Esoteric London

No. 561: Colville Road, W11

Posted in Architectural, Drains, Shops, Wildlife by esotericlondon on April 23, 2012

Colville Road, London, W11. Photo © Roger Dean 2012

The Penny Illustrated Paper – Saturday October 19th 1861:

Social Progress

A Hint From Paris.- The municipal authorities of Paris have established (says one of the chief French newspapers) squares in every place where large masses of people threaten to render the atmosphere heavy – in all the quarters too far distant from the Tuileries, Luxembourg, and Bois de Boulogne, for the inhabitants to be able to reach them easily. In London, on the contrary, with some few exceptions, there does not exist a square worthy of mention, except in the rich and airy quarters…With us, trees have been planted with a hygienic object; squares have been formed more particularly in quarters where the air stood most in need of being purified, and for that purpose trees of an especial kind, and especially absorbent, have been chosen. Fountains, also, have been erected, which impart that salutary freshness to the air which is so necessary to the workman after he has been cooped up for the whole day in the heavy atmosphere of the workshop. In London the principal object thought of appears to be the health of the trees, and there has been chosen for them a mild and wholesome climate and a clear air in the neighbourhood of the parks, in order that they might not suffer too much from nostalgia.

[The distinctive public toilet/florist shop in the picture above sits on what is known as  “Turquoise Island”. In 1993 local residents concerned  with the possibility of a “Portaloo” type construction being plonked in their midst engaged  architect Piers Gough of CZWG. His design has a public convenience at the blunt end of the building and a shop unit at the pointy end which is home to the florist Wild At Heart. R.D.]

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