Saturday, 27 September 2014

London Pub and Literary Walk: November 29th


Radical Stroud Comes To Town: London Pub and Literary Walk

We are not sure when we shall make this trip (WE DO NOW: NOV 29th), but I thought I might post it for others to enjoy, recce and navigate. The walk takes in pubs with noteworthy interiors as well as two or three short literary pilgrimages.  If half-pints of beer were to be slowly consumed at the pubs on our trail, together with soft drinks too, then memory should be active and, inebriation, as well as bladder, controlled. We recommend an early train: all these precautions should avoid any spoonerism on the return journey. No town drain for our party. Alternatively, if you don’t trust yourself, take two days over this public house peregrination.

1.  Assuming you arrive from the West Country and into Paddington, then let’s take the Bakerloo Line to Oxford Circus and a trip to the Argyll Arms, Argyll Street (by Oxford Circus tube):
‘The interior dates from 1895 and has been described as ‘one of the most magnificently decorated pub interiors in England’; it has unusual small cubicles in the front bar, with cut glass screens, decorative mirrors and elaborate mahogany. The Luftwaffe as well as Modernity managed to miss this example of fin de si├Ęcle social stratification.’

2. Next up: the Tottenham in Fitzrovia, 6 Oxford Street. It’s going to be busy but early doors might allow us to enjoy the Victoriana in this grade 2 listed building.

3. We then walk past old haunts around UCL to get to 7 Roger Street and the Duke of York. ‘A grade 2 listed art deco treasure.’

4. It’s now time for a pub break and a bit of culture and so we then walk to 48 Doughty Street and Charles Dickens’ house and museum.

 5. After that, we toddle off to High Holborn to sample the delights of the         Cittie of Yorke (1920s) (number 22) and the Victorian Princess Louise (208-9).

6. Next, a visit to Clerkenwell Green for both a literary and historical pilgrimage. It is here where the Artful Dodger and Fagin led Oliver Twist into pickpocketing; it is here where radical Lollardy thrived: ‘When Adam delved and Eve span, Who was then he gentleman?’ It is here where Chartism was nurtured in the 19th century and it is here where Marxism was also fostered: we’ll look at 37a Clerkenwell Green, the Marx Memorial Library, as well as the Crown Tavern at number 43 (where legend has it that Lenin and Stalin had a chinwag in 1905).

 7. We’ll also make a trip to Spa Fields behind Exmouth Market in Clerkenwell. This was the site of the radical meeting for extension of the vote in 1816, when Henry Hunt spoke in favour of a peaceful widening of the franchise. Revolutionary followers of Thomas Spence marched on to the Tower, robbing a gunsmith’s en route. The Spenceans were a revolutionary group dedicated to equality, but were infiltrated by agents provocateurs. Executions occurred after the Cato Street Conspiracy (meeting place near the Edgeware Road) of 1820, when the group planned to assassinate the Cabinet.
8. Now it’s time to go to Fleet Street and the Old Cheshire Cheese at 145. Rebuilt after the Great Fire and no natural lighting inside today; lots of gloomy rooms; lots of 19th century paneling; cellars possibly 13th century (site of a Carmelite Monastery); regulars have included Goldsmith, Twain, Tennyson, Conan Doyle, Chesterton, Dickens (a scene from A Tale of Two Cities also set here) and possibly Johnson.
 9. Talking of which, it’s now time to visit Dr. Johnson’s house just over the way in 17 Gough Square, off Fleet Street. Then off to:
10.  Blackfriars Pub, 174 Queen Victoria Street; Art Nouveau pub; saved from demolition in the 1960s with support from John Betjeman.
 11.  Then a walk to the Old Mitre Tavern, Ely Court, Ely Place, Hatton Garden, Holborn Circus: There's a sense of discovery when you find the Old Mitre Tavern. It's hidden down an alleyway between 8 and 9 Hatton Garden, marked by an old crooked street lamp and a small sign in the shape of a bishop's mitre, the arched alleyway entrance has a sign above stating "Ye Olde Mitre 1546". Despite these clues many who work in the area don't know it exists. This tiny pub is a real hidden gem. ‘
12. Now to Bunhill Fields Cemetery, City Road EC1:
‘This old burial ground, shaded by mature plane trees, is situated on the edge of the City.  Bunhill Fields was first set aside as a cemetery during the Great Plague of 1665.  The ground was never apparently consecrated and twenty years later it became a popular burial ground for Nonconformists, who were banned from being buried in churchyards because of their refusal to use the Church of England prayer book.  Bunhill Fields was soon known as ' the cemetery of Puritan England'.  Although much is now cordoned off, it is still possible to walk through and find monuments to John Bunyan, Daniel Defoe and William Blake, as well as to members of the Cromwell family.  John Milton lived in Bunhill Row, on the west side of the cemetery, from 1662 until his death in 1674.  Some of Milton's greatest works were written here, including  'Paradise Lost'.  Across the road from Bunhill Fields is the Methodist Museum and John Wesley's House. ‘

 13. And so to the Salisbury, 90 St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden:
The building went up in 1892, a restaurant by the name of the ‘Salisbury Stores’ (see the double ‘S’ in the windows); it was converted into a pub in 1898, hence the massive mirrors, eye catching fitments and art nouveau ambience.

14. Now on to the Hand and Shears, Cloth Fair, 1 Middle Street, EC1:
‘This delightful little pub is a good example of an early nineteenth century alehouse. Its plain and simple interior has matchboarded walls and an oak floor. Although small, it is divided into four bar areas, each served from the central bar island. One snug is so small, it can hold only about eight customers.
A 12th century alehouse stood here, in the precincts of St. Bartholomew's Priory. In August 1133, the first cloth fair was held at Smith Field nearby. Tailors and drapers came from all-over the country to ply their trade. By Tudor times the Cloth Fair had taken on an official role for Merchant Tailors, whose officers would check cloth with a yard stick. Offenders caught giving short measure, were brought to the alehouse and their case heard in a court upstairs. The guilty were put in stocks or whipped.

Eventually the alehouse was officially adopted by the Merchant Tailors of London and was allowed to display the guilds sign, the 'hand and shears'. The Lord Mayor opened the fair from the steps of the pub. The last one was held in 1855. Poet John Betjeman who lived nearby was a regular.’

15. Next stop: Viaduct Tavern, 126 Newgate Street – ‘This impressive corner pub faces its famous namesake, Holborn Viaduct. Queen Victoria opened it in 1869, the Viaduct not the pub, although they were both opened in the same year. Holborn Viaduct was the world's first flyover, connecting Holborn with Newgate Street, avoiding a deep dip in the road caused by the River Fleet. Although this striking Victorian pub has a large curved frontage, the interior is surprisingly small. Many of the original features have survived. On one wall, three paintings of wistful maidens represent agriculture, banking and the arts. The 'arts' was attacked (some say shot, others bayoneted) by a drunken First World War soldier, and she still bears the scar.’

16. Now to the Dog and Duck, Bateman Street, Soho:
‘Many famous historical figures have enjoyed the hospitality of The Dog and Duck, including John Constable, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and George Orwell. The pub was originally built in 1734 on the site of the Duke of Monmouth's home. The present building was built in 1897, and is considered to have one of London's most exquisite interiors of the period, characterised by thousands of highly glazed tiles.’

17. Next up: The Red Lion, St James’s:
‘One of London's most magnificent pubs, a real must on any visitor's list. From the outside it looks pleasant enough, plain brick with some ornate ironwork, typical of many in town; inside there's a wonderful and surprising contrast.
Dazzling 'brilliant-cut' mirrors cover the walls, their intricate patterns sparkle as they catch the light, giving the impression of a much bigger space. This pub is really quite small and it seems remarkable it was once divided into several smaller bars. The island counter made from rich polished mahogany adds to the glare. Glass and mirrors were very fashionable in the late 1800's and as the technology improved, the designs became more ornate and intricate. To modern tastes it may seem almost too garish.
Built in 1821 on the site of a previous pub, the Red Lion was redesigned in the 1870's. It is often described as a 'gin palace' but was refitted long after the 'mother's ruin' gin era. This pub was designed to impress and create an aura of opulent respectability. It served the staff of the surrounding grand houses and, in its own way, provided some of the sumptuous 'above stairs' living for those 'below stairs'.’

Addendum:
The below could be a bolt-on or it could be part of a separate journey; it involves London’s lost rivers, together with Highgate , Kentish Town and Hampstead.

Nicholas Barton’s ‘The Lost Rivers of London’ is, of course, a watery mine of information: the River Fleet rises in Highgate and Hampstead and those sources fuse at Camden Town (old prints show it flowing between what is now Camden Tube station and The Mother Red Cap pub – but then, the tube station was the site of St. Pancras Workhouse). The river now winds its way below Kentish Town Road, St. Pancras, under the Regent’s Canal, King’s Cross, then west of King’s Cross, under Farringdon Road, Holborn Viaduct (Holborn = Hole-bourne = stream in the hollow) and so to the Thames.

The River Tyburn has two sources in Hampstead and Belsize Park. It flows down through Swiss Cottage to Regent’s Park, across the Regent’s Canal by aqueduct, with its old eastern bank denoted by the winding line of Marylebone Lane (St. Mary by the bourne); then along Baker Street to Piccadilly (Tyburn Road is now Oxford Street); then east of Grosvenor and Berkeley Squares, below Lansdowne Passage, under Piccadilly, down Green Park towards Buckingham Palace and so to the Thames (btw, the Tyburn Tree gallows were near what is now Marble Arch and Tyburn Lane is now Park Lane).

We can pick up some of this on our pub walk but we may also want to visit Karl Marx’s grave in Highgate Cemetery (close by social-Darwinist Herbert Spencer’s grave: Marx and Spencer) and have a walk around Kentish Town and Hampstead to see John Keats’ house and that nightingale tree.
This might necessitate a visit to the wonderful Holly Bush in Hampstead.
Finally, when we are out east, we have to think about the River Walbrook, flowing into the City (have a look for Bloomfield Street and Curtain Road) and when we return to Paddington, we have to reflect on the River Westbourne and the prevalence (eleven) of street names in the Paddington area denoting that lost river, whilst there is also a Bourne Street in Chelsea, near the river’s destiny at the Thames.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The Long Shadow: The Great War and the Twentieth Century by David Reynolds


The Long Shadow: The Great War and the Twentieth Century by David Reynolds

This is a Govian whizz bang of a book and a rattling good read, even if you don’t agree with his two main propositions that:

1.     The UK was not so affected by the Great War as the other major European powers.
2.     The 1960s and the canonization of ‘The War Poets’ et al has resulted in a distorted understanding of that war.

One sentence from the book to epitomize the argument: ‘Yet the British view of the conflict has remained mired in the mud and stalled on the Somme.’

The first two thirds of the book take us on a narrative to exemplify the above propositions, running from the First World War, through the 20s and 30s and so through the Second World War and the early Cold War. It’s more than absorbing, but I became particularly interested when Reynolds moved into a discussion on ‘cultural memory’ and memory theory.
He starts by looking at the proposition that individual memory is seldom the product of solitary reflection, but is rather more often socially constructed (through conversation and so on).  He then moves on to Assmann’s view that when we look at social remembrance, we should distinguish between the everyday, conversational mode, and ‘cultural remembrance’, which is, as Reynolds describes, ‘conveyed through writings, monuments and cultural artefacts’.
Reynolds starts his next paragraph with this stark question: ‘Why does this memory theory matter?’ Because, he says, the 1960s saw the demise of the Great War generation who could talk about their memories, and the rise of ‘cultural remembrance, not just in print but, more influentially, through the newer media of film and television’. And, of course, this memorialization ‘was not simply an act of ‘memory’, of capturing the past before it was lost for ever’; but ‘an act of social construction shaped by the circumstances, perceptions and politics of the present’.
Reynolds suggests that initial guilt should be ascribed to Alan Clark’s 1961’The Donkeys’; he further suggests that Clark reinvented the phrase ‘lions led by donkeys’, so that ‘thanks to him and despite the efforts of later military historians, the tag…has become the accepted shorthand for the story of the British army in the Great War.’
David Reynolds then looks at the impact of Joan Littlewood’s 1963 production and the 1969 film: ‘To some all this was propaganda masquerading as history…(for others) It was entertainment and nostalgia’. Reynolds says that the film, with its ‘sustained satire of the military elite…far more didactic than the play, preached a clear anti-war message’. He then finishes with the powerful assertion that ‘Above all’, the film left young generations with both an explicit and ‘subliminal’ sense that the conflict involved a narrative of ‘meandering pointlessness, teetering between tragedy and farce.’
He thinks that this absence of explanation and ‘meaningful narrative’ was also hardwired into cultural memory by AJP Taylor’s ‘The First World War: An Illustrated History’, which was published in 1963 and which viewed the conflict as one, long, blundering futility, from causation to termination. The book sold widely and was then followed by ‘The Great War’ on BBC television (1964-5). This 50th anniversary series gained 8 million viewers and although the scriptwriters’ intentions were to show that the war’s terrible ‘cost had a purpose, millions of viewers came away with a sense of futility and waste’.
This zeitgeist was further strengthened, in Reynold’s view, by the 1960s canonization of the War Poets.  Anthologies appearing around the 50th anniversary, together with the embedding of the war poets in school syllabuses, all meant, for Reynolds, an undue emphasis upon the horror of the conflict. It became a ‘poets’ war’, even though, Reynolds asserts, the likes of Sassoon and Owen et al were atypical: but, ‘they became for many people the true chroniclers of Great War history’. Larkin’s ‘MCMXIV’ only added to this sense of regret at the death of an innocent generation and to the condemnation of the strategy of attrition in general, and the Somme in particular.
It is apposite to note that historians such as Gary Sheffield, who have argued that he First World War was a necessary war and that the strategy at the Somme was ultimately vindicated by victory, have been typecast as ‘revisionist’ – but even so, it would seem that their contributions have failed to stop the conflict being typecast as a literary rather than military war. Pat Barker’s trilogy and Sebastian Faulks’ ‘Birdsong’ ‘drew on 1990s British patterns of remembrance – the axiomatic futility of the Great War, the cruciform centrality of the Somme and the dominant voice of poets such as Thomas and Owen’.
The revival of Remembrance Day, the death of Harry Patch (the last veteran), the ubiquity of family history research and the laureate poems of Carol Ann Duffy have all helped this new pattern of remembrance continue into the new millennium.  Reynolds himself accepts that the fact that as so many of the 2.5 million men who chose to enlist (43% of the total army numbers between 1914 and 1918) died on the Somme, this ‘adds special poignancy ‘ to the unfolding of events.
But, we conclude:  firstly, with his assertions about the ‘war poets’ - ‘these men were neither typical of the British Tommy in general nor of …writers… Their verse should not be used as historical description… Most Tommies were not hypersensitively reflective about their own manhood, sexuality or even suffering’; secondly, that even if we might not agree with the book’s main perspective, we can agree that it’s a damned good read; thirdly and absolutely conclusively, it’s time to mention David Jones’ ‘In Parenthesis’.That  poetical first hand account of trench life is our next posting.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Edgelands: the Slad Brook in Stroud


Edgelands: the Slad Brook in Stroud

‘Just take my advice, there’s nothing so nice, as messing about on the river’: and that’s true, even when doing that means walking along a brook, that is only intermittently visible, and which is hidden under tarmac, in the middle of Stroud. It’s edgeland terrain: a bit of a mess at times and a bit ‘urban-rural interface’.
The brook rises in the sylvan heights of Longridge Wood, with springs, bird song, and wild flowers for company; it’s joined by Dillay Brook at Steanbridge; it’s all a bit Laurie Lee. It ends near a roundabout, a new red brick bridge and a MacDonald’s: it’s all a bit JG Ballard.
I recommend walking the brook from its source, but our mission here is to navigate the edgelands: we shall start at the end of the brook’s independently named life. Have a coffee at the Lockkeeper’s, then drop underneath the bridge that carries the A46, to where the culverted brook meets the canal and thence the Frome. Its conjoined waters flow to the River Severn, the Bristol Channel and the wider waters of the world.
Have a look at the information boards by the side of the canal, and have a look at how the view used to be in the 18th century: you are now ready to wander through the present tense and enter the riverine world of the past. Turn left at the Lockkeeper’s, then left again at the mini roundabout, cross the zebra crossing (all hail Lesley Hore-Belisha), then turn left again so that you can study the larger roundabout. The Slad Brook that has such an arcadian start to its life, lies somewhere around and below this steady flow of vehicles and maelstrom of directions.
Now stay, as it were, on the A46, and head for the railway viaduct. When you reach this structure, glance to your right. Take in the indeterminate detrital deposits. But also notice the liquid alchemy at your feet. Then glance backwards:

There is, of course, a welter of road signs,
Satnavs instructing drivers where to go,
(And a funeral director’s sign,
Half-hidden in the trees and ivy,
Just behind the bench at the roundabout,
Just by Merrywalks House –’24 hour service’).
There is a rebarbative structure next to Ecotricity,
A car park that reaches up to a heady, grey height,
 The same level as the railway station’s down platform ,
Where a walk reveals the hidden, fenced off edgelands down below.
Where an equally rebarbative street sign informs us:
‘Warning. These Premises Are Protected By
Glevum Security and Response
24 Hour Communications Centre’;
Here is a patch of land betwixt pavement and building,
Once designed as a garden, landscaped with shrubs,
Steps, railings and a gate,
But now running slightly wild with buddleia and sycamore saplings.
There is a glimpse of storage and Biffa containers
Seen through the viaduct's arches and repetitive perspective,
(And a faded sign: IBC Cotswold Indoor Bowls Club),
With the brook a visible, flowing presence,
Down below the Ciao Eatalia Ristorante Pizzeria and Winebar
(The owner kindly took me through the kitchens for a peek out the back,
To see the stream flow fast and clear until it eddies around a metal grille,
Before it enters a tunnel to disappear beneath the road.).
The pavement itself takes you to the entrance to MacDonald’s,
Where the brook is limpid-laughing and curated,
Wild flowers and garlic and reeds and dock and buddleia
All tumble down the bank of the stream,
With a daisied lawn betwixt waters and fast food drive-thru.
The stream was opened up by the multinational,
Rescued from the depths of Lusty’s builders,
And the manager generously checked their site plans for me,
On a Charlie Chaplain Modern Times Sunday breakfast time:
‘The lawn’s on our site plans, but I couldn’t say 100% that we own it.’
The car park is full of signs denoting the control of space,
Making explicit the divisions between the public and the private,
Unlike the natural world of grass, flowers and stream:
Who owns this? What is public and what is private?
How are the meanings of space generated within this space?
This is real edgelands terrain: ‘the urban-rural interface’.
There is a stone wall by the brook’s side opposite the lawn,
Down beneath the roadside brick, where a pipe brings water,
Down from the steep school hillside on the other side of Merrywalks,
Then we have the doctors’ at Rowcroft and the chemist’s car park,
Three signs close together all saying the same thing:
‘No Entry’,
And an information board about Stroud in the car park;
‘A great place to walk, relax and explore’,
But no mention of the waters beneath your feet,
Waters that once powered the wheels of industry,
Grinding corn, spinners and weavers into dust and the ground.

I ‘phoned Stroud District Council a few days later to ask if they owned any of the land by the stream. They obligingly checked and ‘phoned back a few minutes later – even the bank of the brook is privately owned. An interesting and arresting oxymoron, in some ways: the quick, flashing sight of a free-flowing stream, untrammelled at last, and yet, this is private property. What we have here is an interesting illusion of liberty. The brook walks the walk but talks a deceitful talk: what you see is not necessarily what you get.
Unlike the cinema and Halfords, although you can’t always trust a bus timetable, perhaps; but be that as it may, the ‘bus station’ was, I think, near to the site of some of the duckings of clothiers during the 1825 weavers’ strike. This was at Mr. Holbrow’s fishpond, which was, I think, near Badbrook; and you find Badbrook Hall (‘Watson. Check the timetable. I am called to Badbrook Hall.’) just beyond the next stretch of open water. (Badbrook appears on an OS map just between Wick Street and Stroud; it looks as though it rises from springs near Hawkwood, and it would once have flowed, presumably, into the Slad Brook, crystal clear for all the world to see.)

I tested this theory by biking up to Hawkwood the day after I had written the paragraph above. The spring issues forth just beside a venerable sycamore tree and a stream is visible just beyond. It looks as though it must have joined the Slad Brook near the Slad Road-bus station roundabout. I wonder if it flows beneath the 1930s ribbon development around Loveday’s Mead, near Folly Lane and Birches Drive. But why the name: Badbrook? What did that name denote, once upon a time? (I have since been told that many people fill their water bottles from this deep spring: the water is rich in iron apparently.)

Anyway, the current stretch of visible streamlet that is the Slad Brook can be viewed just after the Stagecoach building, just by the bridge (The Bridge over the River Slad?). There are railings, a gate, a sign: ‘No Unauthorised Access’, wire mesh, deep walls of stone and brick, trees and nettles clambering down towards the mossy arch by the side of Smartworks, and the vaulted shadowed waters. The gardens have been landscaped here and there is a seat.

The brook disappears before Badbrook Hall, which, at the time of writing, is undergoing refurbishment. There is a piece of serendipitous graffiti behind the wall, however, which eerily reads thus: ‘That Which Is Out Of Sight Is Out Of Mind?’ Pondering this, cross the road and walk to the end of the Open Hours bakery. Find a short, curving, red brick wall and glance down to spot a small grilled drain. Down below there, lies the brook, on its curve towards the Smartworks building: many thanks to Shaun the Baker for showing me this.

The car park at Locking Hill lies straight ahead, part of which collapsed in the summer of 2013, to reveal the red bricked, culverted brook below: that which might have been out of mind was no longer out of sight. I was on my bicycle on this May day, on my way to the war memorial at Slad, but I noted the various signs in the street which indicated the brook, when hidden from sight, or when it reappears. Names like Streamside, Cottles, Stroud Instruments, Little Mill Court (off Lansdowne), Libby’s Drive, Slade Brook Drive, Slad Valley House.

When I returned from Slad, I got off my bike to walk these spots, so as to give them a bit more deservedly psycho-geographic attention. Slad Road is a most interesting example of town meets country. There is a pavement pretty much all the way between the village and the town, with rails running along the raised areas to prevent pedestrians from falling into the fields below, and then rolling down into the valley where the visible, wooded, brook runs. I noticed that the lodge of the imposing Slad Valley House has a street number: unusual for the lodge of a grand and imposing house.  There is Gloucester Street Forge on the other side of the road; I suppose this might be an example of whatever the opposite of nominative determinism might be.

It’s worth popping down Libby’s Drive, however, if you want to get close to the brook again. It is visible on the Stroud side of the track, at the bottom, opposite New Mills; you can find it again by going behind the buildings. There is a sluice gate by Scorpion Tools and the stream is clearly seen again when you reach J & L Concrete Pumping and Curtis Engineering. But we cannot follow the brook back towards Slad, we have to advance towards Stroud; it’s back to the road for us, and on to the workshop of the magnificently named Omar Cottle (monumental mason).

There is a nineteenth century ring to such a moniker, and the surrounding redbrick Victorian warehouses add to that atmosphere. There is a good view of the brook here amongst the weathered gravestones. I was told that the brook rose by four feet in the 2007 deluge, but only slightly in last winter’s persistent rainfall: ‘Whatever they did seems to have worked.’ Evidence of our attempts to control the waters is discernible when you take the footpath linking Slad Road and Lansdowne. You can also see the brook at the back of the Slad Road, behind the back of the RSPCA building in Lansdowne. You can then follow a track/road between the road and Lansdowne and so reach Locking Hill again; we wonder if this path follows what was once the bank of the stream, as it makes its way on to Badbrook and the bus station.

Our journey is over. All that remains is to think about the number of springs that feed into this brook; there is a subterranean world of movement beneath our feet, which is only partly denoted by street names such as Springfield Road in Uplands. There is also the movement of water that comes down the other side of the hill: the powerful force of Gainey’s Well. We finish this exploration of the edgelands of the Slad Brook in Stroud, with the following piece about Gainey’s Well.

Do you know Gainey’s Well?
I know you’ve probably heard of it,
You can obviously google it,
But that’s not knowing it, is it?
It’s only knowing of it.

It lies at the end of a street with a rec,
Through a seeming suburban garden,
(That is in fact a secret pathway)
Where surprises, incongruities, improbabilities,
And the most fantastical impossibilities,
Reside both outside and inside
Of what appears to be a normal garden shed,
(Or marooned saloon family car garage)
Brick walls, tiled roof, lock and bolt on the door.

Outside this anonymously average structure,
Air vents rise up from an underground reservoir;
Inside, a roaring welter in the darkness,
Serpentine subterranean tunnels,
Pulsing water, limestone walls,
A limitless liquid mine,
Fed from Cotswold gravel beds of 800 acres,
More Stroud’s River Styx than aquifer,
A vault of torrential force in the abyssal depths.

Beneath the pavements the beach?
Beneath the lawn the abyss.


Well, there we are, then, walkers, flaneurs, psycho-geographers, cyclists and shoppers. There’s a whole new world beneath your feet. Watch your step.