Wednesday, 23 July 2008

More London

I've added yet more photos to my Around London set on flickr but they're nothing too exciting -- just some shots from a day several weeks ago when I found myself released from the office shackles to attend an all-day training conference in Bloomsbury. Unlike work, training conferences tend to involve a full hour or more of lunch break - no eating at your desk - so I got to spend a pleasant afternoon wandering the Bloomsbury streets, primarily in the Tavistock Square and Gordon Square areas.

These squares are (what seems to me to be) those very London-specific spaces, the urban common gardens. They're surrounded by rows of terrace houses and were originally for the private use of the residents. Now they're open to the public and at lunchtimes they accommodate lazy streams of office workers, tourists, and students looking for a park bench or patch of grass on which to eat their sandwiches. (I actually had a jacket potato nestled in environmentally unsound polystyrene - very difficult to eat on your lap, FYI.)

In terms of the actual gardens, Tavistock Square is relatively sparse. However, it's home to monuments to Virginia Woolf (who lived in one of the neighbouring houses), Louisa Aldrich-Blake (one of Britain's first female surgeons), a very prominent and life-like Mahatma Gandhi, and a stone commemorating the conscientious objectors of the world.

Less happily, it is also the spot on which the bus exploded on the 7 July 2005 bombings of London's transport system. (There is small memorial to the dead on the fence across the street from the Square.)

Gordon Square in contrast, is much more lush and ornate (plant-wise), but without the obvious political and literary dedications. Some of the Bloomsbury Group did live on the Square though.

My photos also include several shots of what probably look like fairly average buildings/houses in the area. I bothered to post them to flickr because it seemed there were so many different styles of architecture in such a small area, from Georgian terraces to some sort of gothic revival to a brand new wood and steel creation that would look more at home in Brisbane. Hmmmm. Perhaps it was my near-euphoria at not having to be in the office that day that made it all seem so interesting.

We're back in the real world today after a week away for the Festival Internacionale de Benicassim, a music festival in coastal Spain. More on that next post!


ganching said...

You're right - those squares are very specific to London and are called, rather obviously, "London Squares". A few weeks ago over one one weekend many of them were open to the public. If you're still in London next summer look out for it.

Lauren in London said...

Thank you... will do!