Saturday, 30 November 2019

The Saturday List #243 - My top ten London Smells

The sense of smell is the one we seem to least talk about, but it is perhaps the one which is most powerful, in it's ability to transport us. I was inspired by this as I was walking down Woodlands Way, on the way home from work yesterday. I happened to catch a whiff of burning coal from someones home fire. This always gives me a great feeling of happiness. It got me thinking, what are the smells I associate with London. Here is my list

1. The smell of Burgers as you approach Loftus Road. This used to be the smell of football, but as our grounds have been gentrified, the burger vans have been pushed out. However if you get the tube to QPR, it is one ground where you still get the experience. It is always a very reassuring one.

2. The smell of the Thames outside the Tate Modern. I used to have to walk from Blackfriars Station to my office on Park St, by Borough Market. I'd often pause by the Tate Modern to take a look at St Pauls and smell the River Thames. It is best early in the morning.  Try it.
3. St Pancras Station. In my youth, St Pancras was a dirty smelly station, with diesel locomotives spewing out diesel fumes. Oddly these fumes always smelled far sweeter than the diesel from buses and taxis. The East Midlands trains are still diesel Inter City 125 units with Paxman diesel engines. They will soon go and I'll miss them. I used to love a pint in the pub on the concourse. It is deffo a nicer station, but I miss the Travellers Fayre bacon butty and the pint of Greene King IPA, especially whilst reading the evening standard.

4. Chestnuts on Oxford Street. I rarely bought these, but they always smelled amazing. I worked for a while in Windmill Street, off Tottenham Court Road, at this time of year, I'd get the tube from Oxford Circus to St Pancras, just to smell this.

5. Brick Lane. When I worked in Aldgate, we'd often adjourn to Brick Lane for a curry. The smell was divine as you walked the street. I went back recently and it has been commercialised beyond recognition, but there is still the odd whiff, which makes it all worth while.

6. The Bakerloo line at Baker Street. I've no idea why, but this station has a unique and timeless smell. I've no idea what it is, but it is worth a journey just for a whiff.

7. Borough Market. Just as Brick Lane has a marvellous smell of curry, Borough Market is a kaleidoscope of marvellous smells. The food court is an amazing place to walk along, but if you are hungry, it may cost you!
8. Outside the King Neptune in Deansbrook. We always have our favourite chippy. I went out with a girl for a while who lived around the corner from the King Neptune. It is almost impossible to walk past a fish and chip shop and not feel hungry, but I think the King Neptune smells the best of the lot. I don't know if it's the oil or the location of the extractors.

9. Liverppool Street station on the Met Line. When I worked in Aldgate, you'd always get the whiff of bacon sarnies in the morning at Liverpool street. Very nice it was too!

10. Mill Hill Park after the grass has been cut. The smell of cut grass is perhaps the smell of summer. When the sun is shining, you are walking the dog and the grass has been cut, all is well with the world. 


Please join us on Friday 13th December at 8pm at The Midland Hotel, Hendon, for the Barnet Eye Community awards and annual Xmas party. We are also looking for nominations for our community awards, click here for details. Free admission


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