Wednesday, 29 June 2011

It's a London Thing No.37: Acts of Kindness – An Art on the Underground Project

It’s a London Thing is our Wednesday series in which we turn the spotlight on a unique aspect of London – perhaps a curious shop, sometimes an eccentric restaurant, a hidden place, book or oddity. The subject matter will be different every week. The running theme, however, will remain constant: you have to come to London to enjoy it. It’s A London Thing.



Art is all around us on the London Underground. From Harry Beck’s tube map to the varied “tartans” of the upholstery on the seats of the trains. It’s art that we take for granted.

That’s where people at Art on the Underground come in. Their remit is to bring art leaping to our attention as we travel from A to B on our Underground network.




Their current project is called Acts of Kindness and they’re looking for Londoners – and visitors, of course – who travel on the Central Line to join in with artist Michael Landy to create a picture of a somewhat neglected side of London life.

From 18 June Acts of Kindness invites users of the Underground, as well as Central line staff, to share stories of kindness that they have witnessed or been part of while travelling by Tube or on duty.

Passengers should look out for posters across the Tube network or go to tfl.gov.uk/art to submit their stories.

We reported our own London Underground act of kindness – in that case at East Finchley on the Northern Line – a few weeks ago in this slot. You can read the story again HERE.

Art on the Underground. It’s a London Thing.



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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Plaque of the Week No.96

You've seen them all over the city: discs, tablets, cameos and plaques commemorating the great and the good of London Town. Every Tuesday we track down a London plaque (Blue or otherwise) and put it centre stage on the London Walks Blog. This week…



The jet set nature of James Bond’s remit means that those looking for London settings in the novels of Ian Fleming must make do with fleeting glimpses of St James’s (his club), Regent’s Park (his “office”) and King’s Road (his apartment) before he sets off for adventures in climes exotic. The exception is Moonraker (1955) the third Bond novel, set entirely in England.

In pursuit of Hugo Drax, a megalomaniac would-be dictator, arms manufacturer and (worst of all in M’s book) card cheat, Bond gambles, drinks and drops Benzedrine in St James’s, meets with Assistant Commissioner Vallance at Scotland Yard and prangs his vintage Bentley in the prosaic surroundings of the capital's South Circular ring road. He later road tests his new motor, a four-and-a-half litre 1953 Bentley Mark VI on Birdcage Walk SW1. The behind-the-scenes tour of Pall Mall’s club holds an enduring fascination. There’s even a scene in Ebury Street – where Ian Fleming’s Blue Plaque can be found.

Drax remains one of Fleming’s best villains; Bond is at his most bullet-proof, bouncing back from the events of the previous assignment (Live and Let Die); and the glimpses behind the mask of M bring one of popular fiction’s most enigmatic supporting characters leaping from the page.



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Monday, 27 June 2011

In and Around London... Painted London

The Monday Photoblog!



Monday is mute on The Daily Constitutional (well, almost mute) – because Monday is the day when we post five images captured in and around London by London Walks Guides and London Walkers.

Collated on a theme or an area, if you've got some great shots of our capital and want to join in send your pictures to the usual address.

Some painted corners of London town…


A wise old London saw


This is STILL our favourite London sign


The Boogaloo bar at Highgate


In the footsteps of Jack the Ripper


The Fox out at old Hanwell Village, West London



A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.









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Saturday, 25 June 2011

Old Compton Street – The Saturday Street


The Saturday Street is our NEW weekly series in which we unlock the stories behind the names of London's famous thoroughfares. It's compiled by London Walks guide Karen – listed by Travel + Leisure magazine as The World's Greatest Tour Guide. You can find Karen on Saturdays guiding her Old Westminster and British Museum walks. If you've got a London street query or suggestion, email Karen at the usual address


Old Compton Street W1

Location: the City of Westminster

Old Compton Street was named after Henry Compton who raised money to build a local parish church – the church that stands today as St Anne’s Church, which was consecrated in 1686.


See Old Compton Street on the Soho Pub Walk every Sunday night.


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Friday, 24 June 2011

The Friday Postcard From London – 24th June 1907


Dear Mr & Mrs Walker,

Charing Cross doesn’t seem to be any more restful 104 years ago!


Wish you were here

D.C




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