Churchill’s Spare Secret Bunker

When you’re facing World War II it’s wise to have a secret bunker to retreat to in times of National Emergency. But what if that got bombed or discovered? Better have a spare just in case… Winston Churchill’s spare secret bunker was Paddock Wood, in a part of Dollis Hill in North London so obscure…

Growing Underground

Back in the 1930s they had foresight. London’s population was expanding and capacity was severely limited by surface area for the future. The city’s great and good planned for the future. They just didn’t know which future. The boffins had a great idea. Why not build an express line, a sort of ‘cross-rail’ affair, parallel…

The Last Sewer Gas Destructor Lamp in London

Nip down Carting Lane, dodging the white delivery vans that litter the place day and night, and experience London’s last remaining patent Sewer Gas Destructor Lamp. Once these streetlights, made by J. Webb of Birmingham, had the dual function of lighting Britain’s highways and controlling potentially lethal levels of methane in the sewers below. Hardly any survive…

Mail Rail

Who wouldn’t want to ride on a secret underground railway? Over the years I’ve spent some energy trying to get underneath the giant Post Office at Mount Pleasant to see the fabled ‘Mail Rail’; next year anyone will be able to take a ride on it in return for money. The London Post Office Railway was operational…

The Flying Coffin of Pinner

My accountant works from a delightful Georgian townhouse in Pinner, to the north west of central London. I’ve been going there for my annual ticking-off for years but this time I passed by the tidy, half-timbered, Georgian and Regency High Street, the cute village green and the ancient pub, on a Quest. The story goes…