Finding Myself

I’ve just worked out where I am. By which I mean I’ve just had one of those moments when I join up two previously unrelated parts of my mental map of London.

I’m working in Appold St, which is just to the north of Broadgate. I get here in the morning by taking the tube to Moorgate and walking from there. For the past week, when I’ve been going out at lunchtime I’ve been going back south to Broadgate and Liverpool St. Today I decided I’d go the other way – and head north.

Just north of my office, Appold St becomes Curtain Road. And that’s when I realised where I was – I’m in Shoreditch. Or Hoxton if you want to be trendy (and play a bit fast and loose with geography).

When I first moved to London, I lived in university halls of residence at the western end of Old St. Here I’m near the eastern end. The whole area was all a bit dodgy in those days (the early 80s). I remember friends of mine who were in bands using cheap nasty rehearsal studios on Gt Eastern St, but all in all it was an area best avoided unless you wanted to visit a pub where ladies danced around whilst taking their clothes off.

I moved away from the area in my second year at university and then didn’t have much need to visit it until I started working for a bank in Broadgate about ten years ago. By that time the first web boom was getting underway and the area was becoming known as a popular place for web start-up companies to have their cheap shared offices. This influx of money brought with it lots of bars and restaurants and I remember spending a few evenings in bars with strange names like Cantaloupe. When we started in 1998 a lot of members were working for the start-ups that congregated in the area so I got quite used to socialising around here.

I suppose the area must have gone out of fashion when the web bubble burst. Or maybe it get going on the money of the bankers who were working just to the south. I don’t think I’ve been in this area for five years or so. But the arrival of Web Bubble 2.0 has meant that a lot of the new start-ups are again heading for this area. My short walk at lunchtime showed me that there are still many of the same bars and restaurants going.

It was an interesting walk. I remembered many of the names of the roads I was walking along, but I never really got the hang of local geography so it was still a bit of an adventure. Still plenty more exploring to do though, so I don’t think I’ll get bored over the next ffew months.

Anyone else in the area? Fancy meeting for lunch?


  1. I’m in Old Broad Street, a mere 5 minutes from Moorgate really. Always up for lunch – a sunny day in Finsbury Cicus listening to the free music and eating a sandwich would be cool. Or O’Neills pub on London Wall now it’s smoke free.

  2. I live in Mile End which is a short bike ride away. It would be nice to get out of my room/bedroom/office for a geek lunch.East London is quite cool. I love the canal and Victoria park nearer me. Though all my friends live in the South West! Very uncool.

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