of other hits which they performed at Kew in a workmanlike manner - seems really they're Neil Arthur and although he located the group as a Harrow combo' he's noticeably Northern and Harrow (London) is where they formed in the 80's

But then the moment many of us that had really brought us out - The Human League, I first saw them something like 35 years ago with a very different line up but I was impressed then (partly by their oddity and the style of Phil Oakey).
The hair has changed but the voice still good

At 62 Oakey has made the sensible decision to accept the Veronica Lake haircut is no longer a possibility for him - but amusing beard shows the style gene is still active as were his left field clothes choices- lots of great hits performed and the audiences's antithetic  singing  accompaniment to  'don't you want me?' I found oddly touching..

{nice documentary on the hugely influential  band here}

A great night out...

Saturday, July 14, 2018

More London Villages with CityLit

26 Church Row

Great to be again traversing some of the old villages that make up London, and many of the 'old crowd' have opted to join Paul Sinclair (great course leader)  as he reveals some of the history of the areas we explore.

This week it was Hampstead and our first 'port of call' was 26 Church Row where Bosie (Lord Alfred Douglas) lived, his involvement with Oscar Wilde led to Wilde's downfall (Stop 14 on this tour).

Then on to the splendid (but subsiding) church, St John at Hampstead- with its collection of famous graves (Like Astronomer Harrison).

Subsiding Church 

Inside the church

On our earlier walks we saw a famous home of Dame Gracie Fields (in Islington)  here in Hampstead we saw a far grander version at 20 Frognal Way a very exclusive address.

Gracie's posh home in Frognal Way
Other houses we saw included a fine example of Bauhaus architecture,

Bauhaus style has aged well methinks 
Mount Vernon Hospital

Kathleen Ferrer lived here

Hampstead is littered with Blue Plaques and their own Heat and Old Hampstead (Black) plaques showing famous former residents homes and we saw what was a hospital during the Great war in Mount Vernon Way.
Fenton Hosue through the gate

Constable moved here for his wife's health

Jack Straw's Castle-A Pub with a story

We went past Fenton House (a National Trust property which I've visited before) and saw the house artist John Constable moved to for the sake of his wife's health (Hampstead air was considered health giving to those with Tuberculosis).

We then walked up to Whitestone Pond nearby is Jack Straw's Castle, situated close to where Jack Straw (a peasant of the revolting type) held court.

In the Vale of Health named perhaps for connection with those seeking cures and more plaques -What's fascinates me about plaques is how they lead us to find out more about history, even though the Plaque to Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore is obscured by foliage (and his life too is somewhat obscure) - I find he met with Einstein and was also a friend to Gandhi - a plaque to the less obscure DH Lawrence is nearby too.

Rabindranath -A hidden Poet 

DH Lived here

In fact the nearby Vale of health Pond looks really  lovely on a hot day!

And it could make a great Constable Painting...

Another Constable home
 at 40 Well Walk 

Pond - looks inviting?

And then on to Brutal-ist architect Goldfinger's home (another revisit for me)  and  finally Campden Baths  - we had a great walk, up a few hills and my legs still ache!

Another National trust property - home to the real Goldfinger 
Campden Baths