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BBC London Talk the Walk
John Kennedy and Big George.








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North Street SW4 to the Holy Trinity Church on Clapham Common by John "the Cabby" Kennedy.

Well here we are at North Street Clapham a very busy junction with the Wandsworth and Silverthorne Road. We shall be walking straight down North Street, but first notice the rather trendy looking bar on the right hand side called the Artesian Well also opposite in a slightly more dilapidated building we have a licensed mini-cab office.

Off we go down North street and straight away you notice the terraced houses Victorian I suggest due to their bay windows and literally opposite a row of flat fronted rather twee looking properties. We move on nearer to the Old Town and we come across a modern building on the left which just happens to be a Virgin Active Gym. This area is very middle class, very professional but again mixed amongst or should I say surround by council estates, like I've stated before a reasonable balance is achieved between the different social classes. Now on the right hand side of the road you will notice a bar called Traders, serves dim sum and one of the highlights of this walk must be the fact that my pal and one of my mentor's Big George of bbc London 94.9 fm was born here in Clapham ! George this is proof if ever it was needed you are a true working class hero, you can make it in life where ever you come from, for this like many parts of London was a harsh but beautiful place to grow up in.

Now we have reached a mini-roundabout and we bear right and keep to the left hand side of the carriageway, ( building work is taking place here so be careful ). We are now in the Old Town and as we walk along notice the Georgian feel to the properties on the right, notice the 1970's look to the fire station on the left, in fact this part of Clapham as a village feel to it. Turn left by the fire station and take a brisk walk around Grafton Square. I like these squares because they are so practical, nice green space in the middle for children to play in. So we walk back up where we entered the Square and again turn left and back into the Old Town notice the building on the left, Maritime house with ships upon the brown wooden doors, a bow of a ship upon it's small tower at the top of the building flanked by rather large stone fishes, for this was originally the Seaman's Union head office. Now the flag flying above the building is the Rail Maritime and Transport Union flag, probably the countries most effective trade union which just happens to be led by Bob Crow a very intelligent working class Londoner. Have to say this is a nice brick building, now next to Maritime house is a row of three to four houses, small front gardens but each of a nice design, the last as upon it a blue plaque informing us a chap by the name of John Francis Bentley lived here. He was a accomplished architect who in 1894 was commissioned to build Westminster Cathedral which is a remarkable place of worship. Sadly John Francis Bentley died before his work was completed.

Opposite this row of houses is a bus stand with stop, it really is a busy part of the Old Town and behind I could say hidden is a fantastic looking public house called the Rose and Crown now this little odd shaped piece of land is called the Polygon. We will continue to walk down onto the Pavement plenty of very swish looking shops on the left but we notice the common appears on the left so when it is safe to do so cross this road and walk onto the common you will see the small pond to your right and amongst the rather mature but beautiful trees you notice a rather large Church, the Holy Trinity Clapham.

This Church is beautiful it has a nice entrance and curved path within its border, notice how mature the trees, if they could talk they could tell a few tales. Also right in front of the Church is a large stone cross to honour those who died in the great war of 1914-19, a later inscription is upon it to honour those who died in the second world war of 1939-45. Now I would like you to do a about turn (180 degree.), you now face the front door which for the size of this Church happens to be very small ! Notice the boot scrapers set into the walls, plus the lists of those who paid the ultimate price in the first world war flanking the front door. But this Church holds a very interesting place in the history of this great nation for William Wilberforce worshipped in this great building and he also met and campaigned for the abolition of the slave trade here with other members of the Clapham Sect. Wilberforce was a Member of Parliament who campaigned on many social issues, in 1807 the slave was abolished, in 1833 an act of Parliament was passed which freed all slaves throughout the British Empire. Look up to the right hand corner by the front of the Church and you will see the second blue plaque on this walk commemorating the fact that William Wilberforce stood upon this land and made this country a better place for all.

Take your time walking around this beautiful Church and remember you're walking where a great man walked to, look up and admire the clock face and bell tower and the rather different looking rear to this building.

Wilberforce was a force for good in his day, dialogue and debate changed the world, he made it a better place. So if you fancy a little heated debate tune the Big George show on bbc London 94.9 fm between 2.00-6.00 am Monday to Friday and on Wednesday morning at 2.15 am you'll get the chance to hear me "talk the walk" and maybe I'll get you talking and walking around the finest planet on the globe, London !
John Kennedy Talk The Walk






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