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Pavements in the sky (Part 2)

So, hopefully you’ve arrived here from the first part of Pavements in the sky and have watched the video? If not, part two isn’t going to make much sense. Make yourself a nice cuppa and sit down for thirty minutes and catch up on the video and then come back here.

London is always changing, some things disappear to be replaced with things that look completely different, but do have the same function, and some things just disappear. The later is perhaps half true of the proposed London Pedway scheme. As you will have seen in the first part of this post the scheme was an abject failure, a glorious scheme that just over reached itself. The fascinating thing is though, just imagine if the planners had been able to pull it off, wow, what a difference it would have made to the city as a whole.

I’ve read and seen many articles and films about the Pedway scheme, some old and some up to date, but the golden rule is, always see for yourself. Things change so fast that even the documentary in the first post is slightly out of date. So with an afternoon to spare I set off with my camera to see what remains of this white elephant.

My first port of call was the Barbican. I chose this because it is really the only functional part of the proposed system. It’s a tantalising glimpse into how brilliant the scheme could have been if the idea had continued through the rebuilding of the City after the Second World War. I realise that the architectural style isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but you can’t argue that it’s not dramatic. Personally I love the Barbican, my only regret is that I can’t afford to live there. So, to stop me rambling on about it I’ll let my pictures do the talking.

The Barbican encompasses the dream of the Pedway system. You move about above the traffic, the development is residential and combines itself with schools and the arts centre, perhaps the only things missing are shops. I must have wandered around for about an hour, always finding another pedway route to take a look down. Finally I worked my way back to more familiar territory as the route brought me alongside St Giles, Cripplegate.

The walkways in this area are open on one side to allow light to flood in and to give great view over the complex. As you exit the area known as the Postern you used to only have the option of following the pedway until you reached London Wall, turning right and heading back towards the Museum of London. It is here that since 2017 there has been a new addition to the pedway scheme and the designers have made it stand out by not following the strict linear contours of the existing system.

There are a couple of tributary’s off the main route which takes you alongside parts of the the Roman and medieval wall.

Then you cross the road known as London Wall to emerge into the area behind the Guildhall. This was a designated pedway area in the 1970 but was never joined up to the main network. It’s not the nicest of areas, with it’s horrible 1980s style buildings, which I believe are earmarked for redevelopment.

And this is where the network as far as the Barbican area is concerned ends. Descending to ground level I made my way to the remaining pedway at Bishopsgate about a five minute walk up London Wall, but I’ll save that for part 3.

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