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Dusty Corners In The City Of London

September 11, 2020
by the gentle author

St Andrew by the Wardrobe

The dust is gathering in the City of London. I used to visit at weekends to seek solitude in the empty streets but now the streets are always empty. In a misplaced gesture, pavements have been widened to permit more space when office workers return but the truth is they are never coming back. Corporations have learned they can function without the office and save a lot of money. No-one knows what happens next. If this is the slow death of the City of London, what will become of all the office towers? Meanwhile I walk the streets of the City and photograph my favourite dusty corners as the tumbleweed blows down Cheapside.

Amen Corner

St Andrew’s Hill

St Andrew by the Wardrobe

Greyfriars Garden


Charterhouse Sq

Cloth Fair

Cloth Fair

St Bartholomew’s

Bartholomew Close

Watling St

College Hill

College Hill

Dowgate Hill

Abchurch Yard

Lawrence Pountney Hill

Lawrence Pountney Hill

Lawrence Pountney Lane

Reflection of St Margaret Pattern

You may also like to take a look at

In City Churchyards

22 Responses leave one →
  1. September 11, 2020

    Every year we have a break out of a different flu virus. In the past, millions have died due to the various viruses but life carried on as normal. But thanks to the media and the powers that be so many people have lost their jobs, house, lively-hood etc. Many have taken their own lives because of the loss of their income and the forced isolation. People who suffer from depression have been hit very hard, cooped up in their homes, isolated so not been able to see friends and family, the elderly who had no or very assistance, its not wonder so many people took their own lives. Because of lockdown millions of people lost their jobs, the single parent homes were the ones who suffered the most, how do you explain to a hungry child that there is no money for food. I live in a small city, and within the 2nd month of lockdown, 3 businessmen took their own lives, they had lost everything and could not deal with the outcome depression overtook them, the suffering of their family and the families of their employees because they could no longer keep their business going. After reading this article, there will no doubt be a lot more small businesses forced to close their doors for good, resulting in more families suffering the loss of an income. The only ones who benefitted from this lockdown are the governments, who still took a salary home every month. Unfortunately we are living in a sick and evil world, ruled by powerful people who dont give a damn about their fellow man.

  2. September 11, 2020

    I’m always jealous of the quality of your photos. These pics are so atmospheric they could have been taken 100 years ago. Brilliant!

  3. Ron Wilkinson permalink
    September 11, 2020

    Great spaces, human scale with human history in black and white that shows all the surface textures and patterns.

  4. September 11, 2020

    It is lovely to take this walk with you: I wonder what will happen when office workers no longer meet in person to exchange ideas and companionship? we risk turning into a version of E M Forster’s story ‘the Machine Stops”, I hope our branch of Daunt Books on Cheapside can survive: there is tumbleweed blowing along the bookshelves there too.

  5. Marnie permalink
    September 11, 2020

    Oh, please, no. I looked and looked but not. one. kitty!

  6. September 11, 2020

    I’m coming into the city today, for the first time in six months. Your perfectly timed article gives me a good idea what to expect! Beautiful and evocative photographs as well!

  7. paul loften permalink
    September 11, 2020

    Thank you for these remarkable pictures of these familliar places which give us the sense of its history . The photos are a reminder of the changing face of the CIty when compared to the anonymous concrete and glass blocks out of sight of the camera’s lens . Yes indeed the dust gathers . My daughter has been working from home since it all began and does not know when she will return. It is not an easy time for her or the thousands of other City workers who face the same situation.
    The City is now a shadow of its former self . As a young man who left Parmiters School, Bethnal green in the late 60’s the City was the area that gave many of the school leavers the opportunity for work. I followed that path and for half my life was a City worker. I recall in the first days of starting a new job in Bread Street I was nervous and unsure of myself and seated at my office desk when I looked up and out of the window and my eye caught a face with ginger hair looking down at me from an office building over the road . It wasa boy whom I had known at school Bill Murray . He was a year above me so I didnt know him personally but he knew my face and I knew his and we waved and gave each other the thumbs up and cheery smile. It gave me confidence and that moment, lightened my mood. Strangely enough, despite all my years working in the City , I never saw him again. . The daily grind on the packed tube in the rush hour and the hectic pace of the high pressure work took its toll on me and by my 30’s I was burnt out as a city worker and needed a change . Perhaps the City does too.

  8. Mark permalink
    September 11, 2020

    Good to have you back.
    Nice pics.
    Those old fellas with the sandwich boards were right after all. The end really is nigh.

  9. Penny Gardner permalink
    September 11, 2020

    You had to get up pretty early to catch it like this pre Covid. Must make an effort to come down. St,Katherines Foundation is a great placeto stay. Probably worthy of an article if you havn’t done one yet.

  10. September 11, 2020

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful images. My regret is that I no longer living close enough to physically retrace your footsteps, but can follow your path through my own memories of growing up and working in London. The future is an unknown, but we all need human contact and the workplace will recover eventually, albeit maybe looking a bit different. I also suffered from burn-out, but thankfully could afford to take early retirement at 50, and recovered enough to get involved in other things, but especially volunteering in all sectors which was/is rewarding.

  11. September 11, 2020

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, thanks for the lovely, melancholy black ‘n white shots of the corners and crevices of the City in recent days.

    You ask –“No-one knows what happens next. If this is the slow death of the City of London, what will become of all the office towers?” And what becomes of the pub/coffee shop owner, along with the small business that need workers/foot traffic to be sustained? It is happening in cities throughout the world. So sad.

    The consequences of this awful pandemic continue to reveal themselves.

    Great shot – Reflection of St Margaret Pattern

    Missing London today…

  12. Sue permalink
    September 11, 2020

    Beautiful photos as usual.
    As a child I was fascinated by St.Andrew by the Wardrobe and imagined a saint hanging his clothes up!

  13. September 11, 2020

    This morning we are in the midst of observing the events of 9/11; and many are commenting on how those horrific dark days “brought us all together”. No longer. Nothing brings us together. We’ve lost the talent for thinking collectively. And now…..the pandemic.

    I woke up today thinking about the meaning behind the quote (seemingly “borrowed” from the Bible) — “Pride goes before the fall.” I believe this time of isolation and quiet is asking us to re-assess, to re-claim our humility, and return to decency.

    Although today is always a mournful day here — I bless it for the momentary touch of dignity it brings. And tomorrow? — Back to the fray.

    Your city is beautiful — even in it’s becalmed state. Thanks for capturing it for us today.

  14. Maggie Hambleton permalink
    September 11, 2020

    I live in a small town in Mid-Wales and whilst there is beautiful countryside there lacks such amazing buildings to walk amongst and such exciting streets.
    Both my son and daughter live in London, the latter overlooking Hackney Downs (must tell her to go and see the mosaic).
    Thanks for sharing

  15. Lizebeth Burch permalink
    September 11, 2020

    Hello from Northern California, where I, normally a part-time resident of London, am missing it mightily. Your nostalgic black and white photos are evocative of many walks I have taken in those parts of the City — except I had to take them at 5:30am to avoid the daily rush of office workers. In our situation, even those who are not in economic or health crisis will suffer from the psychological effects of isolation. Meeting with others online is NOT the same as interacting face-to-face, and this necessity is bound to have future dimensions we cannot even imagine. But thank you for the extraordinary images. Even if we don’t survive, these buildings will.

  16. gkbowood permalink
    September 11, 2020

    Those office towers will be turned into luxury flats just like everything else! Thank you for these excellent photos.

  17. Linda Granfield permalink
    September 11, 2020

    The World is in Mourning.

    Every door you’ve captured needs a wreath with a black or purple ribbon fluttering in the bits of breeze.

    Will black armbands come back into use as we lose so many wonderful people?

    (Your friend, the late Colin O’Brien, would be very proud of your photographs.)

  18. Robert Graham permalink
    September 11, 2020

    Brought back memories of my childhood after ww2 I lived in the cit through the war this was our play ground when the war was over also went to Sir John Cass school.

  19. September 11, 2020

    So nice to see modern monochrome. So nostalgic that the final photo brought me up short

  20. Ian Silverton permalink
    September 12, 2020

    Sad Times ahead for all concerned all over the world GA, nice pictures of a places and times that meant so much to me when growing up and working in The City of London, rich in history, this place will never change, its just going back to how it used to look in my youth, its very sad for people working from home, they will never return to work if Companies have there way, times a changing for everybody young and old, rich and poor alike. My advice to young people looking for work,Go it alone the new world awaits you its out there seek it out be brave and don’t every rely on Governments for your future, they are a lost course for any future IMHO, most need help themselves. Stay safe London.

  21. Jill wilson permalink
    September 12, 2020

    I love these “dusty corners” and always go off the beaten track when I am in the City to discover as many of these hidden gems as possible.

    There are so many layers of history to discover, and a miracle that so much has survived.

    It is also great to see some proper architectural details like the porches and the door surrounds and to see how things can be really impressive while still being built in the human scale.

    Wouldn’t it be great if today’s architects could learn from the past… (sigh!)

  22. September 12, 2020

    Beautiful photos! Are they scanned B&W prints, or taken straight onto a digital camera? I’m truly envious.

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