Places of Interest

The Unmoored Manor of Mutating Manifestation (UMMM), London’s floating Micronation

February 3, 2012
The Unmoored Manor of Mutating Manifestation (UMMM), London’s floating Micronation

This post is the illegitimate child of a Twitter conversation with John D from Pynchon in Public and author David Southwell. Many of these ideas are David’s. You can read his blog here and follow him on Twitter here The narrowboat seems longer and wider than the rest. But somehow it glides effortlessly down...
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When God Came to Clapton: A Tale of Two Cults

January 11, 2012
When God Came to Clapton: A Tale of Two Cults

Wherever I roam on the marshes, I can see one of two buildings poke the skyline. At the Walthamstow end, a Victorian church rises from Upper Clapton, beyond Springfield Park. Here, in the late 1800s, God came to London on a mission to make love to the lady folk. A few miles down the...
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Return to the Rave Hole

June 20, 2011
Return to the Rave Hole

On Saturday 11th June, I went to the marshes with Francesca from the Hackney Podcast. We explored a secluded area of scrub at the foot of a pylon beside the Warwick Reservoir. Here we found the remains of an encampment. Scorched earth. Beer bottles. Bog roll. Crack pipes. Hedonistic detritus. At 7am the next...
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Walthamstow Marsh: A Tale of Two Arches

May 31, 2011
Walthamstow Marsh: A Tale of Two Arches

The first British aeroplane was built and flown on Walthamstow Marsh. Much has been written about this event. But until now nobody has told the tragic story of what happened beneath the second arch on the Hackney side of the Lea Navigation… ARCH ONE: Walthamstow Marsh, July 13, 1909. Alliot Verdon Roe pushes his Roe...
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The Concrete Warren

May 5, 2011
The Concrete Warren

I never paused to consider this place. Not at first. Not until the men and trucks rolled in, boarded it up and turned the earth to sludge. Not until the robot rabbits started breeding.   Then I became obsessed. Before all the hoo-ha, it was just another scrubland along the Steel Parade. A wedge...
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Liminal Cheese Sandwiches at the Walthamstow Banquet Table

April 12, 2011
Liminal Cheese Sandwiches at the Walthamstow Banquet Table

My architectural historian friend, Dan, recently emailed me the phrase ‘liminal space’. I think he expected me to take the intellectual ball and run with it. So I did. I ran to Wikipedia. It told me that ‘liminality’ is a psychological, neurological, or metaphysical subjective state of being on the threshold between two different...
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Reservoir Ridge

April 11, 2011
Reservoir Ridge

Reservoir ridge is a viewpoint overlooking the Rave Hole. Behind a bench runs a mesh fence, spattered in white graffiti, which protects the reservoir. Metres away a pylon rises from the scrub, cables slung low. You can hear it hum as you sit and gaze across the train tracks and the marshlands to the urban...
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The Steel Parade

March 9, 2011
The Steel Parade

The country folk say that it’s nature where they live. But it’s not. They look through their car windows at the rolling hills and fields full of sheep. They tell themselves it’s all-natural. Timeless. Unspoilt. Like God just picked it out of his nose. But it’s not. And he didn’t. What they’re looking at...
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The Cow Sanctuary

February 27, 2011
The Cow Sanctuary

In a liminal land of futures and pasts, cows and skyscrapers can share the topography… Walthamstow marsh: an elevated pathway made of boards wrapped in chicken wire stretches through a field. The grass been left to grow wild in this fenced-off enclosure. Which means you don’t see them at first. They hide like Asian waterbuffalo....
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The 5ft Bridge

February 27, 2011
The 5ft Bridge

You can see quite clearly that this is a low bridge. But in case you’re unable to gauge this, there’s a big triangle sign that warns you: 5’0″.  Overhead the trains rumble from Clapton to Chingford. There’s a works entrance to the train line next to the bridge. Often you hear male voices above...
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