Art deco

The glamour and romance of London’s vanished department stores

There are two journeys I’ll need to make after reading Tessa Boase’s heartbreakingly poignant book about London’s lost department stores. First, to Mile End, to see the tiny Georgian building bang in the middle of the pillared façade of what used to be Wickhams and is now Tesco and Sports Direct. During Wickhams’s 1920s expansion, one neighbour, a German clockmaker called Otto Spiegelhalter, simply refused to budge, whatever the financial offer. He eventually agreed to sell his garden so that the store could expand round the back of him. But there, dwarfed by the clock tower, his two-storey house still stands, a monument to stubbornness. Next, Khan’s Bargains in Peckham

Exploring walkable Los Angeles

‘You’re going where? Why? No. No you’re not! On your own?’ This was not the response I’d hoped for when I mentioned to my friend and colleague Mary Wakefield where I planned to go on holiday. ‘What’s wrong with downtown LA?’ I asked. She said: ‘Last time I was there I saw a man stabbed in the public loo.’ I’m no snowflake, but as I touched down in LAX I had visions of corpses piled up on the sidewalk. I needn’t have worried. Mary was last here more than a decade ago and, as I discovered from the moment I left the airport, modern technology has transformed the tourist experience