18 August 2011
Walcot Square Se11, one of London’s finest Georgian squares that just isn’t square.
From Charles Dickens’ Mr. Guppy in Bleak House, to Duke Ellington the Jazz musician, to Sir John Gielgud, to journos, politicians, electricians, therapists, butchers, agents, architects, medics, dinner ladies, cleaners and every other walk of life, this wedge of London living has retained a sense of historic charm.
The triangle (square) is like a diary lea cheese slice in its uniformity.
The 70 or so three storey homes that encircle the triangular square all confirm to the covenant that they are under – black doors, no satellite dishes, no pebble dash or stone cladding and the result is harmonious uniformity… of a kind.
The centerpiece to the ‘square’ is the triangular patch of grass behind wrought iron railings.
This green triangular centrepiece is gated, locked to all – except any resident with a child under three years of age. In the seven years I lived in the square I never got my head round this – why is it locked? for fear of it being overrun with ‘ne’er do wells’? or heaven forbid any of the residents sitting on the bench reading the paper making an unsightly mess?
This quintessential piece of London is a square with a socio- economic mix of residents but somehow to me it is scuppured at it’s root by the locked centerpiece – the Narnia no one can enter, the ‘look but don’t touch’ enforcement. As a resident, I always struggled with this sense of exclusion, I think it perpetrates a sense of them and us in the square that does little to enhance community.
Still, despite this, it is a beautiful nod to Georgian charm and a step back in time that is simple and intriguing.
Well worth a wander.
By Square Dancer, Kennington
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