We challenge our contributor to reply to ten devilishly probing questions about their London and we don’t take “Sorry Gov” for an answer. Everyone sitting in the hot seat will face the same questions that range from their favourite way to spend a day out in the capital to their most hated building on London’s skyline to find out just what Londoners really think about their city. The questions might be the same but the answers vary wildly.
Born in London – in Forest Hill – and still living in the same Post Code, I was educated at a secondary school a short distance from Tower Bridge. I think a love of London was inevitable. I have spent my life lecturing on the history of London and conducting walks around the whole of Inner London and the City of London.
What’s your secret London tip?
If you want to get to know London you need to explore it on foot.
What’s your secret London place?
One of my secret London places is walking beside the Thames, particularly in Bermondsey and Rotherhithe.
What’s your biggest gripe about London?
London has a fantastic transport system that goes wrong too often, probably due to lack of proper maintenance.
What’s your favourite building?
St Paul’s Cathedral is my favourite building.
What’s your most hated building?
Many of the modern buildings are just so insensitive in their design and in their position relative to other buildings. The most hated at the moment is the recent ’20 Fenchurch Street’, nicknamed the ‘Walkie Talkie’ by Rafael Viñoly. It is just hideous and on a site that ruins the views of the Tower Bridge from the east.
What’s the best view in London?
Having several hills, London has several long distance views. Living in Forest Hill, the views towards the City from the little park called One Tree Hill is really great.
What’s your personal London landmark?
One building that is a personal landmark is the old St Olave’s School, in Tooley Street. It was recently renovated and opened as a hotel. It was there as a teenager I discovered what a fantastic place London really is.
What’s London’s best film, book or documentary?
One of the best books on London is the London Encyclopedia by Ben Weinreb, now in its third edition.
What’s your favourite bar, pub or restaurant?
Of the many in London, the Angel Inn, Rotherhithe, because of the amazing sunsets over the Thames.
How would you spend your ideal day off in London?
Being retired, I no longer take days off from work. If I did, I would choose to continue exploring the City of London because there is always something new to see – an old building I had not see before or a new development that has changed a street or lane.