Friday, January 06, 2006

The Thin Red Line

Walking to work from Euston Square Tube Station (don't get me started on London Underground, this morning was another pathetic display of incompetence) I noticed a red line painted on the pavement. I followed it along Euston Road past UCLH and round the corner onto Tottenham Court Road, where it continued while I went into my office.

I jokingly asked the art curator if it was a new piece of art for the hospital. He said he had seen the line at Kings Cross and followed it up to the hospital. So at lunchtime I endeavoured to follow it to one end. Before setting off I jokingly said I would take a picture of St Brides church on Fleet St. as I went past it.

I headed down Tottenham Court Road following the line. The line is evenly painted and appears to have been done by a machine. It stops at each road intersection and continues the other side when the pavement starts again. At around Store St. I was waiting to cross the road with 2 policemen so I asked if they knew what it was for. One of them suggested it might be for a fibre optic cable. The line continued to the end of TCR and turned left into New Oxford St. then crossed over almost immediately, through Centrepoint via St Giles, across the top of Shaftesbury Ave. then up Neal Street. At the end of Neal Street it turned left into Long Acre, past the Masonic building, along Great Queen Street to Kingsway where it turned left upto High Holborn. Along High Holborn to Chancery Lane, then right into Fleet Street, where I took a picture of St Brides (with RM2071), along the Strand a bit before turning left into Surrey Street, where it appeared to end at Temple Place, except I cut round to Victoria Embankment where it came out of a wall again to cross over the road only to end again at the river, at the pier for El Barco Latino.

I didn't have time to cross the river and search the opposite side to see if the line continues there.

Does anyone know what this line is for? Next week I will follow it north past Kings Cross and see where it goes and take the Tube to Waterloo and look for the line again South of the river.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I walked the lenght of hte line on the 9th assuming it was Banksy but like you found no evidence to its origins. weird...

7:51 PM  
Anonymous jason said...

If I remember rightly at the South Bank side of the waterloo bridge there was a message on the side of the bridge that sort of ridiculed Banksy, I think suggesting he go back to Bristol and we can do things our way in London, it was in the same red spray paint, if that was part of it I don't know; anyway directly opposite Temple Pier on the North Bank where the red line ends, on the South Bank there is an abutment onto the Thames where one can vantage a view of the river and skyline, that area is paved in a red cobble stone (when I followed the line here there was a lone Chinese man reading the paper sitting under the tree). An interesting full stop for the journey.

The bus stop at the end of Charlton St NW1 I used to use everyday, I thought it was a mighty odd place to start/finish the line from. The day the line was reported on the BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4600612.stm was also the day that ken Livingston, the chief of los angles police, his London equivalent and Bob Kiely, in one of his last duties for TfL, decided to visit Charlton St, Somers Town, to bolster the positive benefits of community policing.

From a London heritage, establishmentarian, legal, Masonic, cultural, point of view, the route was exciting, from Tin Pan Ally to the Silver Vaults, The Gutter snipes of Fleet Street to the Roman Baths, UCL to Kings Collage, The Quakers to the Masons, St Giles to the Law Courts, and much more, it is a fascinating journey, and if that is just a random route of the postcode perimeter, it's sort of an anti-climax in a way.

6:17 PM  

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