Saturday, 16 October 2010

Subterranean City Talks

A busy couple of days, with a talk for the Camden Local History Society at Burgh House Hampstead on Thursday night and another for the Stuart Low Trust in Upper Street Islington on Friday night. The last date of this tour will be on Thursday 11th November at the South East London Folklore Society. I shall not be delivering the same talk that I have at previous events as I'm also speaking with Scott Wood, who wrote the final section of the Folklore of London book; I would imagine the talk will centre around the folklore of underground London.

Over 60 people turned up on Thursday at what is probably my favourite venue for a talk: a lovely room, fully operational equipment, no microphone required and a lectern with a light - luxury. Friday was quite a contrast, although very well organised, around 50 people I would say; afterwards amidst the barrage of questions I briefly met some interesting people: one had worked on the demolition of the Took's Court entrance to 'Kingsway' and another, by strange coincidence, worked in the office block that was built in its place. Another elderly man had worked on the underground and had visited such ghost stations as York Road.

Incidentally, another man was rather annoyed that I hadn't mentioned the fact that York Road abandoned tube station was an air raid shelter during the war and had received a bomb down the lift shaft - I said I knew nothing about this and was he sure he had the correct station, to which he replied emphatically 'yes'. I checked today and there is no record of any such incident occurring, in fact York Road is probably the only abandoned station that wasn't used as a shelter. I've found at these type of events, when you can be put on the spot, that the questioners are often not as well apprised of the facts as they think they are, but it's difficult to know for sure in some cases unless you check it out later, so you sometimes end up looking as if you don't know what you're talking about; fortunately this doesn't happen too often.

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