Everybody has their own London

Well, as I was saying, no two people inhabit the same London. Accordingly, I love this giant Ulysses-style map of the city. You can read it as an internal monologue conducted as the artist walks through the city, with each place’s particular cartography made up of public, private, apocryphal and secondhand information and associations.

I came across it last week, on the British Library’s site about maps. It’s by the artist Stephen Walter. (Click to enlarge and the amount of infinitesimal detail, combined with the familiar outline, really show you how vast, huge, infinite London is. We were talking about this the other day, how you can never get to the end of it. You just go down and down and down into it – each doorway, every old wall, every staircase down to a vanished waterway, every house where you once went to a party in 1983 or where Johnson made a particularly caustic quip to an unhappy pretender…)

Anyway, I made screen grabs of these two bits – N16, where I live, and SE4, which used to house the Baroque Annexe and of which I grew fond…  Note below what the artist says about Ladywell and Honor Oak! I asked the artist, and he tells me he has never actually seen a ghost there, “but there is just something uncanny about the place.” Uncanny is right. Back in the 80s your correspondent here did in fact have a rather unsettling experience in the middle of the night in SE4. In Pendrell Road. It is documented in this fascinating book.

I strongly advise you to go find your own neighbourhood.* You’ll be reading it almost like autohistography, or a novelogue.

(You can even buy a print)

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