If Charles Dickens stood in Potters Fields today....

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Tuesday 22 April 2008 5.36pm
...and turned round 360 degrees, what would he recognise? Considering he's only been dead 138 years, surprisingly little I suggest.
He never saw Tower Bridge.
Probably just parts of the Tower and the tip of the Monument.
Standing 202 feet high, the Monument is the tallest isolated stone column in the world.

Such a lovely evening to stop and cogitate life along the Thames on the way home!
Tuesday 22 April 2008 9.14pm
The unfair society perhaps.
Tuesday 22 April 2008 11.05pm
A city being transformed by unplanned, barely co-ordinated speculative development?

[Although in the five years before Dickens' death it was the railway companies rather than office developers that were the main offenders]
Wednesday 23 April 2008 12.12pm
I love walking back from the West End, to Bermondsey Street, via Waterloo Bridge on a fine night.

It really is a superb walk [despite some of the ugly buildings and that hideously dark corner, by the National Theatre and not very good [unlit] statue of Olivier - who?]

When I was contemplating leaving London, after 37 years, I stood on the bridge, looking towards St Pauls, and thought: "How can I leave this?". I've just celebrated 40 years as an Honorary Londoner - mate - and it seems but a blink since I arrived at the end of the swingin' '60s!

No doubt Mr Dickens would have written something suitable about his new view.

Thank God for Larry, England and St George :-) - and our glorious heritage........and even the Gherkin.

To the River!! [for 6pm]
Wednesday 23 April 2008 7.26pm
He'd be stunned that he could see anything. In his time Potters fields was a mass of buildings extending up to warehouses that stood right on the river bank.
Wednesday 23 April 2008 7.38pm
Lang Rabbie wrote:
A city being transformed by unplanned, barely co-ordinated speculative development?
That's the history of London. It's been busily building and rebuilding itself for the best part of two thousand years. Few buildings have ever lasted more than a century or two. The city Dickens knew would have been barely recognisable to anyone a century before he first saw it. London didn't get to be where it is today by getting too hung up on the past and treating everything in it as some sort of precious reliquary.
Wednesday 23 April 2008 9.43pm
That's the standard shpeell you get from developers,
The truth is the Victorians could have obscured views of st Paul s cathedral , but didn't

When Regent street was rebuilt in the 20s they could have built it like Manhattan but didn't,

So yes obviously city's evolved over the year but the disrespect for what went before is more recent unwelcome phenomena than Charles dickens day I'm afraid,

Old building were also built to last and are in an indigenous style not just international architecture.

London ant no generic city baby's
Wednesday 23 April 2008 10.18pm
mickysalt wrote:
That's the standard shpeell you get from developers,
The truth is the Victorians could have obscured views of st Paul s cathedral , but didn't

When Regent street was rebuilt in the 20s they could have built it like Manhattan but didn't,

So yes obviously city's evolved over the year but the disrespect for what went before is more recent unwelcome phenomena than Charles dickens day I'm afraid,

Old building were also built to last and are in an indigenous style not just international architecture.

London ant no generic city baby's

He also described America as a country of fascist arictecture.
He would be horrified if London was to go the same way.
Thursday 24 April 2008 6.41am
I'm afraid they couldn't have built Regent Street like Manhattan ion the 20s. Doing so would have been illegal. That was nothing whatsoever to do with how it looked, but because the building regulations required that all occupied floors had to be within reach of the Fire Brigade ladders. The height of new buildings in London was determined by these rules right up to the 1960s and the Edwardians, particularly, had built most of the city right up to the limit.

When it came to unoccupied floors both the Victorians and Edwardians littered London with towers of varying designs. Chimneys and water towers mostly, and now mostly gone, but also towers like those at Westminster (no historical precedent there for buildings what were the tallest gothic secular buildings in the world - actually, among the very first iron framed 'skyscrapers' ever built).

The heights of all the warehouses that crowded the river front was also determined by this rule, presenting a 100 foot wall of brick right along the south bank. The idea of walking from Albert Embankment to Tower Bridge would have only been possible had you wanted to walk on the foreshore and only then possible if you wanted to clamber over the jetties and boats that would have littered it.

The Victorians had no love of St Paul's or desire to protect it. So much did they dislike its baroque (read foreign and Roman Catholic) design that they wanted to knock it down completely and replace it with something a bit more English.... A bit more gothic.

Stop looking at the world through a rosy historical looking glass where builders respected things then but don't now. All that was different was the demands and practical restrictions put upon them. Restrictions about what views they blocked were non existent until the 1980s.
Thursday 24 April 2008 8.34am
You said London didn't get where it was today by getting hung up on the past,
Victorian architecture owed everything to the past.

so It simply isn't true to say that.

The fact that building can be taller now means we have to deal with that issue and handle it properly ,
And make decisions about whether its desirable or not
Not talk bolucks about how London's always been like that when it hasn't

If Charles dickens was alive to he'd would have been horrified by the glass boxes next to potters fields park and signed the same letter as Tracy emin

Slaging Ken Livngston off
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