A time for introspective pondering about a year that’s past, and a look back at what you the reader read the most.
The second year of the pandemic has been easier than the first, but as I write, bookended by museums closing and facemasks being worn indoors. That has of necessity made site visits more difficult, as people are quite reasonably wary of inviting that random guy in to have a look at what they are up to.
That said, some 6.5 million pages were read this year.
It’s always a privilege to be in a position to use the website to get access to off-limits places and share them with a wider audience so that more people can see what goes on behind closed doors and building site hoardings.
There have been some personal highlights though – with trips to HS2 and South Kensington tube station being pretty much up there. Plenty of wandering around town discovering new things on streets and hidden corners, and the ongoing series of London alleys.
London Open House returned, which was a huge relief, as did its construction equivalent, Open Doors.
With luck 2022 will start to see some sort of return to normality in the spring, although most of us thought that about this year as well, but we are undeniably in a better position now, with vaccines deployed and better medical knowledge about how to deal with a pandemic.
A Jubilee weekend is expected this summer (or a state funeral), the Elizabeth line will open, the London Overground will be extended, and hopefully, all those places that had to close or restrict entry numbers will once more welcome us all back, so we can get out and about exploring London once again.
The top 10 countdown of what you read in 2021
- London’s Alleys: Fairthorne Road, SE7 – May 2021
- This is an alley in southeast London that has a unique feature in the middle, but is soon to be closed to the public. It starts off fairly conventionally as a nice brick arch between a row of Victorian houses, but down here is a most unexpected surprise.
- Disused rail tunnel reopens at Kings Cross station – April 2021
- A tunnel at King’s Cross station that was closed in the 1970s has been reopened, with the first trains passing through just before 5am this morning.
- Crossrail changes its staged opening plans – July 2021
- Although the opening of Crossrail is the public deadline that keeps shifting, it is in fact only the 3rd stage of a 5-stage process, and how the final two stages will be carried out has been changed.
- The concrete heart of Bermondsey’s “Biscuit Town” – Oct 2021
- A few streets to the south of Bermondsey tube station used to be a large biscuit factory estate, the Peek Freans factory, but it’s about to be redeveloped.
- Moor Park, the tube station in a private estate – Dec 2021
- In northwest London lies a tube station that sits almost entirely inside a private housing estate. The tube station, Moor Park on the Metropolitan line sits between a private golf course on one side and a large private housing estate on the other.
- The forgotten era of Light Reflectors in London’s alleys – Feb 2021
- A visitor to Victorian London who found themselves in its many narrow alleys would have seen large numbers of wooden shutters reflecting sunlight into the offices.
- Behind the scenes at South Kensington tube station’s escalator replacement project – Aug 2021
- Deep underneath the South Kensington tube station, a huge project is underway to replace all five of the station’s escalators, and all of them at the same time.
- See a huge scale model of central London at Kings Cross – July 2021
- Just behind King’s Cross station can be found a large scale model showing off most of central London. Previously found at the Building Centre, the model has moved to King’s Cross, into a larger building and gained the addition of a chunk of northwest London including Wembley stadium.
- London’s Alleys: Queen’s Passage, SW1A – May 2021
- An all too easy to walk past without noticing is a narrow subterranean passage that runs underneath the posh houses next to Green Park giving access to the quiet streets behind.
- Life-size elephant sculptures in London – May 2021
- A herd of life-sized sculptures of elephants have arrived in London, and are on display ahead of being sold for charity.
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