Author: donbrown

clapham sect plaque
The closing of a small estate agent’s office in South West London is hardly big news (some might even raise a cheer), but the closure of the Edwin Evans office on Lavender Hill marks a break with a significant piece of Battersea history. Because it was the original (Sir) Edwin Evans who bought, demolished and developed […]
Back in the day – and I mean way back, ooh, two decades ago – Time Outruled London. You got your copy on Thursday and planned the weekend and the following week. It was a great bid doorstop of a magazine, packed full of listings details in dense san serif and, like a lot of […]
At the beginning of June I did the Nightrider challenge – 100km cycling around London overnight. It was exhausting, tiring, but great fun (a full description is here). I didn’t get the chance to take too many pictures (have you tried photography while riding a bicycle in the dark?), but here’s a selection of some […]
I’ve always loved the sign for this laundrette on the Wandsworth Bridge Road. It’s lovable partly for the involuntary snigger it always causes, but mainly because it harks back to another era, when laundrettes were new, exciting places suffused with the glamour of the USA. Just look at the design – it’s a 10/- Las […]
chislehurst caves plan
40 metres or so beneath Chislehurst, a pleasant little suburban village close to Bromley, are the Chislehurst Caves. In fact ‘Caves’ is something of a misnomer, these being some 22 miles of man made tunnels that make up an old chalk mine. Take the guided tour and you will be treated to tales of druidical […]
Directly across the road by the Tower of London, hard by the tube station is the Tower Hill Memorial to sailors of the merchant navy and fishing fleets who were killed in the two World Wars and who have ‘no grave but the sea’. (See Google maps.) There are over 35,000 names inscribed in the […]
So, there I am, walking up Chelsea Bridge Road towards Sloane Square. “Look at this!” says a man who has just passed me, “Look what I’ve just found!” I turn round to see him picking something shiny off the pavement. My first thought was that it was a button off a Chelsea Pensioner’s tunic (we’re […]
“The Proud City” is a wonderful bit of film freely available on the Internet Archive. Made to sell the idea of the Abercrombie plan for London, it is passionate about the need to tackle the unsanitary conditions in which much of London’s inhabitants were forced to live, and about the benefits to all of a […]
Charles Dickens was born 200 years ago next month. One of his lesser-known roles was as president of the NewstrAid Benevolent Fund and his influence during the charity’s formative years (he was president from 1854 to 1870), ensured an enduring foundation and a charity which now supports over a thousand beneficiaries. Dickens understood the plight […]
There is no shortage of books about London – either histories of the whole city or of specific districts, works on particular aspects of its life and culture, or illustrated books of varying degrees of quality. The titles listed here are my favourite histories of the city; each has something different to offer and all […]
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