Sunday, 31 December 2017

Goodbye, 2017

As another year ends and 2018 begins, here's my annual look back at the most popular posts. First, the top five of 2017:
In fifth place are vintage street features which remind us of how much has changed both legally and socially when it comes to smoking: now-empty cigarette machines
Fourth place goes to the strange underground world of Clapham South Deep Level Shelter. From World War II to Windrush, and periods as London's unlikeliest hotel, it has a surprisingly varied history. 
It's another kind of Underground for number three, an intriguing piece of vintage signage in Oakwood Station on the Piccadilly Line. 
Soaring upwards for second place are the beautiful Tulip Stairs in the Queen's House, Greenwich. An elegant combination of history, architecture, and engineering! 
In first place, the most popular of 2017's posts takes us outside London, but very much focused upon it. An underground fortress was built at Mimoyecques to fire V3 rockets at the city; fortunately, the war ended before an attack could be launched. Today it's a memorial, a bat colony, and a chilling reminder of the threats London faced. 

And the top five of all time:
Fifth is a brief history of servants' bells, which balanced privacy with convenience for the wealthy.
A more democratic invention - Shippams sandwich paste - makes a striking appearance at number four.
Striking for all the wrong reasons is the example of facadism, possibly the ugliest in London, which squats in third place.
Not pretty, but fascinating, are our second place stars: the rather macabre catacombs of Paris.
Number one every year since it first appeared is a walk through Rotherhithe Tunnel - an experience which was worthwhile in theory, truly horrible in reality. I hope that this post has spared the lungs of at least a few readers!

Finally, and most importantly, thank you to all who have read in 2017 - and I wish you all a wonderful 2018!

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