Sunday, 9 August 2020

Brompton in the square mile

Very early this morning with a little bit of time on my hands I decided to cycle from SW7 to some of the building in the square mile.

It was a warm morning with at times a gentle breeze and the rest of the time non-existent. There seemed to be very few people out and about but a strange feature of this early morning ride was the high number of other Brompton bicycles I saw on my way there and back.

My first stop was 30, St Mary Axe or by its common name the Gherkin. I have always liked this building and with new developments it is slowly disappearing from the skyline.

If you have more money that sense you can head up to one of the restaurants on the upper floors. You can even be labelled the village idiot if you choose to actually become a member for I think £1000ish a year where you can eat your food in a private area.

The Cheesegrater, 122 Leadenhall Street was opened in 2014 and is 225 metres in height. Somewhere I have a photo or two of this building being built that I took from the nearby Tower 42. I will have to dig them out at some point. (Saying that they are quite possibly somewhere in the past posts of this very blog).

The Lloyd's building - like the Cheesegrater - was designed by architects Richard Rogers and Partners. Even though it is 34 years old, this building to me at least still looks unique and in many ways fresh.

In all I cycled just under 20 miles and in many ways reminded me of my first few posts on this very blog almost 10 years ago in which I visited much of the same area, for the same reasons.

Stay safe out there people!!

Saturday, 8 August 2020

1st 100 mile service at the brilliant 'Brilliant Bikes.'

My Orange Titanium Brompton is only just over one week old and yet in the first weekend of ownership I had clocked up over 100 miles. By the end of the week I knew that I would be adding to this total so I arranged to have my Brompton looked over at the always brilliant, 'Brilliant Bikes.'

I had arranged with the gentleman that is Mike to drop the bike off at 10ish and collect a few hours later. I was pretty certain that the bike would require very little done to it as I had chocked things over to make sure all was good for my overnight London to Brighton last Friday into Saturday.

With a few hours to spare we headed to Windsor, had a walk and a bite to eat before heading back to collect my bike. As I suspected there were no issues.

Mike was saying - like I suspect all Brompton stockists - that they were all out of Brompton bikes and the five new black editions had been preordered and were already gone!

Many thanks to Mike for slotting in to what must be very busy times.

Keep safe out there people!!

Friday, 7 August 2020

Jack the Ripper tour Brompton style

If you live in London normally around the time of Halloween, for a few pounds you can join one of the many walking tours that focus on ghostly goings on in London. Jack the Ripper tours are macabrely popular. Early Friday evening I went on a Brompton tour of some of the crime scenes on and around the Whitechapel area.

Jack the Ripper was an unidentified serial killer who caused a devastating trail in the Whitechapel area of London in 1888. He was never caught and despite lots of possible suspects, never identified. In fact their indentiy  will almost certainly remain a mystery. 

The crimes committed were shocking in 1888 but they would be viewed with the same level of disgust and disbelief today in 2020, anywhere in the world. 

Meeting at Aldgate our ride leader Yoni provided the route and the all important information about the gruesome goings on. Also on the ride was Matt, Sam, Raja and Mike.

It was a warm lovely evening which made riding very pleasant. I have to confess that I wished the ride had of been after dark as it would have added to the atmosphere and meant that the surrounding roads would have been less busy. 

The first stop was where the body of Mary Anne Nichols was found at 03:40 on Friday, 31st August 1888 in Buck's Row which has of course long since gone. It is now Durward Street. 

A week later on Saturday, 8th September 1888 the body of Annie Chapman was discovered at approximately 06:00 near the steps to the doorway of the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street.

It wasn't long after visiting the second murder site that the puncture phantom visited Yoni's rears wheel !!

Sam proved to be an expert at wheel removal and gave Yoni all the assistance he needed so that we were all wheels rolling in about 10 minutes.

Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes were both killed in the early hours of Sunday 30 September 1888. Stride's body was discovered at approximately 01:00 in Dutfield's Yar, off Berner Street which is now Henriques Street. Eddowe's body was found in Mitre Square 45 minutes later

The body of Mary Jane Kelly, badly mutilated, was discovered lying on her bed in the single room where she lived at 13 Miller's Court. Again this is long gone and the rough area of where it would have been can be seen below.

On the way to the last location we stopped at the Cable Street Mural which was painted to commemorate the Battle of Cable Street in 1936.

The final stop was at the Ten Bells pub which is said to have an association with two fo the victims - Annie Chapman and Mary Janes Kelly. It is alleged that both used the pub.

With the last location visited we said our goodbyes. Many thanks to Yoni for the route and the interesting commentary about the Ripper murders and also the history of London's East End.

Stay safe out there people!!