Sunday, December 17, 2006

Mews views - 16 December 2006

Mews near Brompton Rd There is always more to discover in London. We have done organized walks and self-guided walks from books and each book has its own slant on what to see and where to go. If you turn right instead of left you see a whole different world and so it is with these walks. Although one might be tempted to think that one had ‘done’ a particular area, each new walk brings new surprises.

False frontWe started at Paddington as we wanted to find an iconic piece of Victorian ingenuity. When the first underground lines were installed they were done using cut-and-cover, where possible along the lines of existing roads. But what happens if the road ends in a T intersection and there is a row of Georgian town-houses across the path? Simple, just remove one from the row and replace it with a matching false fa├žade and no one will know.

From the rearThis is exactly what happened in Lenister Gardens and the reason they did not ‘cover’ everything was that the original trains were pulled by coal powered, steam engines and the smoke had to go somewhere.

Albert MemorialLeaving there we walked across Kensington Gardens, past the Albert Memorial and Royal Albert Hall and on to the Museums where winter markets and an ice-skating rink had been set up. Science Museum Rink and MarketsIt was all terribly ‘European’ but, given the current mild temperatures, did not quite have the same atmosphere.

The V&A has a rather fascinating sound-and-light installation in the courtyard this year so we paid a visit before disappearing down some of the mews that are so plentiful in this area.

V&A light showOnce the stables and tradesmen’s areas, they are now highly sought after, as they are the only dwellings in London with garaging. (In typical UK fashion, usually not with a car parked in them.)

Smallest Mews house?A local who noticed the camera sent us off on a detour to see the shallowest mews house in London. It probably qualifies as the shallowest dwelling of any sort in the UK, it is not actual clear how one would fit a bed into this home and if the bed was there how one would fit beside it to get in or out, or make it.

No comments: