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Crossrail: adventures in waste

There’s so much of wonder about Crossrail, the new railway under London that will link Reading and Heathrow with Shenfield and Abbey Wood when it opens in 2019. First off, there’s the staggeringly ambitious engineering work to construct 42km of tunnels through the centre of a city already riddled with holes from the tube network.The real joy for(…)

London Marches

With huge political changes happening this year, we can expect London to play an important role as a place of protest.So, on Friday there will be Stand Up To Trump protests outside the US Embassy coinciding with Trump’s inauguration. On Saturday, thousands are expected to join the Women’s March from the US embassy to Trafalgar Square: a ‘sister’ march(…)

An Ear to the London Night

We’re delighted to be part of The Night Museum — a week of free events in and around the Museum of London from 29 October to 4 November exploring ‘the hidden, the illicit and the lost’.Rosie will be leading An Ear to the London Night on Wednesday 2 November. It’s a 45 minute adapted version of The London Ear where(…)

Where we don’t look

Judd Flogdell came on A Genius Tour last Saturday and devised an ‘unlearning’ experiment for herself to do afterwards (see post on The Benefits of Unlearning). She reports on the results:I’m calling this my Behind the Picture experiment.I chose the Thomas Lawrence print on my living room wall. After having reversed it and contemplated it(…)

Contactless but tactile

Technologies like automatic doors, sensor-controlled escalators and even contactless payments all allow us to glide through London without touching it—with our hands, that is.We feel the city with our feet. Through the soles of our shoes we learn the texture of London’s uneven paving, lumpy tarmac and slippery cobbles. We also read the city with our(…)

The benefits of unlearning

To navigate our way through life we most often apply a kind of internal filter that organises the world into priority, inessential and junk. It’s a useful tool. But how much of the richness of experience does it blank out? How far does it hamper our powers of perception and imagination? Sometimes what we think we already know(…)

Slow growth and ancient roots

Now that London’s trees have all outed themselves with their new foliage, it’s a great time to go tree spotting. The Natural History Museum’s Leafsnap UK app is a handy tool for identifying species from their leaves. Of all the city’s trees, the London plane (pictured left) gives the capital its arboreal character. But it hasn’t(…)

Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed

So wrote the French chemist Antoine Lavoisier in 1774, summing up his discovery that although matter can change its state in a chemical reaction, the total mass of matter remains the same.‘Everything is transformed’ could also serve as the motto for the Circular Economy: the idea that we can produce stuff without waste or pollution(…)

London’s birds and the global sound wave

International Dawn Chorus Day on Sunday 1 May is a prompt to connect with birds as they herald a new day. Do London’s birds sing differently from their country cousins? Studies have found that great tits chirp higher. This is thought to be so as better to project above the rumble of traffic and other(…)