Weekend roundup for 28 May
Featuring kidnapped nuns, haunted shopping centres and chicken feet
Welcome to the weekend. Today we find out what happens when you talk to strangers on the Tube, which of the Succession cast really really wants to be in the West End, and why you can’t flush the toilets at Frank’s Cafe anymore.
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🚅 If we linked to all the Elizabeth Line hot takes we’d be here all day, so we’re just going to go with the proper nerdy stuff for now. Architects Journal has taken an in-depth look at Liz’s “line-wide design” that uses a new “family of elements” to create consistency across the platforms, concourses, escalators and ticket halls. While the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (told you it would be nerdy!) rounds up the five “engineering innovations” that make the line special (including energy efficiency, “remote condition monitoring'“ and the “internet of trains”). While the FT (paywall alert) asks could Crossrail be “the last Metro” in these times of flexible working patterns and falling passenger numbers.
🚇 In less cheery rail news, the RMT union have announced that they are going to call a 24-hour strike action on June 6, the Monday after the four-day Jubilee weekend. The walkout, which centres on job losses and pensions, will probably close almost all stations in zone 1.
🛤️ Claire Harding, from the Centre for London, has written a piece for City AM warning that there’s no point having a state of the art transport system if no one in London can afford to use it (train fares are due to go up in March 2023 and that rise is “likely to be more than ten per cent”).
💀 This week some photos were released of the plague pits that were uncovered during work on the Elizabeth Line around Liverpool Street Station. The pit, which was about 2.3m² and contained 40 skeletons, was excavated in 2015 but the photos have just been released.
😷 New figures released this week show that almost 4,000 London transport passengers were issued fines for “not wearing face coverings when it was mandatory to do so”.
👮♂️ A £20,000 reward has been offered for anyone with information about the shooting of the black equal rights campaigner Sasha Johnson in Peckham a year ago. Johnson remains in hospital where she is “struggling to say more than a few words and requires constant medical attention,” but officers have so far been met with a “wall of silence” in their appeal for witnesses.
🏭 According to a new audit of 32 major cities around the world, London's buildings have the highest share of carbon emissions in the world, with almost four fifths of London’s emissions coming from its buildings:
💰 Following on from Monday’s issue, a joint investigation by the Guardian and the Belarusian Investigative Center has found that the 34-year-old son of a sanctioned Russian billionaire has a portfolio of seven London properties worth around £160m.
🇷🇺 The statue of Peter the Great which stands in Millennium Quay in Deptford has sustained thousands of pounds worth of damage after someone tried to steal it (we can only imagine that someone called Paul needed paying). Although the statue was gifted to the UK by Putin’s government it’s not thought this was a politically motivated act, but it has led to a lot of awkward discussions around who’s going to pay for the repairs.
🏗️ The long-running argument over the ‘Hondo Tower’ in Brixton might finally be reaching its conclusion. This week it was announced that the mayor will hold a public hearing about the proposed development at 20-24 Pope's Road, on 10th June. Brixton Buzz has all the details and a bit of backstory into the issues surrounding the ‘Enormo-Tower’.
🇻🇦 While everyone else has been watching the ‘Wagatha Christie’ trial and Heard v Depp, we’re keeping an eye on the ongoing trial over the Vatican’s “flawed” £300 million Chelsea real estate venture. This article from the AP sums up some of the juicy, Dan Brownish details that have come out so far, including the story of the Colombian nun kidnapped in Mali, and how the pope is not given “responsibility for certain decisions,” in order to protect him from “earthly matters”.
🛎️ We’ve all nicked something from a hotel, even if its just one of those tiny bottles of shampoo. But if you want to legitimately own something from the Dorchester then now’s your chance. The recent renovations mean that 2,000 items (including “couches, lamps, chandeliers and draperies, as well as writing desks, headboards, ottomans and coffee tables”) are going up for auction in a two day sale next month.
🌊 Monday’s Guardian contained a really nice photo essay “looking at a year in the life of the great River Thames” by urban photographer, Jill Mead.
💬 Over in the i (paywall alert), Kasia Delgado decided to chat to strangers on her commute for two weeks and, would you believe it, people were largely very nice (she did end up with mashed potato on her jeans though).
Art and culture bits
🤳 The City has a new secret Instagram destination. The Barbican Centre’s ‘sunken bars’ (the two “hospitality corners… located under the steps of the theatre”) have been given a much needed restoration and redesign (including getting rid of the asbestos). The photos in Wallpaper make it look like something out of a Kubrick film.
👨🎨️ It looks like one of the ‘must see’ exhibitions of 2022 will be After Impressionism at the National Gallery which will bring together work from Gauguin, Van Gogh, Rodin, Mondrian, Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky and Cezanne (apparently no women were making any art between 1886 and 1914).