"Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." — Samuel Johnson

Sunday, 16 January 2011


Although you get the bigger picture by looking at streets and buildings, I often feel it is the small details which can give a place its special character.  Whilst traipsing around Clerkenwell recently, little fragments of life caught my eye which go some way to capturing the spirit of the place, contributing to its rather ambiguous melancholy identity.

A fitting end to this post and this first foray into Clerkenwell comes once again from the pen of Peter Ackroyd:  "So the secret life of Clerkenwell like its well, goes very deep. Many of its inhabitants seem to have imbibed the quixotic and fevered atmosphere of the area:  somehow by being beyond the bars of the city, strange existences are allowed to flourish." (1)   

I didn't come across any particularly unusual characters during my wanderings, but I like to imagine some of the bizarre lives that may be being lived behind some of these windows.

(1)  Ackroyd, Peter, London the Biography

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