Reflecting On Centuries Of Building

Jackie drove me to and from New Milton for me to travel to The Tas Turkish restaurant in The Cut to lunch with Carol.

For a little variety I walked from Waterloo Station through the early Victorian terraced streets to the East of Waterloo Road.

Roupell Street SE1Roupell Street SE1 2Cornwall Road SE!

Typical is Roupell Street which has Valentino Hairdressers on one corner and Konditor and Cook’s attractive bakers on the other. Typical of the mid-nineteenth century, these dwellings have no front gardens and a narrow hall leading to the rooms inside. These two bedroomed properties can be found on the market for more than £1,000,000. I can assure those readers across The Pond that the correct number of noughts is shown here. The street lamps are probably reproductions.

Victorian chimneys and modern block

Modern glass fronted blocks tower above the London stock brickwork and terra cotta chimneys of their older neighbours. Since London is a smoke free zone the chimneys are probably retained for cosmetic purposes.

Chimneys, aerials, cables

Telephone cables and television aerials add touches of two further centuries to the original buildings.

Wootton Street Railway arch

These side streets are lined with railway arches over which lines run into the terminal railway station. This proximity renders the tranquil nature of the historic little streets, off the bottlenecked The Cut, quite surprising.

Reflected terraces

In Cornwall Road a shorter wall of glass reflects the terraces opposite,

Reflections of blocks

and in Webber Street, alongside The Old Vic, a more lofty block carries the images of others on the opposite side.


The flats in The Cut, reflected in a puddle on which float recently fallen autumn leaves, were built in the period between the new and the old. The soggy dog end spilling tobacco into the bottom left of the picture is a common sight, now that smoking is prohibited in workplaces or public buildings.


A working crane, like this one beyond the end of Short Street, is not an uncommon sight.

Carol and I enjoyed an excellent meal with our usual pleasurable conversation. Although we chose different starters, we both savoured the tasty chicken casserole, and moist baklavas, with a glass each of the house wines.


  1. Thank you for another walk in London. I went to the Old Vic while I was in London.
    We have the same number of naughts on the price of apartments now and stamp duty on top of that price is high, so if I want to move from my cottage it would be a straight swap and not worthwhile.
    Goes to show that people with no regard for their own health and others’ would throw their rubbish onto the streets…but they are addicts and may not be in control of their brains or action.

  2. Regarding litter, I just wanted to make the comment that this is the first time, I’ve ever lived in a downtown area and the cigarette butts are nothing compared to the little red mint candy wrappers that are on the street here from a restaurant. Customers, pay their bill, they pick up the mint, walk out, and throw wrapper on the ground. There are hundreds of them in the gardens I tend in the spring. The restaurant owner says he is not responsible because he didn’t tell them to throw them on the street. The cigarette smokers, at least, have an excuse that they can’t put a burning stub in their pocket.
    Derrick, all those Victorian buildings are so charming. I’d love to see the interiors.

    1. Thank you for this full response, Ginene. I’d like to see inside, too. I only know about the narrow passageways inside, because I’ve seen people in their doorways

  3. In the background of the last picture is the strange tower at Elephant, the Strata that looks like a serious old owl atop with it’s rotating windturbines; not sure when you were last at the Elephant but it is changing rapidly. And given how awful it was, it has to be for the better, even if the traffic just now is chaos.

      1. Thank you Derrick! You helped spark a whole conversation about what it was like to live in London the year before I married and moved back to Scotland in 1979,
        Some fun memories that’s for sure. ?

  4. Thanks for another tour. I especially liked the photos with the reflections.
    I know there are small, old buildings in Philadelphia that are also quite expensive in areas that used to be considered “undesirable,” but now are trendy, but probably not as expensive as in New York or Boston.

  5. They call it “gentrification” here: the rehabilitation of beautiful old buildings that once declined to near slums, were bought up cheap by enterprising real estate investors, and now make beautiful, VERY EXPENSIVE apartments for well-heeled yuppies. As a former smoker, I still have a soft spot in my heart for the smokers of today….so banished, so exiled, so politically incorrect…..

  6. I mostly took the walk for the scenery and details, Derrick. I like old, softened edges on bricks that have been around for a long, long time. I like the peaks and the plateaus, the shiny photos aren’t as interesting as the quaint rounded corners with shops. Thank you for the photos, I am a bit headachey so I didn’t read your words or comments. Take care and hope you and Jackie have a wonderful rest of the week. We are (at work) on the downhill slope, thank goodness. Hugs, Robin

  7. Across the pond, we have a daughter who lives in New York City, so the London prices aren’t at all shocking. But as they are in New York City, the prices are too damned high!

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