London

Things We’ve Lost In London

The streets and neighbourhoods in London keep changing. The recent closure of a fantastic restaurant and the upcoming demolition of the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre inspired me to highlight some of those forgotten places in London that we can’t visit anymore.

Long before streaming sites there was Blockbuster to pick up movies and TV show boxes. They also had ridiculously cheap Ben & Jerry’s and sweets and snack deals. Other places that fed my book, music and movie hunger were HMV and Virgin Megastore, which had massives branches on Picaddily Circus and Tottenham Court Road with listening posts to check out new music. RIP.

I’m also sad that The Heygate Estate is gone. It was a Brutalist gem that housed over 1000 families, but has since been flattened to make place for 360 new identikit flats, just one of the too many in London. It will live on in the memories of its residents as well as the movies and shows that it was featured on, such as Attack the Block.

Watching a football game in traditional stadiums has changed over the years. Arsenal’s home base Highbury and West Ham’s Boleyn Ground were scrapped and replaced by new developments and the holy ground is now much more modern, grand and generic.

While the Millenium Dome’s white shell still remains over the top of the O2 Arena – today known for its giant events space, cinema and countless restaurants – it was originally famous as the site of the Millennium Experience – a massive celebration for the year 2000 comprising interactive exhibits, art and music.

Then there is the London Astoria, a venue in Soho and a cinema and ballroom before that. It sadly had to go down to make way for the Crossrail train project in 2009. Other London venues that have closed have included the Hammersmith Palais (2007), the Mean Fiddler (2009), The Luminaire (2010), Earl’s Court (2014), Madame JoJo’s (2014), The Good Ship (2017) and the Borderline (2019).

Battersea Power Station is probably my favourite London building and my biggest regret is not getting in queue for Open House several years back. The former coal-fired power station is being re-developed as Apple’s European head office and I’m sure they’ll open up for Open House in the future again, so fingers crossed!.

Cantina Luredo had 7(!) different types of guacamoles on their menu and it was my intention to savour them all with nachos in hand. When I walked by the other day I saw place was permanently closed and I won’t be getting my guacamole fix after all.

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