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.
Dr James Cheshire is a geographer with a passion for mapping data. His award-winning maps draw from his research as a Senior Lecturer at University College London. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and co-author of the books London: The Information Capital and Where the Animals Go.
What’s your secret London tip?
Stay above ground! Walk, cycle, take a cab just keep off the Tube in central London. There’s so much to see, the extra time won’t be wasted and you’ll be surprised how close some places are.
What’s your secret London place?
UCL’s Grant Museum is bizarre and informative in equal measure. Famed for its jar of moles and one of only seven Quagga (a type of extinct zebra) skeletons this museum just round the corner from my office
What’s your biggest gripe about London?
Engineering works clogging up transport. I appreciate these are completely necessary but it doesn’t make them less annoying!
What’s your favourite building?
There’s too many choose from. I am fortunate enough to have an office that looks out over UCL’s Portico Building with its grand dome and pillars. St Pancras station is the best place to arrive in London and I never get bored looking at the many animals adorning the front of the Natural History Museum.
What’s your most hated building?
Euston Station. I can’t think of a single thing I like about it!
What’s the best view in London?
The views either direction from Waterloo Bridge are hard to beat. Also, the views from the tops of Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath are well worth the walk.
What’s your personal London landmark?
What’s London’s best film, book or documentary?
London has been the subject of many great books. Peter Ackroyd’s biography of the city is probably the best out there for its history. I’m always amazed at the amount of information in The London Encyclopaedia.
What’s your favourite bar, pub or restaurant?
Walthamstow has a couple of great places – Sodo’s pizzas are the best in London and Eat 17 is home to bacon jam and amazing chicken burgers.
How would you spend your ideal day off in London?
A long walk through areas I hadn’t been to before or aren’t that familiar with. When I first lived in London my knowledge of the city felt like a series of small islands with gaps that could only be bridged by the Tube. Over time these islands have grown and merged in my mind, a process is most rewarding when done on foot.