Wednesday, June 04, 2014

London is getting uglier...

...and uglier.

Leading some young people from SPES on a Catholic History Walk along the Thames from London Bridge to Tower Bridge, I noticed the large grey shields on the vast sheets of glass of the viciously ugly giant  "mobile phone"  block which now dominates the City skyline. These square grey shields are there because the fierce light blistering through the glass on this vast curved monstrosity had melted the cars in the street below and made it impossible for anyone to work in the shops or approach the area on foot. The shields are an attempt to mitigate the horror of the heat, but they won't work very well, and the whole street below has been blighted.

The ugly tower is just one of  the horrible, huge, dominating chunks of masonry to wreck our city. The towers are not owned by Londoners, and do not contribute to the city's life. Across the river, great blocks of flats are being built, which are not offered for sale in Britain, but advertised overseas, and will not be family homes but simply used for overnight stays by rich potentates from far away.

The rich mix of people who felt that London was their home, and who knew and loved their own special corner of it, and who identified with London's history...all this is disappearing.

Some day, the ugly towers may come down, and the city be allowed to operate on a human scale again. Meanwhile, it is sad to walk along by the river and to know that the rich history...Saxons and Viking battles, and kings and saints and soldiers and heroes and being crushed by concrete and by the loss of ordinary homes in which Londoners can afford to live..

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