Brook Green and West Kensington
The last of my London trip videos is another area that is special to me.
Not as picturesque perhaps as others, but it stands out in the area as being somehow quieter and set apart, streets of Victorian houses and mansion blocks (i.e. purpose-built blocks of flats in late 19th / early 20th century style), street trees, Brook Green itself meandering through along the path of a long-buried minor river, the remains of St Paul’s School and the new housing built on its land, St Paul’s Girls’ School where Gustav Holst was music master from 1905 until his untimely death in 1934, a row of little Iranian restaurants opposite the Olympia exhibition centre, Rowan Road where the poet Leigh Hunt lived his last years, the pub on the corner that used to be an inn where the stagecoaches changed over from the elegant horses used in town to the beasts that could get a coach to Bath faster than the wind (although the journey time to provincial capitals was still measured in days). Then when the stagecoaches stopped became a writers’ pub and later on (rebuilt) was a rock venue; the artists’ studios by the A4, huge windows to let in the unvarying northern light; well-heeled inner suburbia inhabited by media persons to this day; three Tube stations (if you include Olympia on its edge): West Kensington and Barons Court; where Gandhi lived, and H Rider Haggard, and Geoffrey de Havilland.
The first place I lived in London, and the first place I lived away from my family. I still dream of it regularly. Going back was strange because I dream of it so much that it didn’t seem real. But it was.