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Ten things you never knew about London – courtesy of @LondonProj

Over the last few weeks the team has been beavering away putting the final touches on an ebook called The London Project. It is a compilation of some great new writing about London from a load of high profile bloggers – some of whom write for this here website.

It is a few books if you have an iPad (get it here) and if you have a Kindle it costs a couple of British pounds – get it here. For the iPad version, as well as words, you get video, galleries and the odd Google Map. What are you waiting for…

There’s a list of features in the book at the bottom of the page, but here’s ten things we learned about London through reading the book.


1 There’s some odd buildings in the Thames Estuary that look like something out of HG Wells’ War Of The Worlds. They are The Red Sands Forts and they were used to shoot planes down during the war and apart from an odd stint as a pirate radio station they have been deserted since. There’s a campaign to turn them into a museum here.

2 Mama Cass and Keith Moon both died in the same flat. Contrary to popular myth Cass died from heart disease and didn’t choke on the ham sandwich which was found by her bed.

3 The 1917 Silvertown Explosion is London’s noisiest explosion ever. Nearly 100 people disappeared into thin air when 50 tonnes of TNT went up in smoke. It blew windows out at The Savoy and can be heard as far away as Suffolk.

4 In May 1974 Brixton’s wonderful art deco Academy was almost demolished and turned into a petrol station.

5 Chislehurst Caves in south London became London’s biggest air raid shelter during WW2 with 15,000 inhabitants, a church and a hospital.

6 Castelnau, Ratcliff and Shacklewell are three London villages whose names have almost disappeared from every day use. Finsbury is another village that doesn’t get mentioned too much these days. It used to be a much larger space encompassing much of Islington and extending as far as the Park named after it in N4.

7 Harringay’s retail park once housed the Harringay Arena, which was a key venue during the 1948 Olympics. Oddly it was designed by Australian firm Dorman and Co in 1936 who 75 years later would also build the new Wembley Stadium.

8 All Hallows on Sea – on the south side of the Thames in Kent – was set to become the Blackpool of the south with Europe’s biggest amusement park, until the depression and WW2 intervened.

9 The Queen Elizabeth II bridge, aka the southward side of the Dartford Crossing, is the capital’s Sagrada Familia (that odd cathedral in Barcelona) in that just like Gaudi, its architect, Helmut Homberg, died before it was completed.

10 The famous image of St Paul’s cathedral during one of the worst nights of The Blitz, was taken by Daily Mail photographer Herbert Mason from the roof of the paper’s offices in Carmelite Street.



Posted: 29th, June 2012 | In: Reviews | Comment

Writers wanted for Anorak’s new London Project

Anorak Publishing has just set a very exciting new magazine in motion. The London Project is a collection of stories, images and videos that reflect the World’s greatest city on the cusp of a momentous year in its history. It will look back at the past, take the pulse of the city as it is now and make a few predictions about its future. It will be available in a whole load of digital formats and in print too. And we want you to help.

Got a really good story about the capital? Maybe the bloke at the end of your road was best mates with The Krays? Or someone you know used to be a waitress in the restaurant in Telecom Tower? Maybe you were involved in one of the key events that shaped the recent development of the city? Or you have a special place in the capital that up until now you haven’t wanted to share.

We are looking for 10-15 stories about London and Londoners that have to be between 500-1000 words and accompanied by a picture. We will pay £100 for each story. Got a good idea? Then email me as soon as you can. We would also consider photo essays or interesting videos.

Posted: 24th, October 2011 | In: Reviews | Comment