The World Athletics Championship – A Retrospective

A Retropsective on the World Athletics Championships, More on the Inhumane Despicable Sociopath case, some photographs and some important links.


As well as my title piece I have some photos, links and infographics to share, including a section following up my much shared “Inhumane Despicable Sociopath” post..


At the World Athletics Championships which concluded yesterday Britain won a total of four gold medals, their best ever. Mo Farah with both the 5,000 and 10,000m, Greg Rutherford (Long Jump) and Jessica Ennis-Hill (Heptathlon) all ascended the top step of the podium in Beijing, all having experienced Olympic misery there seven years previously. There were also a stack of best ever performances from less experienced British athletes, encapsulated by BBC TV in this infographic…

Young Guns

Shelayna Oskanp-Clarke had never previous broken two minutes for the 800m, and until Proctor did so no British female long jumper had ever gone beyond 7.00m. The performances of Asher-Smith and Hitchon were also British records. Dina Asher-Smith having already become the first British woman go sub 11 seconds for the 100m and being part of the 4*100m relay team now has three British records against her name.


Partly because of a twitter storm conceived by a well known twitter user named Gail which tied in perfectly with it my blog post about the revelations of DWP deaths, forced out after a long and hard fought campaign, was very widely shared. I have a number of superb related links to share in this section:

Now, a few infographics about this story, starting with this great tweet:

Killer Stat

This, formatted like a DWP case study, differs from them in being a true story:

Simons Story

Finally to the end this section, a screendump from a text book of the future that somehow appeared on my screen…



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I am dividing this in to two main subsections, starting with…


Within this section I am starting with a case which is reaching a conclusion soon…


I have blogged about this outrageous case of an autistic grade 6 boy facing a lifeltime with a felony conviction, but since the case is now going through the courts I include these two links:

Also, for twitter users (I have already done so btw), here is a temporary profile pic you may wish to use in solidarity with Kayleb:




I start with a couple of petitions:

I have three more links to purely text based material:

  1. From patienttalk comes this about helping a disabled child to have a better experience at school.
  2. This from Shelter about the fact that golf courses take up as much of England as does housing.
  3. This post from anotherangryvoice deals with the much peddled myth that national economies are like families.

My last link is to a wonderful protest song by Welsh singer Charlotte Church.

Project Piccadilly

A strictly personal survey of the Piccadilly line, with a suggestion for the revival and extension of the Aldwych branch.


This post is associated with my “London Station by Station” series. I was gratified by the response that overview of the Hammersmith and City line received, and so now I am producing a piece about the Piccadilly line which will be much longer, as there is is much more to say…


The Piccadilly line came into existence as a compromise project taking elements from three distinct schemes. An excellent explanation for this is provided by Desmond F. Croome in his “The Piccadilly Line: An Illustrated History”


Still, not event the combination of this bizarre origin and the schemozzle at Heathrow gains the Piccadilly line the status of  London Underground’s no 1 bodge job – for more about that you will have to wait until I feel strong enough to tackle the Northern line!

To give you an overview of the line both in its history and as it stands today here a some images…

The Piccadilly line on London Underground: A Diagrammatic History.
The Piccadilly line on London Underground: A Diagrammatic History.
The Piccadilly line and its connections today (photographed from the current edition of the London Connections map)
The Piccadilly line and its connections today (photographed from the current edition of the London Connections map)
A facsimile of a promotional poster for the Piccadilly line.
A facsimile of a promotional poster for the Piccadilly line.

Having set the scene, it is time to strap yourselves in for…


I am starting slightly out of position, for reasons that will reveal themselves at the end of the post, with Southgate, which I have given a previous post in the series. For full details you will need to read that post, but Southgate has two features of significance to me: it was the home of the Walker brothers, and in that context Middlesex still play some games of cricket at the Walker ground; and it is home to quirk illustrated by this picture…

Light at the end of Tunnel

That attended to, we can now get back on the journey proper starting at…


This station opened in 1933, and still today it is in a very rural setting. Other than being the starting point for our journey it has no real distinguishing  features.


In the direction in which we travel, this marks a transition point – this is the last station at surface level until we emerge at Barons Court.


This is one of two stations, the other being a main line railway station, Alexandra Palace, which serve Alexandra Palace. Whichever you choose you have a long climb ahead of you to reach your objective, although it is worth it for the views at the end. This picture, courtesy of google, shows some of the frontage of the palace itself…



This is the Piccadilly line’s first interchange with any other in our direction of travel. As well as a connection to mainline railways, there is a cross-platform interchange to the Victoria line. It was also the original terminus at this end of the line when the Piccadilly line opened in 1907. Because it was after I had made this particular change in reverse that I got the picture in question, here is a Piccadilly route map as seen in train carriage…



The only station on London Underground to be named after a football club. The club which started life as Dial Square, changed its name to Woolwich Arsenal, of which it was originally the works team and then moved away from Woolwich, dropping the prefix of its name has since moved yet again, to another new stadium. Herbert Chapman who had earlier won three successive championships with Huddersfield Town and even earlier been lucky to survive a match fixing scandal that saw his then club Leeds City thrown out of the league was the person who successfully suggested the name change from the original Gillespie Road, with greater success than Mr Selfridge had enjoyed with his suggestion to the then independent Central London Railway that they might care to rename Bond Street station in honour of his establishment.


I have covered this both in an individual post and in the earlier piece about the Hammersmith and City line. To these I add only that the Piccadilly line is the second deepest line at the station, the Northern line being deeper.


Russell Square is one of the few deep level stations to have no escalators – you have a choice between lifts or stairs. It is also the closest station to Great Ormond Street Hospital, where I was a patient for over a year of my life, in my case in the Mildred Creak unit. For more details about how to locate this hospital, check out their own guide.


Russell Square also serves the iconic British Museum, and they also provide full detail on possible ways of getting there.


One final Russell Square connection – it is the home station for the Institute of Education, which is a regular venue for the annual five-day political festival Marxism and also happens to the place that I visited the first time I ever took part in an Autism Research project – this one being carried out by a woman named Sian Fitzpatrick.

Clark Hall at the Institute of Education, set up for a meeting, appropriately enough on education.
Clark Hall at the Institute of Education, set up for a meeting, appropriately enough on education.
The picture that adorns the wall of Clarke Hall.
The picture that adorns the wall of Clarke Hall.
The artists signature.
The artists signature.



This station is the only official interchange between the Piccadilly and Central lines. When I first used it as a child there were wooden escalators – mind this was in an era when deep-level tube trains using carriages with maple slatted floors and wooden side panels had smoking compartments – health and safety was not considered so important then. Today, Holborn is an ordinary mid-route station, but that was not always the case, and I believe it should not be the case. This is the preamble to…


From 1907 until 1994 there was a branch running south from Holborn to Aldwych. It was not doing much by the end of its life, but closure was not the only option – it was ideally placed for an extension into Southeast London and West Kent. I have already linked to the post I put up about Aldwych early on in this series, but in that post I did not give details of my envisaged extension, an omission I rectify as part of this project.

Reestablishing the Aldwych connection, the route would then go:

Blackfriars (District, Circle, mainline railways), London Bridge (Northern – Bank branch, Jubilee, mainline railways), Bermondsey (Jubilee), Surrey Quays (London Overground), Mudchute (DLR), Cutty Sark (DLR), Greenwich Park, Blackheath (mainline railways), Eltham High Street, New Eltham, Longlands, Sidcup High Street, Foots Cray, Ruxley, Hockenden, Crockenhill, Hulberry, Eynsford (mainline railways), Maplescombe, West Mingsdown, Fairseat, Vigo Village, Ditton, Maidstone West (mainline railways), Maidstone East (mainline railways).

The Maidstone connection is important because very isolated ends of lines can end up not getting much use (see Ongar in this series), and by extending it the extra distance to have both the interchanges in and population of Maidstone to bolster its usage one increases the likelihood of it working. The other particularly significant stop in the outer reaches of the extension is Eynsford, not major enough to be a suitable terminus, but definitely has much worth visiting, led by the scenic Darent Valley and the historic Roman Villa down the road at Lullingstone.

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The digression done, it is time to resume our progress along the Piccadilly, which next takes us to…


I have already covered this area at some length in a previous post to which I now direct you. What I failed to mention in that post is that there is also a quite pleasant walking route from here to Waterloo, and all the attractions I have listed in that post.


This station has a connection to the Northern line (Charing Cross branch). Also, until the refurbishment of Angel (Northern, Bank branch) it had the longest escalators to be found anywhere on the system. At 0.16 miles apart it and Covent Garden are the two closest neighbours on the entire system. Leicester Square serves an area of London known as Chinatown.


The station that gives its name to the line, it has an interchange with the Bakerloo line. Piccadilly is home to the Eros statue. It features in at least two series of novels set in Restoration England, Edward Marston’s Redmayne series and Susannah Gregory’s Chaloner series.


Interchanges with the Victoria and Jubilee lines.


One of several stations serving London’s largest park. This is also the local station for the Albert Hall.


Museum central – see the first post in this series for more detail. Also, the point at which one the projects that were fused together to make the Piccadilly line – a plan for a ‘deep level District’ line to ease congestion on the original District – from here to Earls Court the Piccadilly follows the District exactly, then skips West Kensington, joining the District at the surface at Barons Court. After Hammersmith the Piccadilly runs fast to Acton Town while the district has intermediate stops at Ravenscourt Park, Stamford Brook, Turnham Green and Chiswick Park. Occasional Piccadilly trains stop at Turnham Green where the Richmond branch of the District diverges, but the major branching point is…


Nowadays the District only goes beyond Acton Town as far as Ealing Broadway, but the entire Uxbridge branch of the Piccadilly and the Heathrow branch as far as Hounslow West were originally served by the District and feature platforms at the compromise height used for cross-platform interchanges between ‘tube’ and ‘subsurface’ lines. This station adjoins the Acton  Works, where rolling stock is maintained and overhauled. We will explore the Heathrow branch first…


The joke instruction used as this section heading refers to the fact that the three Hounslow’s, Hatton Cross and the three Heathrow stations all being with the letter H – and if you are on a train running the loop route (Terminals 1,2 and 3 and then terminal 4, as opposed to the direct Terminal 5 route), you would in total, between departing Hounslow East one way and returning there in the other direction see station names beginning with H 11 times on the trot.


When the Piccadilly was first extended to serve Heathrow one station, unimaginatively named Heathrow Central was deemed sufficient. Then, in 1986, Terminal 4 opened, and was not accessible from the existing station. A terminal loop was constructed with a new station built on it to serve Terminal 4. So far, so good, but then the folk who run Heathrow decided that a mere four terminals were insufficient for the number of flights they wanted to run, and a fifth terminal, not accessible from either existing station was built. So we now have a bizarre configuration whereby there is simultaneously a terminal loop and an ordinary direct terminus constructed specially to serve Terminal 5. Quite what sort of arrangement will result if and when a Terminal 6 gets the go-ahead is beyond me to imagine.

Early advertising of the Heathrow connection.
Early advertising of the Heathrow connection.


I have covered the quirky feature of this station in a previous post.


There are two stations on this branch bearing the name Sudbury, Sudbury Hill an Sudbury Town. I am concentrating on the latter because as a Grade 1 listed building it stands as an example of the best of London Underground architecture. Like so many of the finest examples, this station was designed by the legendary Charles Holden. To find out more about Holden and his work I recommend strongly that you consult David Lawrence’s magnificent Bright Underground Spaces, in which I located these pictures that relate to Sudbury Town…

The design of the station.
The design of the station.
A double page spread picture of the completed station.
A double page spread picture of the completed station.


The last station before this branch meets the Metropolitan for the run to Uxbridge. The Metropolitan converges from a station called West Harrow, while all the other branches of that line bar the Uxbridge one pass through North Harrow. Once upon a time a school opened to serve “30 poor children of the parish of Harrow”. The school is still there, but it is a long time since any poor children got to go there.


This is the meeting point, and for a long time this was a regular terminating point for Piccadilly line services except at peak periods. This is the last marked interchange on the Piccadilly line, although you could change to the Metropolitan anywhere between here and Uxbridge should you desire it.


Ruislip is an occasional terminating point, although most trains that go that far go on to Uxbridge. These two stations both serve Ruislip Lido, home to among other things the smallest gauge passenger carrying railway in Britain. I have assembled some links for you:

  1. The lido as a whole
  2. The Ruislip Lido Railway
  3. The official view on how to get there.


I mentioned earlier in this post that Holborn is the only officially recognised interchange between the Piccadilly and Central lines. For all that is in the region of a 10 minute walk to get from this station to West Ruislip I consider that this should be a recognised interchange – for more detail consult this post.


The current Hillingdon station opened in 1992, but there was an earlier Hillingdon station which opened in 1923. In 1934 this station was renamed Hillingdon (Swakeleys). The suffix was gradually dropped over time, but leaves the question “what is Swakeleys?” to have such significance. The answer, as an internet search reveals is that it is a school. As far as can ascertain it is the only school to have officially formed part of a station name (the stations with Harrow in their name refer to the location not the the school per se). There is also a well known hospital in Hillingdon.


We have reached the end of our journey. The present Uxbridge station opened in 1934, but there has been a station at Uxbridge since 1903. In so far as anywhere so rural can be this is something of a transport hub as several bus services make use of the station forecourt. Now it is time to reveal the solution to the teaser I set as to why I started out of position at Southgate: the connection is a cricketing one – yes we are back in Middlesex out ground territory. Sadly, other than knowing that Middlesex sometimes play there I cannot recall anything about cricket at Uxbridge – no remarkable matches spring to mind, nor great players especially associated with the ground.


This post does not make any claim to be a definitive account of the Piccadilly line – it is a strictly personal view of the highlights of the line that has more stations than any other deep level ‘tube’ lines and is only beaten by the District among the ‘subsurface’ lines, and I have ignored many stations altogether and given quite a few others only sparse coverage. I hope that you have all enjoyed the ride!

A Figure of Eight Walk

An account of a walk around King’s Lynn, accompanied by photos. Also some important links.


I am in the process of putting together a very large post indeed as an experiment, and meantime I offer you this little post…


I did this walk immediately after lunch yesterday. Setting off I headed through Baker Lane Car Park, across the upper Purfleet and down to the Great Ouse by way of the lower Purfleet. The first photo I got was this one of a bird that was perfectly positioned for the shot…


I headed along the river bank and across the Millfleet, then took the path that skirts old Boal Quay round to…


This meeting point of the Nar and Ouse provided some fine photos…

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Just beyond Cormorant Platform is the path through Harding’s Pits, from which I then headed across the Nar, stopping to photograph a swan…


Up through the South Gate, across the London Road, through a little known passage and along to Seven Sisters, at which point I entered…


The water by the bandstand is generally good for a few pictures, and today was no exception…

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After the bandstand I followed the path the exits the parkland by way of the church of St John the Evangelist, walked up past the train station and on to the second loop of the figure of eight, following another little river in King’s Lynn until the path diverged from it to go past the first of two ponds separated by the width of a road. The river provided a few pics, but nothing was happening in either pond…

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From the second pond I followed the road I was round until I reached the path through the meadow that leads to a bridge across Bawsey Drain, on to another path that I followed back towards the town centre. This section of the walk yielded only one picture – a green insect that because of its size I was not sure I would be able to capture…


On the last stage of the walk I got a picture of the model spitfire that currently adorns the Trues Yard museum…


After I was home, I got one final picture of a military aeroplane that flew very low (by the standards of powered aircraft) overhead…



My first link is to a document outlining Mr Corbyn’s mental health policy, for which I am using a quote from the document itself – the second bullet point to be precise…

Challenging the stigma around mental health and ending the second class treatment of mental illness in the NHS – mental illness should be treated on a par with physical illness. Mental health conditions make up 21.9% of conditions faced by the NHS but receive only 11.9% of the overall budget.

My next two links both come courtesy of DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts):

This piece from disabilitnewsservice makes some unpleasant but hardly surprising revelations about Maximus, the vile American company responsible for administering the notorious fitness for work tests that have blighted so many lives.

Finally, and on a completely different note, here is a link to an excellent blog post by Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society.

The Inhumane Despicable Sociopath and Attempting to Bury Bad News

A section on IDS and benefit deaths, a section on the Labour leadership contest and some other stuff including pictures.


This post is about the recent revelations from the DWP of just how many people have died shortly after having their benefits axed – revelations that were carefully timed to coincide with the dissolution honours in an effort to minimize the coverage they got. Having finally had to admit defeat after fighting a long rearguard action against making any revelations at all (well done Mr Sivier and Ms Zolobajluk for your roles in making this happen) they produce the figures at this time of all times!


Others have done a splendid job of publicising the figures already, and most of this section is devoted to linking to the best of the many pieces that this scandal has generated. First however, a couple of pics to set the scene…

This, courtesy of Mike Sivier at Vox Political  is devastating revealing of the kind of monster we are talking about.
This, courtesy of Mike Sivier at Vox Political is devastating revealing of the kind of monster we are talking about.
This is a partial acrostic of my own creation - I could not think of sufficiently opprobrious words to link the secondary letters of each of his names!
This is a partial acrostic of my own creation – I could not think of sufficiently opprobrious words to link to the secondary letters of each of his names!

When to comes the various articles and other pieces that have been produced, I have to start with the instigator of it all…

Mike Sivier at Vox Political, who produced this offering. Mike’s FOI request and tireless badgering of the DWP were backed by this hugely successful petition run via by Maggie Zolobajluk.

DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) produced this response to the revelations.

The Liverpool Echo, spurred by the excellent contribution of local MP Louise Ellman, provided this splendid article.

Meanwhile, in the “Land of the Mountain and the Flood”, to be found north of Hadrian’s Wall, The Herald had this to contribute.

That wonderful online resource, Huffington Post, were comfortably up to their usual standards with this offering.

In a truly sickening development to this story, pointed up by Political Scrapbook, on the very day that these figures were finally revealed IDS’s confederate (or as they call them in this context, special advisor) Philippa Stroud was awarded a peerage.

I finish with a brief comment of my own: these figures should without a doubt gain IDS the prize of a one way ticket to The Hague – they constitute ironclad evidence of crimes against humanity carried out on a shocking scale.


Here are some photographs from yesterday…

This will be lot 251 in James and Sons September Auction
This will be lot 251 in James and Sons September Auction
A close up of the two stamps - a 2d blue (quite rare) and a 1d red/brown (common as muck)
A close up of the two stamps – a 2d blue (quite rare) and a 1d red/brown (common as muck)

252 253 254 254a

This coin is lot 560
This coin is lot 560
A few pictures from yesterday morning's walk
A few pictures from yesterday morning’s walk

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Close ups of each face of the coin.
Close ups of each face of the coin.


Lot 601
Lot 601


This will be a brief section. I am not a part of this process, not because I have been purged (although the Labour right are currently purging with truly Vyshinskian enthusiasm in a desperate bid to win by foul means a contest that are being thumped in by fair means) – I never sought a vote in this contest. I have three links to share:


In this section I have three links that I wish to share that did not belong in the main body of the post. After that I have a request, an advance notice and a closing picture.

My request is that everyone who has made it through this post should please share it as widely as possible. In line with this request I encourage you to use anything in this blog post that appeals to you just so long as you, as I always try to, give credit where it is due.

My advance notice is that I am working on a post that will be much longer than anything I have previously offered for public consumption.

Bilbo Baggins was once reduced at a banquet to saying “Thag you very buch” – I now conclude this  post by offering the clarfiied version…


Special Post: West Ruislip and Ickenham

A brief account of one of London Underground’s unacknowledged interchanges.


Welcome to the latest post in my ongoing series “London Station by Station”. On this occasion we feature…


The Metropolitan line’s Uxbridge branch, on which Ickenham is located, opened in 1904. The District line started running services along there in 1910, and these were subsequently switched to the Piccadilly line in the 1930s. Central line services were extended to their current western terminus at West Ruislip in 1948.

The two stations are quite close together (about 10 mins walk apart at surface level) and the largest depot anywhere on the London Underground network also provides track connections between them, as it used by the Piccadilly, Metropolitan (Uxbridge) and Central (West Ruislip) lines. Also, unlike some other interchanges that go unacknowledged (e.g Belsize Park and Gospel Oak) it is not especially difficult to think of journeys where this interchange might be useful (Uxbridge to Hanger Lane is one example).

Note the suffix the that the station name of West Ruislip once had.


The August Auction

An account of setting up and running an auction, with references where appropriate to being on the autistic spectrum.


This is an account of yesterday and today (set-up and then the auction itself). Most of the pics are from yesterday – the exceptions are a couple of pictures of items that fared especially well.


Yesterday was the day on which everything for the auction was transferred by van from James and Sons premises to the auction venue, on this occasion the Prince of Wales Suite at Fakenham Racecourse. Once there it had to be laid out to best advantage, and the person most responsible for sorting that out was me. Largely lots were laid out in number order, although there were breaks in the sequences for small stuff and stamp albums which were set up on a set of tables to which only staff were permitted access and also for the prizes (as deemed by yours truly) among the small items which were laid out in glass exhibition case. My ability to carry out this task comes from two attributes both of which are linked to me being on the autistic spectrum – the fact that I am exceedingly comfortable with numbers and the fact that I am very pattern conscious.

Fortunately the friendly and helpful folks who run the racecourse had already put out tables (although we did move a few) and provided us with chairs to set out as we deemed best.

I was able to get back to James and Sons for about an hour after we had finished setting up, and before leaving at the end of the day I disconnected the mouse from my work computer and took it with me because James and Sons do not have a spare mouse and for what I do on auction day, even though I use a laptop a proper mouse is much easier to use than the laptop’s scroll pad.

Here are some pictures from yesterday…

What the venue looked like when we arrived on Tuesday morning.
What the venue looked like when we arrived on Tuesday morning.
The James and Sons banner.
The James and Sons banner.
Set up for action tomorrow.
Set up for action tomorrow.
The exhibition case.
The exhibition case.
A close up of some of the things in the case.
A close up of some of the things in the case.


Lot 160 (front cover item) and lot 94.
Lot 160 (front cover item) and lot 94.



I will not state exactly what time this morning my alarm clock was set for – suffice it to say that for some of you it would have been more like a ‘getting in’ time than a ‘getting up’ time. I departed King’s Lynn on the 6:50 bus, and of course at that time of day there was no traffic on the roads, so the bus arrived in Fakenham exactly as scheduled – just after 7:30. The walk from Fakenham town centre to the auction venue, which is quite scenic, occupied a further 20 minutes and as it happened I was the first of the James and Sons team to be at the venue. about 20 minutes later  my colleague Andrew arrived and we able to connect all the wiring and get the computers set up for running the auction. In between locating lots for people who wished to see them in the flesh before bidding (a task to which I am well suited because of another of my autistic traits – a near photographic memory which means that I generally know precisely what I am looking for and have a jolly good idea of where it will be) I also carried out sound and video checks and made sure that the computers were working as they should.

The way these auctions work is that David runs the auctions, and has the auctioneers view screen open on his computer. I meanwhile use the live auction app from ATG Media (who run and as well as recording bids, making sure that we are on the right lot and addressing any technical issues that may arise it is also my task to alert David to internet bids. I do find both the direct customer service work I do before the auction starts and then being up on the rostrum quite tough, but because it only happens once a month I can manage it.

Although this was one of our smaller auctions, there were a few highlights. Just a couple of examples: Lot 345 was a plastic box chock full of Panini Trade Cards, valued at £20-30 – and the hammer finally came down at £65. Even more remarkable to me, although there had been an inquiry about this item before the auction, lot 532 which was a “Pedigree of Hugh Fenne of Yorkshire”  had been valued at £30-40 and sold for £80.

Lot 345
Lot 345
Lot 532 in all it's glory
Lot 532 in all it’s glory
A close up of the title portion of lot 532
A close up of the title portion of lot 532
Another close up of part of lot 532.
Another close up of part of lot 532.

Once the sale was over we then had to load up the van with everything that needed to go back to the shop, go back in to the centre of Fakenham, unload everything into the shop, and then make a trip back to the racecourse for the signs we had put up to advertise our presence, the stools on which David and I had sat at the rostrum and one or two other things.

Fortunately, this was all accomplished in time for me to catch the 15:38 bus back to King’s Lynn (there is a gap in the X8’s schedule meaning that the next bus back after that was not until 17:38 – and that bus can usually be relied on … to be late).

Tomorrow will be largely devoted to updating the database with details of everyone who took part in the auction – and what they bid on and what they won and so on,

Special Post: The Hammersmith and City Line

A brief overview of the London Underground line that includes the original section that opened in 1863, with a few important links that relate to various statiions.


Previously I have limited this series to coverage of individual stations, but now I am introducing something new – full line coverage in single posts. I will give a brief glimpse of this history the line and then a little journey from west to east along the current line. I hope you all enjoy this.


On January the 10th 1863 the history of  public transport changed forever. It was then, having been constructed at the urging of city solicitor Charles Pearson in conjunction with a major road building scheme, that the world’s first underground railway, The Metropolitan Railway, opened for business. It covered just seven stops (about one fortieth of the number now served by London Underground) from Bishop’s Road (Paddington) to Farringdon Street (a little to the south of present day Farringdon). Only one line serves all of the surviving original stations (the circle and district station at Paddington is a later creation, originally called Praed Street), and that is the Hammersmith and City line. Although this was only officially separated  from the Metropolitan line in 1990, it makes sense for the purposes of this section to talk about all the branches the relate to this section as though it had always been separate. Viewed in this way, there were a total of three branches that are no longer served:

Latimer Road to Kensington (Addison Road), which latter station is now called Kensington Olympia – the London Underground connection to it from the north was severed in 1940 and has never been reinstated. Goldhawk Road to Richmond, which was served between 1877 and 1906. The only station which was completely lost as a result of the cutting of this connection was Hammersmith (Grove Road). The final connection was a track connection via a long since defunct station called St Mary’s to Shadwell on what used to be the East London line and is now part of London Overground, though deeper below the surface than any of the remaining ‘subsurface’ stations on London Underground.

Before moving on to the journey, here are a couple of map pics…

The Hammersmith and City line's history
The Hammersmith and City line’s history
In its present day setting
In its present day setting


I am not going to cover every station – just those that have a particular association for me. Those who have read previous posts of mine about this subject will be aware that I was disgusted by Philippe Parreno’s failure to meet the brief (in my eyes) for his contribution to Penguin’s 150th anniversary series of books when he got this line and produced a book that contained no words, just a series of very ethereal pictures which bore little apparent relation to the subject.


There is a shopping centre here, also the Lyric theatre, and although I mentioned him in piece on Baron’s Court, you are withing easy walking distance of St Paul’s Girls School, where Gustav Holst was once director of music.


It was from this station that the line to what is now Kensington Olympia diverged, and because this is an elevated section, track heading towards Olympia is clearly visible from the train as you travel past here.


This is the only one of the London mainline railway termini where a London Underground line is structurally part of the station. This dates to the original opening of the Metropolitan railway in 1863, when they used locomotives supplied by the Great Western Railway before falling out with that company and switching to stock supplied by the Great Northern before finally developing some of their own.


This is where the Circle line and a spur of the District meet the Hammersmith and City line (the District and Circle “Paddington” represents a decent interchange to the Bakerloo, but for the Hammersmith and City you are much better off travelling the extra stop to Edgware Road and making a cross-platform interchange.


The Hammersmith and City line platforms here (nos 5 and 6 out of a total of 10) have been restored to look as they did in 1863. This is also home to Madame Tussauds, The Planetarium and of course it is where the world’s first consulting detective had his practice.


As well as being across the road from London’s first mainline railway terminal (Euston), this is the home station for University College London (UCL for short). Just round the corner from this station is Warren Street (Northern and Victoria lines), and a view at surface level that includes both the BT Tower and Centrepoint.


At the surface a complete contrast in styles between the ‘fairytale castle’ that is St Pancras and the largely anonymous Kings Cross. The train from King’s Lynn to London terminates at King’s Cross, usually in the ‘side’ section that comprises platforms 8-11. It is here that claims to be the site for platform 9 3/4 from which the Hogwarts Express departs.


A cross-platform interchange to Thameslink services running between Bedford and Brighton. When I worked at Interpretations I used this station regularly. I also recall this area as home to the Betsey Trotwood, a pub that combined two things I love – Dickens and Real Ale.


This station opened as Aldersgate Street, then became Aldersgate before finally getting its present name of Barbican. This is one of the venues where I listened to live classical music when I lived in London. I also saw various Royal Shakespeare Company productions here.


There is a terminus here for mainline trains coming in from Finsbury Park, and there used to be a spur of Thameslink to here as well, but all of these were below the surface here, so there have never been any above ground tracks. With my home station being Tooting Bec, I used the Northern line platforms here more often than the others. Although St Pauls on the Central line is closer, I used to use this station on occasion to visit the Museum of London – accessible from there by way of the Barbican Centre.


An interchange to mainline railways, and also to the Central line. Also the point at which the Hammersmith and City diverges from the Circle and Metropolitan lines which go to Aldgate, while the Hammersmith and City heads to…


This is where the Hammersmith and City and District lines meet, and from the platforms here you can see Circle and Metropolitan line trains heading in to Aldgate as well. It was just beyond this station that a side branch used to diverge to St Mary’s and Shadwell, joining what was then the East London Railway, has subsequently been the East London line of London Underground and is now a section of London Overground.


An interchange between the District and Hammersmith and City lines and London Overground. Currently in the news because a museum supposed to be dedicated to women was actually a Jack the Ripper museum, which led to a petition and a project to create a museum that really is dedicated to the women of the East end.


The only underground cross-platform interchange between a deep-level tube line and subsurface lines on the entire system. This station also has large enamelled maps from times past featuring the Metorpolitan and District lines.


Interchanges with mainline railways, London Overground, The Jubilee Line and the Docklands Light Railway (this branch has taken over Stratford-North Woolwich, which was previously on Silverlink Metro (London Overground’s predecessor) with the addition of a trans-Thames extension to Woolwich Arsenal).


This is the eastern end of the Hammersmith and City line, although the District continues to Upminster (logic would seem to suggest that the H&C with far less to the west than the District should do the longer haul east rather than vice versa). This station has interchanges with main line railways (to Southend and Shoeburyness) and London Overground (a branch line the other end of which is at Gospel Oak).

Autism Revisited

A sequel to the most popular post in this blog’s history, “Autism”.


Welcome to this post, which you may consider to be the official follow up to my most successful ever blog post, which was posted on Saturday under the title Autism.


Yes – there are situations where having an autistic spectrum condition gives me a positive advantage (or so I see it anyway).

  1. Having a very logical mind goes with the condition, and this works in my favour in several situations, including at the bridge table and in some situations at work. For example, when I am scanning lots of small items I place the packaging organised in the order in which the images will appear on the screen (and if you are scanning a dozen separate items in one go this is very useful). Also, this ultra-logical mindset comes in very useful when working on computers and indeed when (as I have done on a volunteer basis) helping others to learn how to work effectively on a computer.
  2. My skill at mental arithmetic, which also relates directly to the condition. If I wish to ensure that, for example, a grocery shop does not exceed a certain limit that I have in mind I can tot up the bill as I pick out items and guarantee to be close.
  3. Problem solving – precisely because a number of situations are problematic for me that would not be so for a neurotypical person my problem solving skills get more practice than the neurotypical persons.
Just one image in this post - one of my more recent cormorant pictures.
Just one image in this post – one of my more recent cormorant pictures.


A couple of links here that relate to my subject matter:

  • First, courtesy of autismgazette, a piece about autistic people giving unusual answers to creative questions.
  • My other link, courtesy of scienceblogs, and therefore reflective of one of my biggest interests, about a victory in the war against quackery. Even if the treatment that has earned the person pushing it a jail sentence was not cruel, invasive and abusive (and in fact it is all three, in spades) it would still be bogus. Indeed, as those who read the original post to which this one is a sequel will be well aware I believe that it is based on an idea that is itself bogus – namely that autism should be regarded in the light of a disease and that therefore a cure should be sought.


I hope you have all enjoyed this, my second full-length essay in writing about autism from the viewpoint of an autistic person, and that some at least of you will share it.

Water Skiing and World Athletics

Brief mentions of the Hanseatic Water skiing and the World Athetics Championship, with pics and links.


This is in the nature of a catch-up post about events from this weekend.


The water skiing reference is to the Hanseatic Ski Racing which took place on the Great Ouse right here in King’s Lynn this weekend just gone. Although my involvement was very peripheral I have a few pictures…

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The World Athletics championship got under way this weekend. There have been many great moments already,none more so than Jessica Ennis-Hill regaining her world Heptahlon crown a mere 13 months after having her first child. The way she surged past Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada in the final stages of the 800m to win that event outright was reminiscent of London 2012. The other result that was greeted with near-universal approval was in the men’s 100m where Usain Bolt retained his title. People were rooting for him because of who his main rival was – if I was a betting person I would be pretty confident of putting my money on the proposition that no one not named Gatlin wanted Justin Gatlin to beat Usain Bolt – that is a penalty that one pays for being a twice-caught drugs cheat – even if bad rules which are badly applied allow you to return they do not make you popular.


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On Saturday I produced two of my most successful ever blog posts. My most successful ever, which I will be referring to more extensively in my next post, was this one about autism. The other was the latest in my “London Station by Station” which, carefully produced to coincide with day three of the Oval test match, was dedicated to Oval and Vauxhall. This latter post attracted the favourable attention of historylondon who included it in their “gobbets of the week” post. One of the other posts that made the cut for inclusion in that list was londonist’s offering “the walker’s tube map”.

As someone who writes frequently about London Underground I finish this fairly brief links section by pointing you to this splendid defence of tube workers.