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Series Two: Episode Nine – The Outer Circle – from the Northwest Passage to the World’s End Causeway

In this final episode of the series, we take you on a lop-sided perambulation through ‘remote London’ from the north-west passage at Brent Cross to the eastern Gateway on the Thames Estuary at Tilbury. Along the way they take in a jaunt along the buried and forgotten Philly Brook in Leytonstone, the Middlesex Tertiary Escarpment, the Southern Outfall Sewer, the Ilford of Thomas Burke’s Outer Circle and the lost pleasure gardens of Finsbury and Pentonville.
With music by Europa51 and readings by Heidi Lapaine from The Arcades Project by Walter Benjamin, The Outer Circle: Rambles in Remote London by Thomas Burke, and The Kings England: Essex by Arthur Mee.

Download this episode here

Series Two: Episode Eight – An Estuarine Odyssey – Tilbury

This week John Rogers and Nick Papadimitriou head down the A13 to Tilbury led by geologist Dr Kate Spencer from Queen Mary, University of London and musician Andy Ramsay from Europa51.

They walk the foreshore of the windswept Thames Estuary between the two Tilbury forts,  over the cracking surface of an historic the 1930s landfill site pushing up Shippam’s paste jars through the flaking clay cap which also sprouts poisonously hallucinogenic thorn apple plants.

With readings by Heidi Lapaine to music by Europa51

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Series Two: Episode Seven – London Topographical Bookfest

Nick and John discuss a selection of their favourite London books with readings to music by Europa51.
They delve into Montague Sharpe’s Middlesex in British, Roman and Saxon Times (1919); William Margrie’s The Diary of a London Explorer (1933); Gordon S. Maxwell’s Highwayman’s Heath (1935) and HV Morton’s London (1926).

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Series Two: Episode Six – Finsbury and Pentonville

This week Nick and John take a languid winter stroll along the arbours of the pleasure grounds and spa resorts of Finsbury and Pentonville.

Heading by way of a dank Saffron Hill with talk of Oliver Twist and the Sabini Gang they take in Coldbath Square, The Islington Spa, Bagnigge Wells, St. Chads and others mentioned in Old London’s Spas, Baths & Wells by S.P. Sunderland (1915).
They discuss the cluttered local history of the area now under the auspices of the London Borough of Islington and some of the more imaginative mythology concerning the Penton Mound.

With reading by Heidi Lapaine and music by Europa51

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Series Two: Episode Five – The Eastern Queen – Ilford

Inspired by Thomas Burke’s The Outer Circle: Rambles in Remote London, Nick Papadimitriou and John Rogers explore the far-lying eastern suburb of Ilford.
Burke , like other writers of the early 20th Century, was disdainful of Ilford. Writing in 1921 he said of ‘the Eastern Queen’ that, “After Walthamstow it comes as tepid soda-water upon an August noon. Ilford wears an expression of unfulfilled desire. It hungers for colour. Even the rush and turmoil about the Broadway have a frigid tone.”

Nick and John ignored his advice and headed out along the Romford Road to find a visionary landscape, optimistic and vibrant, ‘rising from alluvial Essex’.
With reading by Heidi Lapaine and music by Europa51

Download this episode here

Watch a video from the walk in Ilford here

Series Two: Episode Four – Plumstead to Cross Ness along the Southern Outfall Sewer

This week John and Nick follow their noses out along the Southern Outfall Sewer or the ‘Bazalgette Express’  across the marshes from Plumstead to Cross Ness.

Guided by The Lure and Lore of London’s River by A.G. Linney (1920′s) they perambulate the raised path that follows the final journey of south London’s sewage to its terminus at the sewage colony at Cross Ness Point, ‘the place where all things end’. John and Nick cast this 32 acre site as one of London’s most significant sites, sat at the river’s edge at the end of the marshes.
The flat expanse of Plumstead Marshes now accommodates Belmarsh Prison and Thamesmead Estate, with the dark ridge of Bostall Woods rising above. This is a classic and landscape.
With reading by Heidi Lapaine and music by Europa51.

Download the podcast here

Series Two: Episode Three – Scarp

This week we head out onto the North Middlesex/South Hertfordshire Escarpment, subject of a forthcoming book by Nick.
Scarp is a conspicuous but broken ridge running from Batchworth Heath, near Harefield, on the Middlesex-Buckinghamshire border, via Oxhey to Elstree and thence eastward to High Barnet. Further east, the ridge runs through Hadley and Enfield Chase, widening considerably north of the former place towards Shenley and North Mimms. The eastern edge of Scarp curves north and then north-east, following the River Lee upstream into Hertfordshire, until it diminishes in height in the region of Hertford and Great Amwell. Much of the land is green belt broken by small clusters of dwellings, old farms and ribbons of Victorian suburban houses. Scarp attains its greatest height at Stanmore Common (480 ft).

With a reading from the book by Nick Papadimitriou and music by Europa51

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Series Two: Episode Two –  Leytonstone & Leyton: Across the North-eastern frontier

This week’s show comes to you entirely from Leytonstone & Leyton as Nick Papadimitriou and John Rogers explore the valley of the Philly Brook – the buried and forgotten stream that runs beneath the streets of the London zone that begat Alfred Hitchcock, London’s short-lived ‘Left Bank’ and the great Panjandrum.
This is an area sitting on the north-eastern frontier, within a triangulation of green spaces – Leyton Marshes, Wanstead Flats and Epping Forest. This is also a place that by the mid-1990s had the largest population of artists of anywhere in Britain.
There are also field recordings as Nick and John go in search of the stream and are joined by local historian David Boote. There is reading by Heidi Lapaine with music by Europa 51.

Download the podcast here


Series Two: Episode One – Brent Cross

This week we’ll be taking you on a drift from Golders Green to Brent Cross, exploring the liminal zones in-between, land on the cusp of redevelopment and a derive through the Regional Shopping Centre during late-night midweek shopping.
Includes field recordings, reading by Heidi Lapaine from Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project and music from Europa 51.

Download the podcast here

Series One

Episode Seven – It Isn’t Far From London by SPB Mais (1931)

In this final episode in the series Nick and John delve into the topographical writing of SPB Mais. Mais was one of the most famous media figures of the 1930’s and 40’s. He presented a number of popular programmes on BBC radio including Microphone at Large and This Unknown Island.

In this episode he is presented as a forward thinking almost proto-psychogeographer in his approach to the experience of walking and a radical call to arms to embrace both the past and the future from the forces of commerce. Nick describes his writing as a kind of nature mysticism.

The walk from Mais’s It Isn’t Far From London that was recorded for the show was an epic tramp from Slough through Stoke Poges, Burnham Beaches, Hedgerley then along the M40 in the gloom to Beaconsfield.
With readings by Heidi Lapaine.

Originally broadcast December 16th 2009.

Download the podcast here

Here is some video footage from that walk cut with extracts from the audio recordings used in the show.


Episode Six – The Face of London by Harold P. Clunn (1932)

“Those who walk see most”

Clunn’s weighty tome is an exhaustive survey of London and its environs – probably the most comprehensive compendium of the city covered in this series exploring the world of early C20th topographical walking books. Clunn was a strident spokesman for the pedestrian – chronicling the gradual alienation of the walker from the streets to the designated walkways.
John and Nick sift through the 25 walks covered in the Face of London and set out to follow Clunn’s haphazard route from Highbury through Holloway to Highgate, revelling in the geological infrastructure of the northern heights laid bare and the powerful mythology of the zone around Crouch End with its vampire legends, zombie movie, and serial killer.

With readings by Heidi Lapaine.

Download the podcast here

originally broadcast 9th December 09

Episode Five – The Story of Roxeth by T L Bartlett

In this episode Nick and John explore the lost ancient quarter of Roxeth as described in T L Bartlett’s Story of Roxeth. Bartlett creates ‘deep topography’ of the area now known as South Harrow, outlining its mythology, history as a Roman settlement, its fields and rivers and the birds, particularly the Rooks from whom it derives its name.

Tim Bradford, author of The Groundwater Diaries, joins the team for a walk following the Roxbourne stream.

With readings from The Story of Roxeth by Heidi Lapaine.

Download the podcast here

originally broadcast on 2nd December 2009


Episode Four – The London Perambulator by James Bone (1925)

This week John and Nick take a dérive through James Bone’s The London Perambulator published in 1925. Bone’s view of the city was idiosyncratic and hard to pin down, he was drawn to the overlooked and maligned corners of the metropolis. He dreamed of having the keys to the spirit of London and preached the virtues of night-time perambulations in all weathers.

Includes readings by Heidi Lapaine and field recordings retracing the chapter on North O’Euston.

Download the podcast here

originally broadcast on 25th November 2009


Episode Three – Afoot Round London by Pathfinder (1911)

Nick and John take a lopsided ramble through Pathfinder’s Afoot Round London (published in 1911) and get lost in the Essex Golden Triangle between Chigwell and Loughton.

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Watch a video from the walk

Originally broadcast on 18th November 2009


Episode Two – The Fringe of London by Gordon S. Maxwell (1925)

John and Nick take a topographical ramble through the pages of The Fringe of London by Gordon S. Maxwell published in 1925. They hold this book as being the holy text of the suburban wayfarer. Includes field recordings of a trip to Monks Park near Wembley following Maxwell’s chapter on that area when it was a rural district. They also discuss Maxwell’s writing with Professor Kristen Bluemel.

Download the podcast here

Originally broadcast on Wednesday 11th November 2009


Episode One – The English Topographical Tradition and psychogeography

In the first episode of this new series Nick Papadimitriou and John Rogers  look at the rich tradition of early 20th century topographical walking guides to London and the South East. Each episode is a wayward topographical ramble through the pages of a different book. Episode 1 introduces the English topographical tradition and examines the impact it has had on contemporary approaches to psychogeography.

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Ventures and Adventures in Topography 5:00 – 5:30pm November 4th 09 repeated Monday 9th November 10 – 10.30pm


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