1LondonBlog – The first five years

This month is the 5th anniversary of the beginnings of 1LondonBlog!

The blog originally began as part of several tasks required on the course I was doing at the City of Westminster College. That essay was to set up a (student) blog… I never planned to keep it going, in fact all the other blogs by other students that were done as part of this task have gone silent since receiving their marks.

The task was handed out to us students on 2nd May 2012.

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The brief from  City of Westminster College from May 2012.

The first posts on what would eventually be 1LondonBlog were published five years ago this month under existentialcamera.tumblr.com (and which still continues to this day.) In many ways this post is also the fifth anniversary of Existential Camera. The title came about because of my penchant for existentialism. The very first post written is here, whilst the next is The Post Office in pictures/Lumen building which was the first proper post.

The blog was soon split up and the written stuff became known as London Aspie at wordpress.com, whilst the photographs remained on the other – which is what I wanted – one for photos and the other for written stuff.

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The London Aspie blog on wordpress.com

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One of the rare times LA has been on the 1st page of Google search

I had to learn self-hosting wordpress the hard way when I tried to move from wordpress.com to self-hosting wordpress in October 2015. The transfer process hadn’t moved the images to the new site. The site at WordPress.com was deleted, and slowly the images on the new site vanished – leaving the new London Aspie site with barely any images! That’s me as beginner finding out the delicate intricacies of moving wordpress blogs around!

The next couple of months were spent trying to restore all the pages’ images – quite a bit of work. No new posts were written for a while. It re-started with Euston Square – where? in November 2015.

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Euston Square – Where? Published 6 November 2015

The embarrassment at losing most of the images prompted a rethink on the use of London Aspie as both title and domain. A couple of others,which I didnt like, were tried before 1LondonBlog came up at the beginning of December 2015.

Now 1LondonBlog was a mistake so to say – it was auto-generated for me during a search for a new domain name which I demed must include ‘London’ and ‘blog.’ I’ve discussed the origins of 1LondonBlog in depth on the about page.

The very first posts under the 1LondonBlog name were Hampstead Ponds vs the Paddington Arm and Central London’s unique power stations. After a few sticky, difficult months, things were flowing once again.

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Central London’s Unique Power Stations – one of the first published as 1LondonBlog.

1LondonBlog’s not particularly focused on one genre or so it seems. Well that’s not true! Its focus is London! Its not a personal history quest like A London Inheritance or dedicated such as London Historians nor is it Ian Visits or Londonist. I would think those with similarities are possibly The Great Wen or Another Nickel in the Machine but again there are differences.

Some topics are meticulously researched and take time to publish – More Pneumatic Subway Proposals in London is one.

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The first of the Leicester Square articles which eventually became a sextet.

The mini-series are a delightful task although its difficult to know what exactly they should cover, as the subject itself changes and research discovers new facts. For the Leicester Square series I seriously considered reducing it to just two parts and making a cursory mention of the fact it was quicker to walk from there to Covent Garden. The third part did get published, whilst the posts covering the tube and walking times to Covent Garden got written as three extra posts. That’s six total!

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The Shed, I suppose, was a sort of grand slam attempt to create something conceptual, fantastic – a radical departure – the not your usual kind of blog post. New concepts are difficult and that turned out more like a ‘Tales from Topographic Oceans’ thingy – pretentious, even banal. It might have worked with a different approach. TBH I didn’t really like The Shed despite my initial enthusiasm. I sat on it for almost half a year, just wanting to scrap it. Eventually I concluded ‘just publish the damn thing!’ Probably a monumental error but there we are, its done!

I’ve been digging through photographs taken of London a good while back, showing how things were say ten, twenty, thirty years ago. So far subjects based on my old photos include the Central Line – Beyond Caxton Road, Ongar, the Old railway tunnel and Coal Drops at King’s Cross and there’s more.

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Scenes like this are no longer extant as detailed in Central Line – beyond Caxton Road.

Future posts? Well there are loads. The City Spires & Towers series will continue, hopefully covering most if not all of the City of London. Other mini-series are also in the pipeline which cover fresh ground and divulge new facts about London’s history. There’ll be further topics based on locations outside the UK, as has already been done with Austria (Sound of Music), France (Meudon & Michelin) and the United States (Beach Pneumatic Subway). The Sound of Music feature came about cos everything possible had been written on that famous film – except its final scenes! That took some research as detail on the subject was very sketchy. The other regular stuff such as bands, and photography will continue of course.

Below: Part of the Kings Cross station festivals post from 2013 – as originally seen on London Aspie.

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