According to their website, Waterstones Clapham Junction is in Battersea! The area is not part of London that we were familiar with, but is a nice area, especially the nearby Northcote Road, which has been (possibly temporarily?) pedestrianised and is full of independent shops and places to eat. After that we walked across Wandsworth Common towards our next stop of the day.
Northcote Road (left) and Wandsworth Common (right)
We were going to Ealing for the Easter weekend, so we decided to stop on the way to visit Next so that Peter could buy some new jeans, and also because this branch contains a Waterstones. This is not the first to appear inside Next – we’ve already visited the one just outside Leicester and there is also one in Enfield. This branch opened in December last year, so looks very new. Obviously being located in a retail park there was not anything else to look at, although due to its proximity to Heathrow, we did see lots of low aircraft in the area!
Godalming is a pretty market town in Surrey, located near the River Wey. The High Street featured briefly in the film The Holiday, starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz as the location of the shop where Amanda goes shopping on her first night in the UK! Godalming was also the first town to get electricity. The Waterstones here is located in an attractive red-bricked listed building, once Little George Inn.
This distinctive building was completed in 1814 as a town hall, with the tower added about eighty years later. These days the upper floor is used as a hireable meeting room and underneath is used for occasional market stalls.
Before heading to the theatre to see A Christmas Carol we had time for one more stop at the trendy north London area of Crouch End. We didn’t stay here long, but would really like to come back and explore further – it has a number of interesting buildings including the clock tower, and the Hornsey Town Hall, which sadly was boarded up when we were there, as it was being redeveloped as a community hub with housing. The Waterstones is in a beautiful building, but sadly I have been unable to find any details of the building’s history.
The top two photos show the Couch End Clock Tower and were taken by me. Below are the Hornsea Town Hall, taken by Christine Matthews and are used under the creative commons licence (see below).
‘Ally Pally’, as it is sometimes colloquially known, originally opened in 1873 but burned down just two weeks later! It was quickly rebuilt, opening again in 1875 as a public centre for the use of education, entertainment and recreation. It succumbed to another fire in 1980, destroying the Great Hall, Banqueting Suite, roller rink and theatre dressing rooms and was once again restored, reopening in 1988. The building stands atop a hill with lovely views across to London. The photos below are mine, with the exception of the last one which is also used under the creative commons licence (see below). It was taken by Jack Rose by drone in 2021 – isn’t it stunning!
Creative Commons copyrights:
Hornsey Town Hall Photos © Christine Matthews (cc-by-sa/2.0)
Alexandra Palace Aerial Photo Jack Rose (cc-by-sa/2.0)
On the last day of our weekend in London we had tickets to see A Christmas Carol at Alexandra Palace – a gift from our daughter. We stopped in North Finchley for breakfast on the way. We were there early, and it being a Sunday not much in the area was open (although we did find a brilliant café!). We popped to visit the Waterstones just before we left – it’s a fairly small store in the High Street near to the wonderfully-named Tally Ho corner!
Brent Cross Shopping Centre was the first out-of-town shopping centre in the UK and opened in 1976. We hopped on the bus from Harrow to visit the Waterstones on our way back to our hotel in Ealing. It’s one of the stores which has light wood shelving, and as a result is light and airy.
As Brent Cross is out-of-town, there wasn’t anything else here to photograph, so here’s a picture of Peter sitting with a sparkly reindeer!
We were having a weekend in west London which was postponed from May. We had plans in central London, but there was to be a tube strike, so we decided not to risk it. Instead we got the bus from Ealing to Harrow. From there we walked up to Harrow on the Hill, location of the famous Harrow public school. It was a very pretty area, but nothing much was open as the shops were all geared to the school. The area is the site of the first recorded motor accident in Great Britain! The Waterstones in Harrow is located in a busy pedestrian area in the centre of the town.
Harrow on the Hill
‘Skipping Katie’ Statue
This statue, unveiled in 2004, is located at the end of the pedestrian shopping area. Created by sculptor James Butler, it was inspired by him watching his daughter skip.
Currently reading – Luckenbooth by Jenni Fagan
I had a few exceptionally enjoyable days in London – a trip postponed from March 2020, just before most of the UK went into its first Lockdown. On my final day I decided to walk from my hotel just off the Tottenham Court Road to Notting Hill Gate before walking to Victoria to catch my coach home. There is a Waterstones here – it styles itself as Notting Hill, although technically it is in Notting Hill Gate which is, apparently, a different area!
Diana, Princess of Wales
A statue to Diana, Princess of Wales was unveiled in Kensington Gardens on 1st July this year, on what would have been her 60th birthday. Originally commissioned to commemorate the 20th anniversary of her death, it stands overlooking the sunken garden.
Currently reading – All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle
We were heading to Suffolk to visit relatives, so we only had the briefest of stops in the historic market town of Bishop’s Stortford to grab a quick lunch. We therefore didn’t have time to see the town properly, but the café we stopped in was very close to the Waterstones, so we popped in to take some photos. As you can see it is set in a modern building in the main shopping area of the town. From the little bit of the town we saw, it looked quite pretty – maybe we’ll get back one day?
Cheltenham in Gloucestershire is considered to be the most complete Regency town in Britain – it is also a spa town, the mineral waters having been discovered there in 1716. One of the town’s most celebrated residents was composer Gustav Holst, most famous for his orchestral suite, The Planets. There is a statue celebrating him in the park Imperial Gardens where he is shown standing in a classic conductor pose! The Waterstones here is located in an attractive building, originally The Imperial Hotel. It became a post office in 1876 and remained so until 1987.
Gustav Holst Statue
Currently reading – Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain