Country Mouse visits the Big City

Country Mouse, Country Mouse from Yorkshire ventures south this week, to The Great Wen, the Smoke – that’s London to you.

We Yorkshire Country Mice like to put it about that we are friendly, neighbourly, affable. That them southerners on the other hand, are not. London folk, we opine, don’t know their neighbours, wouldn’t lend you a cup of sugar, and Keep Themselves to Themselves.

That’s never been my experience of London.

And here’s the proof. I stepped off the train and headed for Coal Drops Yard. You need a bob or two to live or shop in this newly gentrified area.

But anyone at all can and does enjoy the public spaces here: the canal side, the water play in the large open squares, the markets.

Families, tourists, couples, youngsters all amble happily, taking advantage of the open spaces, an impromptu jazz band playing on a barge (aka a second hand bookshop), and children playing in the water fountains.

My photos haven’t really captured street life. I simply can’t see what I’m taking on my phone, and my camera is in Intensive Care (the bill will be expensive: no NHS for photographic equipment). But enjoy strolling round this area, a mere five minutes from Kings Cross and Saint Pancras Stations. You’ll be in friendly company.

Jo’s Monday Walk is on holiday. But I’ll send my stroll along anyway.
Capelas, Sáo Miguel- not quite a Monday walk

London Gasholders

I was in London yesterday, but due to travel back to Yorkshire from King’s Cross when Judith’s blog Beyond the Window Box tumbled into my in-box. She’d been exploring the area round the station, just alongside Regent’s Canal, and found some gasholders…..

As a child, these fascinated me.  Those circular cast iron skeletons, housing storage cylinders which telescoped up and down depending on how much gas they contained were a source of wonder to me.  Though assertively industrial, they were graceful too, rising above the narrow terraced houses and the factories and trades which grew up alongside them. But ‘Gasworks Street’ was nobody’s idea of a smart address.

The King’s Cross gasholders in their workaday world.

How things change.  Gasholders London is a site transformed from its dirty, workaday past into a smart desirable residential quarter.  All but one of the gasholders now contain not gas cylinders, but luxury apartments.  The remaining one has become a small  park with a gleaming reflective canopy with grass beneath.

Nobody seems to want to hide the area’s busy industrial past.  The über-smart shopping quarter, just being developed on the site of the cobbled streets and railway sidings where coal from the North of England was received and sorted is called Coal Drops Yard.

Gasholders London, seen from the Regent’s Canal.

Round here, if you need to know the price, you can’t afford it.  A hundred and fifty years of dramatic social change.

Click on any image for a closer view.