DISAPPEARING LONDON

london-footprints.co.uk

This page has some info from my knowledge on topics featured in a TV series of 2007.

CAB SHELTERS
There are 13 of these little buildings left in London including the one in Warwick Avenue that appeared in the programme. See my
webpage for more info.

 

TELEPHONE BOXES
Despite mobile phones a familiar site on London streets are red telephone boxes. However their designer Giles Gilbert Scott intended them to be silver with a greeny-blue interior. The K2s that remain (with cut-out crown & regular windows - as pictured left) are listed 'buildings'. These were introduced in 1926 in Metropolitan Boroughs. The smaller K6s of 1936 (with raised crown & irregular windows - as pictured right) were designed to commemorate the silver jubilee of George V and were sited in the whole country. K1s were non-standard, K3s concrete (by Scott) & K4s included a stamp machine. More information on telephone boxes is available on the GLIAS website [
click here]

LIDOS
'Lido' comes from the Italian for 'seashore' and these were built for people who couldn't afford to go to the seaside at a time when sun-worshipping became fashionable. In their heyday they were extremely popular but high maintenance costs made them uneconomic and only a few examples remain. The programme showed Tooting Bec Lido in SW17, one of the largest in Europe. Designed in the 1930s by H J Martin the blue cafe was added in 1936. There are functioning lidos in Brockwell Park SE24 and at Paliament Hill and the one in London Fields re-opened in 2006. There is a
website devoted to lidos past & present and the London Pools Campaign has a website.

TURKISH BATHS
The baths in Ironmonger Row behind St Luke's Old Street were featured [
Finsbury walk]
The building pictured was the entrance to baths in Bishopsgate Churchyard. The premises are now used by a restaurant and are much more spacious than they look.
The lovely tiles have been retained inside [
Spitalfields walk]

 

RIVER TRAFFIC
Some historic craft can still be seen in London [
webpage]. A good place to visit to find out more is the Museum of London Docklands [website].
[
East to West India walk]

HIGHGATE GARDEN
The large house and garden on Highgate West Hill is 'Witanhurst' built by millionaire soapmaker Sir Arthur Crosfield in 1920 for his young socialite wife. The house and grounds are private property

UNDERGROUND TOILETS
On TV bolt cutters were used to gain access to the toilets at Kennington Cross. Plenty of closed ones still exist and a few have been converted to other uses including an eating place outside Christ Church Spitalfields. The ones you may still be able to use are in West Smithfield and the south end of Gracechurch Street. The Gents pictured (closed of course!) is in Star Yard. [
Inns of Court walk]

PREFABS
I've come across isolated examples in East Dulwich and Peckham [
Peckham walk] but didn't realise there was a whole estate in Catford. The Excaliber Estate is located between Forster Memorial Park and Hither Green Cemetery. A battle keep them has been lost and they are due to be removed for redevolpment but 6 have been listed by English Heritage and will remain. Wikipedia article
I can remember going to visit an uncle who had one on Hilly Fields - long since demolished.

WELSH DAIRIES
I know of old dairy buildings on Warren Street/Conway Street (pictured), Rugby Street off Lamb's Conduit Street in Bloomsbury [
Bloomsbury walk] and River Street/Amwell Street in Islington (seen on the programme) [New River walk]. However despite the giveaway names I hadn't associated them with the Welsh before now!

WELSH CHAPELS
There is one on Southwark Bridge Road near Great Guildford Street [
Southwark walk] and a Welsh Church off St Mary's Terrace in Paddington [Paddington walk].

OLD SHOPS
There are lots of examples of lovely old shops in London including Smiths Tobacconist at 74 Charing Cross Road and Ede & Ravenscroft legal outfitters in Chancery Lane/Star Yard (pictured) [
Inns of Court walk]. The St James's area is particularly good. [St James's walk]

FUNERAL DIRECTORS
The family firm of Cribb still offer traditional horse-drawn funerals. [
Beckton walk].
At number 24 London Road, Kingston are the historic premises of Fredrick W Paine (Undertakers). Mr Paine lived above the shop and their records date back to 1896.
[Kingston walk]

RIVOLI BALLROOM
I used to live just round the corner from this place (sited opposite Crofton Park Station) but never went inside. Nice to know it is still flourishing however. [
website]

CLASSIC CAFES
The example pictured in Regency Street near Horseferry Road is popular with cabbies. [
Victoria walk]. There is a website devoted to the subject which includes a feature on the New Piccadilly at 8 Denman Street.

 

CINEMAS
The Granada Tooting is at 50 Mitcham Road SW17. The Italianate front of white stone was designed by Cecil Masey in 1931. The interior by Theodore Komisarjevsky has a foyer in the style of a baronial hall and an auditorium of Venetian Gothic design. It is now a Gala Bingo Hall. Many other cinemas of the 1930s remain, some with lavish interiors. Some Art Deco examples are listed on my
webpage including the former Woolwich Odeon (pictured). Opposite is another ex-cinema (now bingo) with a Komisarjevsky interior [Woolwich walk].

BOOKS
London Oddities by J Edward Hart
London: Sight Unseen by Snowdon
London Peculiars by Peter Ashley
Secret London by Andrew Duncan
Still Open - the guide to traditional London shops
Inside London by Joe Friedman
[
Booklist]


london-footprints.co.uk 2007 (revised 2018)

[articles list]