Not so boxy jumper

Leading the charge of international horses to Greenwich for the 2012 Olympics is an unlikely character: Benson The Talking Topiary Horse. His athletic pose is the result of 10 years intensive training at a nursey in Italy. But rather than compete with the equestrian mob in the park stadium, Benson is here on a charitable(…)

Silent clatter

On the Greenwich Safari we imagine London teeming with horses in the 1830s. Here is a rare glimpse of horse-drawn cabs, carriages, carts and omnibuses wheeling around the city seventy years on.

Black smoke over the Thames

Unfazed by such landlubbing civilian niceties as the Clean Air Act and London Low Emission Zone, HMS Ocean has been exhaling black smoke constantly since her arrival in Greenwich on 4 May. She is here as part of a major national exercise to test the Armed Forces role in the Olympics security effort. The vast(…)

Underground, Overground

Passing through Greenwich Market the other day, I stumbled upon this nineteenth century print of Marc Brunel’s Thames Tunnel (Into the Void). It shows, in charmingly peculiar perspective, the tunnel ‘as it appeared when originally opened for traffic’: a popular destination for well-to-do Victorian pedestrians. That was before it became a dark, dank den of(…)

The one that got away

Those clever chaps at Fraser Muggeridge studio have been coming up with some cracking logo designs for Dotmaker Tours. It’s been a fun process. I slightly fell in love with this delightful elephant. But in the end I couldn’t resist the pin and jaunty masthead. Scroll up… Ta da!

Spirits in the rubble

This startling image is from the new documentary film Vision Quest: A Ritual for Elephant & Castle. It follows artist and shaman Marcus Coates on a search for animal spirits to help gain insights into a possible future for the area. It’s a provocative idea. Elephant & Castle – a giant roundabout, shopping centre and clutch(…)

Into the void

Crossrail’s Phyllis & Ada (London’s most voracious worms) are the latest in a long line of giant worms that have nibbled their way under the city. The family tree (or should that be root?) goes back at least as far as 1825 to the tunnelling shield used to bore the Thames Tunnel between Rotherhithe and(…)

London’s most voracious worms

I’m very excited about Crossrail. The tunnelling started last week. Over the next two years Phyllis & Ada (pictured), Victoria & Elizabeth, Sophia & Mary and an unnamed couple will bore 21km of twin tunnels through the centre of London. The 148m long machines will pass below Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Whitechapel(…)

Ponder the small fry

On the Greenwich Safari we ponder the small fry served up at popular nineteenth century whitebait dinners. There were those those who mocked these faddish fishy feasts. Among them was playwright John Maddison Morton. He is best known today for Box and Cox, a story about an ingenious landlady who rents out the same room to(…)