The Anonymous Widower

Between Bank And Cannon Street Station

The City of London is creating a new walking route between Bank and Cannon Street stations, along Walbrook.

It doesn’t reach to the Thames yet, as there is some 1980s development and the dual-carriageway of Upper Thames Street in the way, but I suspect it will, at some point in the future.

On the Western side of the walk is Walbrook Square being developed by Bloomberg, which underneath which are both the London Mithraeum and the new step-free entrance to the Waterloo and City Line and Bank station.

On the Eastern side is the historic church of |St. Stephen Walbrook, where I once met Chad Varah; the founder of The Samaritans, who for personal and wider reasons, I nominated at Man of the Noughties.

This Google Map shows the area.


It looks like this walking and cycling route will come with a prestigious office development, an important Roman site and a transport interchange.

I have a feeling there’s a deep agenda in pedestrianising Walbrook in this way.

Commuters arriving in the City at Cannon Street station or the Waterloo and City Line will be able to come out of the stations onto the spacious thoroughfare of Walbrook , from where they could walk to their place of work. A pedestrianised Bank Junction would give a traffic free route for commuters to the East side of the junction.

Could we see other routes around Bank Junction also given over to pedestrians and cyclists? Roads like.

  • Cannon |Street
  • Cornhill
  • Dowgate Hill
  • King William Street
  • Lombard Street
  • Lothbury
  • Old Jewry
  • Prince’s Street
  • St. Swithin’s Lane

and a few others, must all be being considered for full or partial pedestrianisation.

In addition, there will be beloe-ground routes through Bank station.

January 19, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stopping Suicides On The Railway

Some months ago, I posted about how the rail industry and The Samaritans were getting together to cut suicides.

Today, there is a good article about the results of that initiative, on the BBC’s web site.

The training would appear to be working.

So perhaps we ought to look at other suicide points like bridges and car parks and create some appropriate initiatives, drawing on the railway’s experience.

November 25, 2013 Posted by | Transport, World | , , | Leave a comment

It’s Not All Depressing News!

Clicking through the BBC News website this morning is particularly depressing.

We have the story of the all-Labour Newham Council trying to offload some of their residents who need houses on Stoke-on-Trent. That would be an interesting commute. Governments for too long, have ignored the problem of housing in the South-East and London in particular. Only yesterday, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London was asking for more funds to create more school places in the capital.

You can understand, why politicians on the far-right have been calling for an immigration clampdown. But being from two immigrant lines myself , I can’t complain can I?

We have an imbalance in the number of houses in the UK and the number of people we have here.  The main solution is to build more houses, which the government appears to be doing. But also we should ensure that the houses we have are fully occupied.  It could be said, that I’m greedy living in a three-bedroomed house by myself!

And then we have the story about how The Netherlands, which many think is one of the more stable of the Eurozone countries is in trouble.

I could find equally depressing stories, such as how Clare Squires died in the London Marathon.

But in some ways that story has a remarkably heart-warming ending as many are contributing to her cause; The Samaritans. The Reverend Chad Varah would have approved.

So perhaps the immense wealth of human spirit will win out! If you want to contribute to Claire go here.

April 24, 2012 Posted by | News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Man of the Noughties

They were talking as I drove back to Suffolk about who were the most influential men and women, who have died in the last decade.  The usual suspects were all paraded from Ronald Reagan to George Best, the Queen Mother and Heath Ledger.

But the decade saw the passing of the Reverend Chad Varah.

So why should I as someone, who has no religion, say that Chad Varah should be included on any list of important people of the noughties?  He has probably done more to help people in distress, first in the UK and then on a world-wide basis, than any other person of the last fifty years.  Most know that he founded the Samaritans, but read his entry in Wikpedia and you’ll see that he was involved in sexual education, stopping female genital mutilation and many other causes that affect how we all live in this complicated society. He was even a consultant to The Eagle comic.

But I had a personal link to the Chad Varah.  My wife gave her body to medical science and there was a Memorial Service in Southwark Cathedral for all those who had done so in 2007.

I wrote this after the service.

In the Order of Service is a list of over two hundred who gave their bodies in 2007.  Amongst is Edward Chad Varah, who founded the Samaritans.

One day in about 1973 or so, our marriage was at a very low ebb.  We had debts, a grotty, damp, rented, fourth-floor flat in St. John’s Wood, three children and to say the least, divorce was more than a possibility.  I had a small consultancy job at Lloyds Bank and as I was walking home, I passed his church, St. Stephen Wallbrook, where the Samaritans were based.

I saw the sign and was somehow drawn into the church, before spending half an hour or so with the Reverend Varah.  He talked me through our problems and made several practical suggestions, most of which worked.

We were always in debt to that kind and compassionate priest. 

My wife never knew of this until I told her, when I heard of his death on the radio, a month before she herself died.  I should have told her earlier.

So when you talk of great men and women, don’t forget the Reverend Chad Varah.  We can all learn a lot from his wonderful example.

December 13, 2009 Posted by | World | , , | 3 Comments