I work in the City of London.
For those who don’t live in London, it doesn’t mean the city of London. That includes places like Oxford Street, Knightsbridge and Covent Garden. I’m talking about the City of London – with a capital ‘C’. Its the old Roman square mile which is now one of the world’s major financial districts. And to those who work there, it feels more like working in a small town. On Cheapside, at the western edge of the City near St Paul’s Cathedral, the streets still are named for the goods which would have been sold there in Wren’s day. (‘Cheap’ meaning ‘market’ in Medieval English. Apparently in Medieval times, the conduits of Cheapside would flow with wine on state occasions. Now its just filled with swish American-style champagne bars and celebrity chef restaurants.)
There’s Milk Street. Honey Lane. Poultry. Old Fish Street (as opposed to Fish Street Hill leading up from Old Billingsgate Fish Market near London Bridge). And Bread Street.
I work closest to the last of these, and having qualified as a baker many years ago, I was delighted to see an artist – I didn’t catch her name – setting up her temporary exhibit there. Sound, texture, visuals, history, food, recipes and poetry – A charming mingling of baking, art and history stencilled in white flour on the street. I found it shocking to see the other City workers walking through the display, scuffing the flour poetry under their Louboutins – too busy with their BlackBerries and urban stress to notice.
I asked if she minded if I took a few photographs. She was more than happy for me to do so, and I thought I’d share them here.
What you won’t be able to appreciate from the photographs is the accompanying background soundtrack of 17th century bustling market sounds, echoeing off the walls of this small alleyway off Bread Street.