London Cross
A straight line walk across London
by Paul K Lyons

Also by Paul K Lyons
Not a Brave New World
a trilogy in
in three wives

A fictional memoir
spanning the whole
of the 2st century

(see below for the same
links but with their titles)
1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5
6 · 7 · 8 · 9 · 10
11 · 12 · 13 · 14 · 15
16 · 17 · 18 · 19 · 20
21 · 22 · 23 · 24 · 25
26 · 27 · 28 · 29 · 30
31 · 32 · 33 · 34 · 35
36 · 37 · 38 · 39 · 40
41 · 42 · 43 · 44 · 45
46 · 47 · 48 · 49 · 50
51 · 52 · 53 · 54 · 55
56 · 57 · 58 · 59 · 60
61 · 62 · 63 · 64 · 65
66 · 67 · 68 · 69 · 70
71 · 72 · 73 · 74 · 75
76 · 77 · 78 · 79 · 80
81 · 82 · 83 · 84























































If you walk across a great city such as London in two straight lines, south to north and east to west - a cross-section - what do you find?

The basic concept of this book, London Cross, is simple - to describe a walk across London along a route that sticks as closely as possible (without trespassing) to a straight line. I chose the 300 easting (a south-north Ordnance Survey line), rather than the 307 or 323 eastings, for example, because it's one that is drawn on most modern maps, and because it cuts conveniently through the middle of London. My intention is to do a similar walk from east to west, thus creating a cross. I decided to start and finish both walks at the M25 since it provides a neat geographical boundary for the London area. Both walks are over 30 miles long as a crow would fly.

My aim in writing about these two routes is not to provide a walking guide or to encourage anyone to follow in my footsteps, rather it is to record a slice of London, a random cross-section, here and now, combining all kinds of information (about local history and stories, architecture and planning, street names and quirky notices, companies and organisations) as well as noting odd coincidences and connections.

I completed a first draft of the south-north walk, which is about 75,000 words, in spring 2004. I then wrote to publishers and agents asking if they might be interested. I do not have any connections in the publishing world so these letters were written 'on spec' (destined for the slush pile). But, many of those I wrote to did reply. They said London Cross was an 'interesting' idea, but none (so far any way) have been prepared to consider it as a publishing venture. I have not, therefore, begun work on the east-west walk. If anyone reading this is involved in the publishing world, and can see some potential for this book, please do get in touch - immediately!

London Cross is not meant to be read through from beginning to end, but to be dipped into, like Schott's Miscellany perhaps or the Rough Guide to London. The book consists of 84 short sections, which are indexed below. You can scroll through the book by clicking 'next' on each page, or jump to any other section by using the number links at the bottom. This home page can be accessed from every section by clicking the London Cross logo.

If you like London Cross please do let me know
and/or browse other writing on the Pikle website

LONDON CROSS - part one (south to north along the 300 easting)

1 - From a footbridge above the M25, past a hidden mere to Rockshaw Road
2 - Objets d'auto, subway murals, green sandstone and motorway noise
3 - From a moated homestead to the ladder of salvation via a secret food store

4 - Art therapy at the Netherne asylum - along Ditches Lane through the Devil's Den
5 - Farthing Down - a Saxon and Celtic past, Folly beeches and strewn carnations
6 - Urban explorers, Chaplin and Bowie - all Cane Hill asylum visitors
7 - From Coulsdon's Lion Green and Red Lion to the Grove, Wend and Ridge
8 - Upper Woodcote Village, where gardens come before homes, and see-saws are lonely
9 - Promenade de Verdun - a road (not a walk) with serious pretensions

10 - Past Fisher boys, along woody drives and into Roundshaw Park
11 - The legacy of Croydon Aerodrome: an urban ghetto with flighty names
12 - A forgotten black composer, the Lancashire Caruso and Freddie Pazzi
13 - From the Plough and views along the Croydon Road to the founder of Barings Bank
14 - Past wonders along the Wandle: trout, squabs, snuff and a hammer-beam hall
15 - In memory of Madalina, Harvest Home, Asda's bakery and some capital advertising
16 - The archaeological and ornithological pleasures of Beddington Sewage Farm
17 - Recycling Beddington Farm, a gypsy nag pay-off, and Prince Charles riding a tram

18 - From peppermint and lavender to a school tragedy and a foam factory fire

19 - Mitcham Common, low-rise housing and the wisdom of neighbourhood wardens

20 - From Pollards Hill to NatWest's playground via Norbury Cross and an Amis sneer

21 - Murder on the Ellison Road, Aleister Crowley's youthful prank and, er, Cow Gum
22 - From Antony and Madge, past Greyhound fare and Streatham waters, to Potter Perrin
23 - The planning appeals of go-karters and church-goers; the Redskins' resurrection
24 - Tesco's takes over (to Streatham's relief); an empire is destroyed by a Doodlebug
25 - St Leonard's - from fires to Feast, and from Spires to a dilapidated churchyard
26 - 'Streets are the living rooms of our nation' - Streatham's street of shame
27 - From Judaism's 'Three Ms' to a place for penitent prostitutes (but not Payne!)
28 - Through Tarver's Telford Park to Toynbee's, not Cubitt's, Clapham Park
29 - The King's Avenue experience - Brixton Prison, Scinde House, the Territorial Army
30 - Lumpy custard, a Baker, a weathercock, an eagle and more of Charlie
31 - Elevators, new rolling stock for the Misery Line, and Clapham North drinkers
32 - From yoga and yams in Chelsham Road to young Major and Yasmin's murder in Larkhall
33 - Stockwell United's success, the Arsenal Co-op, but no Hop Back Summer Lightning
34 - Covent Garden traffic, the Church Commissioners' assets, and Battersea's ugly duckling
35 - Vauxhall Cross for Bondway, Brunswick, the Cold Store Tapes and Spooks Castle

36 - From Vauxhall Bridge to Millbank, via Riverwalk House - but no sign of the Effra
37 - The pockpitted Tate - Millais moves from front to back, and Ophelia gets expensive
38 - From a lost cherub to Horseferry Court shenanigans via a 50 grand car
39 - Plaqueland - a pacifist poet, a very British film maker and a suffragette
40 - Through motherland and churchland, with another Baker's presence all around
41 - A school, an abbey and a church - all associated with illustrious names
42 - From a canteen, past stately statues and institutions to a red tarmac joke
43 - GOGGS, the Cat and Bagpipes, and a 'some kind of writer' terrorist alert
44 - From Roberts and Wolsely to Blair and Cook, via Gladstone, Thatcher and Speer
45 - Couchant lions, mermen, Mandela, Charing Cross and the fourth plinth
46 - El Greco lates, THE Raphael, Titian's ultramarine and a very grey St Martin
47 - Contrapuntal portraits, plus Sir Henry in mufti and the notorious Mrs Ebbsmith
48 - From Godspell to Giddy Ostend by way of a control centre and a £5 scam
49 - A photo show, a horse repository and a Mousetrap but definitely no nude hunks

50 - From collagenics to Angels via Andrew, Alan and a deported thief
51 - Memories of the Saville and Players Theatres and of Flitcroft Architectus
52 - St Giles High Street (past, present and future) and model flats for families
53 - Ragged Trousered Philanthropists and Radisson Edwardian Hotels
54 - British Museum preserves: Hamlyn's Reading Room and Elgin's Marbles
55 - Nereus, Maussollos, Hoa Hakananai'a, Pharmacopoeia and an out-of-reach Tara
56 - From the Ministry of Truth, past Ghandi to a legacy of Theosophy
57 - Another campaigning Mary, a Railway Oscar and a Chartist major
58 - From the Burston Strike to the British Library with a taste of liquorice and dance
59 - Somers Town's slummy past and a construction site-dominated present
60 - St Pancras delights: Shelley's love, Hardy's tree and Soane's Mausoleum
61 - From a health annex to healthy foods via a hassled coroner and a heritage canal
62 - Two estates, too many drugs, a controversial link and an unsolved murder
63 - York Way for a rubber factory, astro-turf, night-time flashers and a meat market

64 - Of Hungerford and Pratt, plus St Mungo's homeless and Holloway's condemned
65 - Tufnell, Truefitt, and Murcell's Theatre (not to mention the Year of the Sex Olympics)
66 - William Miller's story, Ken Livingstone's story, and Dick Whittington's story
67 - From the A1 to Vincent Van Gosh with advice from Dr Stopes and lunch for the Queen
68 - A clean shave, a vicious stabbing, the very best way to de-stress, and a peace garden

69 - Ofsted's little flaw, the growth of an art school and trade union training
70 - Crouch End Hill - changing shops and the immutable King's Head
71 - Hornsey's etymology, plus a town hall, wedding cakes, science books and sausages
72 - Middle Lane to neglected fountains, but nowhere near St Paul's Cross
73 - Nightingale Lane to a school with both Page Three and Socialist connections
74 - Alexandra's Park and Palace - a golden age for cricket and corridors
75 - From handbags to a lake of slime, and a very useful mobile chimney
76 - Bounds Green - a 300 easting coincidence and a bombing incident

77 - Into Enfield for Jag's Trophies, carrom and a Broomfield digression
78 - Pymmes Brook, a baobob oak and dog benches but no carpet beating
79 - A senior living home, the NSPCC, and how to use the stocks on Southgate Green
80 - A friend of poets, a lethal martial art, neuro-rehabilitation and rugby wisdom
81 - Oakwood poplars and putting; flowerbeds and garages in Piccadilly Line suburbia
82 - Enfield Chace (also known as horseland?) - Trent Park, Merryhills, Camlet Moat
83 - From Hadley Well to champagne romance via a tale of George Hall's black mare
84 - Botany Bay, balloonists, monster trucks and an ugly, possibly dangerous, ending