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Books and a Cavalcade

At the weekend I visited the Canal Cavalcade in Little Venice, here are some of my pictures from the event. Perhaps the best highlight for me was obtaining 20 or so books and leaflets, practically blowing my weekly budget on food. No it wasn’t hundreds of pounds – just £15 and that’s how little I have to live on weekly, unlike a lot of others who are very fortunate. #First rule for London Bloggers – one must be rich and have a certain standard of prestige. I’ve clearly failed! Sorry. I’ll get the begging bowl out – maybe I’ll have a better life? No more blogging, just lazy salad days of begging….

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Canal Cavalcade at the Bank holiday weekend

I didn’t want to miss these books, and so didn’t mind too much losing my budget as I have some food that will tide me over the week. Several of these books are in fact quite important to future works I am doing. Nevertheless the canal festival was nice and I got some great photographs too.

Perhaps the best surprise of the lot was I got this 1966 London bus map for free. It wasn’t supposed to be a part of the booksale and must have slipped in (maybe fell out of the pages of one of the books!) The guy very kindly said I could have it. I’m no Geoff M. with hundreds of London Transport maps to my credit but I do have a few old ones (both bus and tube maps) in boxes yet its ages since I gained one of these historic pieces of London Transport’s past.

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1966 LT bus map

Going off the point but nevertheless still discussing bus maps, its often said the printed bus maps are no longer available. Indeed they are no longer being printed however I’ve found several tube stations that still have stocks of these last bus maps. Over time the bus network has grown and the bus maps have got bigger and bigger, so for example this 1966 map shows many places out in the countryside served by LT red buses (Ongar, Ripley, Green Street Green, Farningham, Walton on the Hill etc) yet over the years we have gained four large sized bus maps covering each corner of London but red bus services not going quite so far out – with the exception of major towns such as Slough and St. Albans. A Central area map was too produced. The old ones are much nicer and one can of course consult them to settle doubts where bus routes actually ran in those far off days.

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There were quite a few leaflets or small booklets (they were quite cheap, and some thrown in free.) The subjects range from the River Lee and River Wandle to guides around Rotherhithe. None of these are new but were printed a good number of years back neverthless have a lot of interesting historic content and photographs of times past. The favourite ones from these happen to be the pair of small booklets, one a detailed work on the travelators built for the Waterloo and City Line in 1963.

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The other a work covering one of London’s lesser known curiosities, the Roman Baths. Before we go any further, yes I am aware they are not Roman baths, its actually a 16th Century cistern. People did once claim these were Roman baths and the very notion drew many people curious to see this alleged artifact from Roman London. The idea of them being called as such has endured even though its incorrect. Getting to see this old water pool is not so easy these days – bookings have to be made a week in advance and apart from such requests to the City of Westminster the best one can hope for is a glimpse of the said installation through a window.

The Trav-O-Lators (travelator) book is another source of wonder. One thing I learnt from this is the ‘The Drain’ (the name by which the Waterloo & City Line is generally known) actually refers to the older steep walkway down from Bank to the platforms, not the line itself. Rather like a sump leading down from the streets at Bank into the depths of London! At least now I know ‘The Drain’ refers to something else and many have been getting it wrong for quite a few years….. I suppose the numerous problems with water in the tunnels soon saw railway staff transpose the name to refer to the line itself rather than the actual foot tunnel itself.

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The detail in the book is fantastic and it describes every aspect of the travelators. The tunnel in which they are built is much larger than can be imagined. The entire travelators are built upon what can be described as a sort of bridge (or perhaps more correctly a trestle) except this extends the entire length down the new tunnel built for these.

Its a surprise to see how far down Queen Victoria Street the Waterloo & City line station actually is! Much further down than I ever thought. The other thing which I was not aware of, is the machinery and electrics extend eastwards in a huge space underneath the various subways at Bank station. This space is much larger than that usually afforded for escalators and was necessary at the time because the travelator’s infrastructure required far more space than would be the case now. The ‘bridge’ was also part of this – to give even more space beneath the actual travelators for the machinery that would be needed. This You Tube video shows the building of the then new fangled moving walkways.

The travelator booklet is a perfect companion to others I have on the Waterloo & City Line including Nigel Pennick’s’ excellent book published in 1984.

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The books on Somers Town and Shoreditch are excellent. The former (published in 1985) I love because it describes the areas my aunt lived in and the actual flats she lived in and their history. It covers a lot of stuff around Euston/St Pancras too – important because both stations have important anniversaries this year.

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The South Shoreditch book because its an area I once lived and worked in and it gives lots of detail on the various buildings, including Oakdens where I once worked. I’ve never seen a picture of Oakden’s on the Internet (I don’t have one either though did take some, probably got lost.) This book has one so that picture will be useful for the post about this (and also the site of Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre) that I have partially written so far.

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The other book once again covers Shoreditch but is more of a local directory. It lists many of the industries that the area was once famous for (furniture/cabinet making, cobblers, ironmongery) and quite a number of these business have adverts in the book. There are also excellent photographs of many places around Shoreditch ranging from the new council estates that had just been built (some very familiar ones still around today) and many long gone street scenes including a nice view of the old Britannia Theatre in Hoxton.

That’s the books/leaflets in a nutshell – time for a few of the photos I took at Little Venice. Enjoy!

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Hillingdon Narrowboats guy dressed in old canal style clothes

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One of Paddington’s most famous residents trying to walk off without paying for goods lol!

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I love this picture! Swan in the Little Venice pool, late afternoon

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The best candid photo I managed at the Cavalcade 🙂

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