The Anonymous Widower

Walking Through De Beauvoir Town

I took these pictures as I walked through de Beauvoir Town, as I walked through today on my way to and from the doctor’s to get my hand dressed.

There wasn’t many people about and I perhaps only got within three metres to one person and her dog.

What would help would be a few seats, so that elderly people like me could take a break.

March 23, 2020 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

The Need For Small Offices In London

The De Beauvoir Block is a block near me, that contains several dozen small office units.

As the pictures show, the offices in the extension, seem to be all spoken for.

Brexit may or may not be happening, but London still seems to be going its own way!

May 1, 2019 Posted by | Business | , | Leave a comment

Dalston Goes French

I know that De Beauvoir Town, where I live, is next to Dalston’s Kingsland Road, which is the local High Street, but surely for the local Marks and Spencer to sell sandwiches labelled in French is going a bit far.

What would the Rees-Moggies say of this?

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Food | , , , | Leave a comment

Why I’m In Favour Of Cycling Superhighways

Near me there is a junction, which drivers access, like Lewis Hamilton going into the pits at Silverstone.

It means they can get through to the City quicker.

But over the last few weeks, the number of drivers taking the bend quickly and putting pedestrians in danger has dropped significantly. I’ve also seen drivers go hurtling off doiwn the road only to come back a couple of minutes later, with faces like thunder.

I just give them a knowing look!

So why has a dangerous junction become a lot safer?

Cycling Superhighway 1, goes across the rat-run and it has been used to choke off the rats, as the pictures show.

I’m now very much in favour of the Cycling Superhughways despite being told by every taxi-driver I use, that they are a complete pain!

But then I don’t drive!

December 24, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Is This How To Do Small Business?

Opposite Ed’s Shed in De Beauvoir Town is an old factory block of indeterminate age, with little architectural merit.

So what is happening?

It is being turned into a series of units for small businesses called the De Beauvoir Block.

Surely, we need more initiatives like this?

I should say, that although De Beauvoir Town is mainly residential, tucked into lots of the nooks and crannies , there are small business units.

Like the De Beauvoir Block, many have been created by the landowner, the Benyon Estate.

The estate are not distant, like many of the owners of large parts of our cities, but seem to want to create a vibrant and prosperous community.

After all, modern economics says they would make more money by flattering the block and building tower blocks of buy-to-leave flats.

The biggest tragedy of the area is that parts of De Beauvoir Town were demolished in the 1960s to build anonymous local authority housing, some of which has already been rebuilt.

The good thing though, is that there are still more nooks, crannies and factories to do some more creative development.

July 1, 2016 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Ed’s Shed

This house is in the heart of De Beauvoir Town, which is the area of London, where I live on the Northern edge.

Ed's Shed

Ed’s Shed

It is an unusual modern house to sit amongst all the Georgian ones. It is not the only one in the Conservation Area.

It’s called Ed’s Shed and there is a web site.

I like it!

Why don’t we get more adventurous modern houses? Architects are creating the future and we don’t want uniformity!

July 1, 2016 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

Walking From De Beauvoir Town To London Fields

This walk follows the route that I traced in Cycling Across De Beauvoir Town.

I’ll show the Google Map from that post

Cycling Across De Beauvoir Town

Cycling Across De Beauvoir Town

The route, which I started on Southgate Road is traced by the blue line. I continued up Middleton Road to London Fields.

These are pictures I took on the way.

It is an absolutely flat route, except for the dip under the railway. This will surely encourage people to walk and cycle along it.

November 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Cycling Across De Beauvoir Town

When I wrote Walking From Haggerston Station To Mare Street, I hadn’t realised how the scheme to effectively convert Middleton Road into a car-free route, would affect De Beauvoir Town.

Look at this Google Map, which shows the car-free route across London Fields.

Car-Free Route Through London Fields

Car-Free Route Through London Fields

The map is rather vague about what happens when it crosses the Kingsland Road and all it shows is a wavy line, which if you enlarge it and use a magnifying glass, has something like Northchurch Road written on it. This Google Map shows the area from Southgate to Kingsland Roads.

Cycling Across De Beauvoir Town

Cycling Across De Beauvoir Town

I think as Middleton Road links up to the South Side of De Beauvoir Square, that the downward kink in the route is De Beauvoir Square, so the route goes past St.Peter’s Church and then up Northchurch Road. For the first part of Northchurch Road, the route is following the route of the Cycle Superhighway CS1, that goes up Culford Road.

The two cycling routes are marked in blue on the map.

If the traffic scheme in London Fields is made permanent, I think I will be pleased, as it would give me a car-free cycle route from my house to the Cultural Quarter of Hackney.

If there were Boris Bike stations in De Beauvoir and London Fields, I wouldn’t even have to buy a bike.

On the other hand the London Fields scheme could generate a lot of cycling traffic through De Beauvoir Town.

Others might not be so pleased!

Later I walked the route and there are photographs of it in Walking From De Beauvoir Town to London Fields

November 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Walthamstow Doesn’t Like Going Dutch!

This article from the Waltham Forest Guardian is entitled Grand opening of mini Holland scheme dominated by angry protestors.

I have posted it, as we are getting the Cycle Superhighway through where I live in the northern part of D Beauvoir Town in the near future and there are various opposing groups wanting or not wanting road closures and different parking restrictions.

As a Control Engineer, who has quite a bit of experience of dealing with complex liquid flow systems in chemical plants, I think that Councils tend to take a too definitive approach to the problem.

So my experience of chemical plants was in the late 1960s and we used an amazing PACE 231R. But that machine was the state-of-the-art computer of its day for solving differential equations. The computer was also the unrecognised star of the amazing rescue of the astronauts on Apollo 13.

The aim of the modelling in the chemical plant was to get different chemical streams flowing at the right rate into various reaction vessels, where they could be safely reacted and handled. The reaction products would then flow off in a controlled manner in other directions.

On a chemical plant the flows are controlled by various measures, but typically by valves, of which a domestic example is your mains water stop cock.

Often after modelling the flow system, it was found that the various valves were set almost to a fixed position for normal running of the plant.

If you look at traffic flows in say Walthamstow Village, as in the article, or De Beauvoir Town, you have an area bounded by main routes, which is crossed in a random manner by buses, cars, cyclists, pedestrians and trucks.

So what is different between modelling fluid and traffic flows?

Mathematically, it is the same process, but there is no variable method for regulating traffic flows.

The only regulation in De Beauvoir Town and other traffic systems is the brain of cyclists, pedestrians and regular drivers, who adapt their route according to their knowledge.

What the Mini Holland system in Walthamstow and other systems try to do is modify the thought processes of regular uses. The problem is that it may do that with the regular uses, but it doesn’t influence say your casual driver, who ventures into the area.

So in Walthamstow the local businesses and others see the drop in traffic and protest.

We need to apply more subtle ways of regulating the traffic, through areas like Walthamstow Village, that are understood by everybody.

  • Speed limits should be set to twenty and they should be enforced. The Police need all the money they can get, so I would be happy to see mobile enforcement cameras on the top of Police vehicles parked at the side of the road.
  • Computer-controlled traffic lights can be used as restrictors, so for instance at a notorious place where rat-runners enter an area, a pedestrian-crossing with lights could be placed. Timings could be adjusted automatically to the day of the week and time of the day.
  • Speed humps aren’t as affective as they used to be. Perhaps car suspensions are better and Councils have softened them, so they don’t get sued?
  • Cambridge has used rising bollards, that are automatically opened by certain vehicles, like buses, taxis, fire engines and ambulances.
  • Even physical gates can even be opened and closed at various times. Suppose to calm an area, there was a need to shut off a road past a church. Why couldn’t it be opened on Sundays?

We are not being innovative enough.

Solutions like mini Hollands and just shutting routes are just too simplistic for a complex city like London.

As an aside, I’m old enough to remember London’s first experiment in traffic managment.

Green Lanes through Harringay in the 1960s was even more crowded with traffic than it is today. So traffic lights were put every fifty metres or so between Harringay Green Lanes and Turnpike Lane stations. There are quite a lot less lights today.

It cut the traffic through the area, but we all diverted through the side streets and made the lives of residents hell!



November 7, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Will Crossrail 2 Affect De Beauvoir Town?

The recent publication of the latest plans for Crossrail 2 and the launch of a consultation about the project has led me to ask me the question that is the title of this post.

A Few Truisms About Large Projects

I was involved with large projects and writing software to help them get built on time and on budget and hopefully in a more affordable and less disruptive manner for over thirty years.

This leads me to  a few truisms about large projects.

  • What gets built in the end after extensive consultation, is often very different from the original plans.
  • Successive similar projects get better and more affordable.
  • More time spent planning a project, often results in a better and more affordable project.
  • Political interference often results in a worse and more costly project.
  • Good design, engineering and architecture costs less than bad.

As the design and planning process for Crossrail 2 is being started fifteen years before the stated opening in 2030, hopefully London will get this one right!

The Consultation

The consultation has a page on the Transport for London web site.

There are masses of pages to read, but if you have better things to do, then at least give the three Crossrail 2 documents in the following sections, a quick butchers.

I’ve added a few notes in the next few sections.

A Typical Crossrail 2 Station

These are my thoughts on a typical Crossrail 2 stationa typical Crossrail 2 station

This diagram shows how a typical station will be laid out underground.

A Typical Crossrail 2 Station

A Typical Crossrail 2 Station

Note the two shafts at each end, which provide ventilation and access. In some places, but not Dalston, they are difficult to fit amongst the buildings.

One of the reasons Balham has been chosen rather than Tooting Broadway, is that shafts at Balham fit in a Waitrose car park and where a rather poor 1960s office block sits.

Crossrail 2 Shafts

These are my thoughts on Crossrail 2 shafts

These allow access from the surface to the tunnels and trains, for stations, emergency access and ventilation.

There will be two shafts proposed for Dalston; one by Dalston Kingsland station and one by Dalston Junction station to ventilate and provide emergency access to the platform tunnels up to thirty metres down.

Don’t think that the top of shafts will be eyesores like this one in Graham Road for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

Graham Road Ventilation Shaft

If you want to get a look at this awful monument to bad urban design, look to your right, as you arrive at Hackney Central station on a westbound North London Line train.

We’ve come a long way since that one was built. This is a computer visualisation of what is being built in Mile End Park for Crossrail.

Mile End Park Vent Shaft

I think it’s also been designed to serve as a viewing mound for the pitches nearby.

You can get a good view of the site from the top of 277 bus going to Leamouth, as the bus runs alongside Mile End Park.

Ventilation shafts can even be incorporated into buildings.

Moor House

This Norman Foster- designed building is Moor House on Moorgate and it incorporates a Crossrail ventilation shaft for the massive Liverpool Street/Moorgate Crossrail station. Wikipedia says this about Moor House and its use by Crossrail.

Completed in 2004, it was the first building to be designed for the forthcoming Crossrail, with a ventilation shaft to the station underneath the building. It has the deepest foundations in London, which reach down 57 metres (187 ft) and are specifically designed to withstand further tunneling below it in the future.

I’m sure these days if you wanted to put a tunnel ventilation and access shaft by St. Paul’s Cathedral, one of our very good architects could find an acceptable solution.

Practically though, as Crossrail 2 is now being designed and probably won’t be finished until 2030, that gives us a long time to create the needed ventilation shafts in buildings that are developed on the sites where they will go.

Dalston Station

These are my thoughts on Crossrail 2’s Dalston Factsheet

This is their description of the station.

The Crossrail 2 station at Dalston would be a double-ended station, with an interchange at Dalston Junction at the southern end, and an interchange with Dalston Kingsland at the Northern end.

The Crossrail 2 station at Dalston would be underground and could include:

  • 2×250 metre long platforms. Station platform tunnels around 20 metres below ground level to the top of the tunnel
  • An enhanced station entrance and ticket hall onto Kingsland High Street, for interchange with Dalston Kingsland station
  • An enhanced station entrance and ticket hall onto Dalston Lane, for interchange with Dalston Junction station

This map from Crossrail 2’s document shows the layout of the new station.


Note how that most of the station is  underneath Kingsland High Road. I think it could be deeper than their proposed twenty metres, if it has to go under the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, which runs in a tunnel in-line with the North London Line.

The two black squarish icons are the two station shafts, as were shown in the picture of a typical station.

I estimate that the Northern shaft is opposite Dalston Kingsland station to the North of Ridley Road in a block that contains the NatWest bank and Kings Land Butchers.

The Northern Station Shaft Will Be Here


The Southern one is on the West side of Kingsland Road, just North of Tottenham Road.As A Coeliac I Won't Miss Subway

Will the buildings on these sites be missed?

Personally, I won’t miss the Subway, as I’m a coeliac and have to be gluten-free.

Railway Development In Dalston

Before looking at the effect of Crossrail 2 on Dalston and De Beauvior Town, I will look at other rail developments that could also have an effect.

  1. Twenty-four six-car trains per hour on the East London Line – This proposal is in some of Transport for London’s published documents and plans have already been published to increase the number of trains through Dalston Junction from sixteen to twenty trains per hour, by 2019.
  2. More trains on the North London Line – If the level of freight trains can be reduced, plans exist to increase the number of passenger services through Dalston Kingsland station.
  3. East London Line Trains to Willesden  – This was talked about in the original proposals for the Overground, but was dropped, probably to cut costs.
  4. HS2 at Old Oak Common – Transport for London are planning a big development at Old Oak Common, which will connect a lot of lines together including the North London Line and HS2. Certainly North London Line trains will go there, but there are innovative characters in TfL and they may terminate some East London Line trains at Old Oak Common, rather than Highbury and Islington.
  5. Crossrail – Who knows what effects this will have all over London? As Dalston Junction is just four stops from Whitechapel, it certainly solves the difficult problem of getting from this area to Paddington and Heathrow.
  6. Reopening the Hall Farm Curve – Reopening this curve north of Lea Bridge, will allow direct trains from Chingford and Walthamstow to Stratford and then possibly along the North London Line.
  7. Reopening the Dalston Eastern Curve – This could happen to connect Stratford and South London.
  8. Shoreditch High Street station on the Central Line – A connection between the East London Line and the Central Line at Shoreditch High Street station has been proposed, but not until after Crossrail is opened.
  9. Penge And Brockley Station Improvements – There are rumours that these stations will be improved to create better links to South East London. There are design challenges, but they are in TfL’s plans and Birmingham solved a similar problem at Smethwick Galton Bridge station.

None of these will be implemented until after Crossrail is fully opened, except some of the extra services on the East and North London Lines.

What actually happens will probably be more determined by passenger traffic statistics than anything else.

But all will have the effect of moving more trains and passengers through the two Dalston stations.

Whether Crossrail 2 is built on not, Dalston will become one of the most important interchanges on London’s transport network.

This will have three main effects on the area.

  • Property developers will see it as good place to do business.
  • The area will grow as a business and cultural hub.
  • House prices will continue to rise.

If and when Crossrail 2 is built, these effects will get bigger.

I do wonder when the area will get a Waitrose!

How Will Crossrail 2 Affect De Beauvoir Town?

In the end, after Crossrail 2 opens it will be better transport links for De Beauvoir Town and more development in property, business and cultural directions and ever increasing house prices.

Building Dalston Station And Crossrail 2 Through Dalston

But during the building of the line, it could have other effects.

The three main sites used to construct Dalston station, will have to be redeveloped.

  • Site A – The Tesco Express site on the West side of Kingsland Road opposite Dalston Junction station. This site will contain the Southern station shaft.
  • Site B – Dalston Kingsland station and the block to the North.
  • Site C – The block containing NatWest opposite Dalston Kingsland station. This site will contain the Northern station shaft.

I believe that just as Moor House was developed some years before Crossrail, I feel that these sites should be developed separately some years before Crossrail 2, perhaps with flats or offices above and shops at street level. The building of the blocks would incorporate the shafts and any other underground works for Crossrail 2, if it was thought appropriate.

I would also expect that development of each of these three sites, will each be a similar sized project to the creation of the two blocks of flats on the Dalston Western Curve, which are being built at the present time.

I’m pretty certain, that the digging of the southern shaft at Site A will be the only major part of the construction, that will affect De Beauvoir Town, as I suspect they’ll have to remove the spoil in a succession of trucks. I estimate there will be about 10,000 cubic metres of spoil to remove to create the hole for the shaft.

At the northern shaft at Site C . they could and should use the railway.

Question for Crossrail – Is it intended to build the two shafts at Dalston station inside other buildings and complete them early, in the manner of Moor House?

Question for Crossrail – How do you intend to remove the spoil from the shafts at Sites A and C in Dalston?

My project management knowledge suggests to me that we don’t have much to fear from the building of Crossrail 2 in Dalston and De Beauvoir, if everything goes to plan.

The reason I add the caveat, is that several rail projects have found bad ground conditions, that have made things difficult. But the railways and property developers have done so much digging in the Dalston area in recent years, I would hope they’ve found all the problems.

Rebuilding Dalston Kingsland Station

The rebuilding of Dalston Kingsland station is desperately needed, as it is a cramped station, that is totally inadequate for most of its users and all of those, who are in wheelchairs, pushing buggies or carrying the average suitcase.

I can’t find anything substantial on the Internet except for odd drawings and images.

There is this construction map of the Crossrail 2 work-sites at the station in Crossrail 2’s document.

Dalston Kingsland Station Work-Sites

Dalston Kingsland Station Work-Sites

Note, there is a small Site D on the station side of the site currently being developed as Fifty Seven East. The Crossrail 2 document says this about Site D.

Would be used for construction of a new bridge providing access from the new ticket hall to the westbound platform at Dalston Kingsland.

So we know that at least there is going to be a new pedestrian bridge between the two platforms. As opposite Site D is Site B, about which Crossrail 2 says this.

Would be used for construction of a new Crossrail 2 station entrance and ticket hall. The site includes properties on the southern side of Bradbury Street.

Much of Site B bordering the station seems to be closed.

One sensible plan for Dalston Kingland station, would involve putting the new fully-accessible bridge in first and then building a temporary station on the site of the closed pub on the north side of the current station. This would enable passengers to still use the North London Line, whilst the current station building was rebuilt.

Note that most temporary stations that I’ve seen, are better than the current Dalston Kingsland.


I suspect that Transport for London has a complete plan, but I do feel that it will involve the fully-accessible bridge that will intrude into Fifty Seven East, being built.

Dalston Station Entrances

The station platforms lie almost under the Kingsland High Road, with entrances into Dalston Kingland at the North and Dalston Junction at the South.

As far as I can tell from the drawings. entrances into the station are as follows.

  • One new and one existing entrance at Dalston Kingsland on the West side of Kingsland High Road
  • One new and one existing entrance at Dalston Junction on the east side of Kingsland Road

So we have entrances in the North-West and South-East, but I can’t see any in the North-East and South-West.

The purpose of Site C in the North East is described like this by Crossrail.

Would be used for construction of the northern station shaft and escalator connection to the Crossrail 2 platforms

Given that this corner is by the iconic Ridley Road Market, surely there needs to be an entrance here, with perhaps a subway under the road to the Ticket Office.

Question for Crossrail – Is there going to be an entrance to the station close to the Ridley Road Market?

The purpose of Site A in the South West is described like this by Crossrail.

Would be used as the main site for construction of the station tunnels and southern station shaft

No mention of any entrance or escalators.

Question for Crossrail – Is there going to be an entrance to the station in the South West corner?

Question for Crossrail – Are there going to be escalators at both ends of the Crossrail 2 station?

Note that if there isn’t escalators at both ends, this means that a passenger changing from Dalston Junction to Crossrail 2 would have to virtually walk to Dalston Kingsland first.

Dalston Station and De Beauvoir Town

De Beauvoir Town is a grid of wide roads and pavements and we all have our favourite ways of crossing the area! Often we make use on our travels of the diagonal roads across the area, like Ardleigh and Stamford Roads.

As it happens Site A is just at the junction of one of these diagnonal roads; Stamford Road and the Kingsland Road. So I believe that every man, woman and fox, who lives in De Beauvoir would vote for an entrance into the station at this point. A subway would probably be welcome, as waiting for the lights on the Kingsland Road can get boring.

Incidentally, I walked this mornin from St. Peter’s to Site A and it took me ten minutes.

Question for Crossrail – What will be the pedestrian arrangements for those going between the station and De Beauvoir Town?

What Bribes Do We Want?

This is very much in jest, but Crossrail has shown itself to be a good neighbour at some of the sites it’s used.

It also ran a high-profile archaeology program that many in London, including myself, enjoyed.

One thing that disappoints me is the number of large bronze and other metal artworks, that are in store, because to display them in their intended outdoor setting, could mean they would get stolen! Surely, some could be displayed inside the new stations. It wouldn’t be easy to remove a tonne of bronze up an escalator.

Art should be accessible to everyone!


I am waiting for the 25th of November with excitement and trepidation. Will Osborne say go in his Autumn Statement?

Remember that there’s a small matter of an important election in May 2016! I have counted and there are thirty-three proposed Crossrail 2 stations in Conservative-held parliamentry consituencies and only fifteen in Labour ones!







November 4, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment