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Most visitors to a grand cathedral are going to want to admire grand monuments, of which St Paul’s is packed full of – but what about the smaller monuments?

Or the smallest.

Here are, which I think are the three smallest monuments inside the mighty and grand St Paul’s Cathedral.

This can be found in the corner of the North Transept.

These two fairly small brass plaques are mounted underneath a much larger and related monument to those who lost their lives in the South African War 1899-1902.

The two brass plaques read:

5th (Militia) Battalion The Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment) 1888-1918 Presented by Field Marshal H.R.H. The Duke of Cambridge at Hounslow 22nd June 1888

and…

6th (Militia) Battalion The Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment) 1890-1918 Presented by Field Marshal H.R.H. The Duke of Cambridge at Hounslow 22nd July 1890

The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own) was a line infantry regiment of the British Army in existence from 1881 until 1966. Their nickname, the “Die-hards” was gained the name during the Peninsular War when, at the Battle of Albuera on 16 May 1811 their commander Colonel Inglis had his horse shot from under him, severely wounded and outnumbered by the French he called to his men “Die hard, 57th. Die hard!”

Above both plaques is their crest with the name of Albuera.

The following two — accidentally related — can be found in the South Choir Aisle.

Here, squashed between a box and a wall is a stone plaque with brass knot/bolt and Latin inscription that roughly reads:

LAPIDEM QVI TEMPLO HIEROSOLYMAITANO OLUM INHAREREBAT E TERRA SANCTA REDVX HVC VSQVE ASPORTAVIT H.P. LIDDON. S.T.P. HVJVSCE ECCL. CATH. CANONICVS A.S. MDCCCLXXXVI

Which has been roughly translated as “The stone which was brought from the Temple of Solomon returning it to this sacred earth forever, presented by this ecclesiastical Catholic canon H. P. Liddon in 1886”

Henry Parry Liddon (1829–1890) was an English theologian, who came to fame for his hugely popular sermons at St Paul’s Cathedral in the 1860s. The afternoon sermon, which fell to the canon in residence, had usually been delivered in the choir, but soon after Liddon’s appointment it became necessary to preach the sermon under the dome, where from 3000 to 4000 persons used to gather to hear him.

He later travelled through Palestine and Egypt, where it is presumed he picked up this stone.

…oh, and taking photos of a lump of dark stone squashed in a narrow gap behind a storage cupboard really intrigues tourists who came over to see what I had found, and walked away less than impressed.

And finally, here is a memorial plaque celebrating the betrothal of Jacob Pennethorne to Anna Lidedon with what is described in the Cathedral archive as a bronze carving above it. The carving is said in the archive to be “of a flower and what might be the corner of a lounging chair”.

The Latin reads:

QVAS TEMPLI HIEROSOLYMITANI RELIQVIAS IACOBVSEERGVSSON VIRE PERITISSIMVS IACOBO PENNETHORNE EQVITI OLIM DEDERAT HVIVSCE FILIA ANNA S. LISSON IN HAC ECCL CATH D. PAVLI APOST CONSERVANAS ESSE VOLVIT A.S. MDSCCCLXXXIX

Which has been roughly translated as “The man Jacob Fergusson gave his only remaining daughter Anna S Liddon to the skilled horseman Jacob Pennethorne in this ecclesiastical cathedral of Paul the Apostle made from the Temple of Solomon…”

Jacob Fergusson was a Scottish architect who made his fortune in India and now rich enough dabbled in archeology. Although he did a lot of good work, he also published a rather discredited theory that Solomon’s Temple stood not where the Dome of the Rock is located, but on the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount

He was however eminent enough to be part of the restoration committee at St Paul’s Cathedral in the late 18th century. This memorial was placed here by his daughter three years after his death in 1886.

However, the archive description of the “bronze” may be incorrect, as a report in the Biblical Archeological Society suggests that this stone fragment came from Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, where other similarly decorated stones are known to have been found – and is potentially from King Herod’s second temple.

Which actually makes this hidden away lump of stone really quite significant.

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It’s a middle-of-the-week event, but there’s a chance to visit the headquarters of the City of London police next month.

As part of the Open Day, there will be a chance to visit departments such as Roads Policing, Firearms, Dogs, Public Order Unit, Horses, Community Policing, Forensics and more.

The event is in support of the K9 Memorial UK, a charity supporting police dogs. You can find out more about the charity, support them or purchase their merchandise on the day.

The Open Day runs from 11am – 3pm on Wednesday 21st August, and you can reserve a free ticket here.

Their HQ is just behind the City of London Guildhall, and close to the Barbican and Museum of London.

In unrelated news of interest, the ornate police station at Snow Hill is due to close this summer as they’re expanding their offices at the HQ building.

If you’ve not visited it yet, then the City of London Police museum is just around the corner, and worth a visit.

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If you head over to Finsbury Square at the moment, you’ll see a very odd sight – of a black steam train surrounded by seating.

This is SmoKing’s BBQ locomotive — and is actually a gigantic barbeque serving up meaty meals for the locals. It makes perfect sense, as steam train firemen have been cooking their fried breakfasts on the coal skittle used to keep real steam engines running ever since the locomotive was invented.

So here in the heart of the city is a modern twist on that old idea.

@smokingsuk

Obviously, the railway pedants will whinge that it’s an American style locomotive not a British one, but pedantry of that sort is about as much use as a vegan at a meat feast. Regardless of the technicalities, it’s a lovely design, all blackened and bronzed decorations.

It could so easily have been just an industrial decorative object in the style that’s so popular in fashionable bars these days, but that it actually works — in that it cooks your lunch for you — makes it quite delightful.

According to their website, the steam engine will be serving up lunches Mon-Fri 11am-3pm.

They can also take the locomotive to events at other venues — it actually runs on the road — if you fancy having burgers for your summer fete cooked in a steam train.

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This is one of those dirty alleys that that overflows with rubbish and mess, but it also has the moon in the midst of its grime and clutter.

The alley seems to appear as a much wider courtyard space between two blocks of houses in around the 16th century as the area was being built up but within a century it had taken on its current very narrow alignment.

To the north side is the Prince of Wales theatre, which was first built on the site in 1884 and given its current name just two years later, after the future Edward VII.

That building was torn down in 1937 and the current art-deco inspired theatre built to cope with increased demand. On 17 June 1937, Gracie Fields sang to the workmen as she laid the foundation stone of the new building.

The southern side had remained a cluster of smaller buildings, including the Pickwick Inn, and famous Stones Chop House, but was badly damaged by bombs in WW2 and largely torn down to be replaced with the 1950s Clareville House — which was occupied by Stones until the 1980s.

The building was recently refurbished internally, and as a condition of the works, Westminster Council required a piece of public art to be provided, and that’s why there’s a rather odd and tired looking fabric circle hanging in the middle of the alley.

It used to look rather more impressive though.

It’s called “La nuit” by the artist Mark Pimlott. When installed in 2009, strings of lights were draped along the alley to mimic the stars that would never be visible from the ground in this part of London.

The orb is the moon, and a nearby lamp would project the actual phases of the moon onto it.

The planning permission granted in 2007 noted that “a good maintenance regime will clearly be important for this proposal. It will look very poor if allowed to slip into neglect”.

Sadly, it seems the planners were right. The strings of stars were recently torn down, and as far as I am aware, the moon phase illumination is also no longer functional. As least it’s never been when I walked past.

Today it’s a curious “thing” hanging in the alley looking rather left over from grander times.

The alley is today pretty much what it has always been, a back access to the main buildings on either side, so filled up with rubbish carts waiting to be taken away and staff popping out for a smoke.

The original hope was that the artwork would turn the alley into a destination in its own right, hence the decision to add local area signs to help tourists admiring the artwork to get back to to the main attractions.

They failed.

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Suggestions for things to do outside London in August 2019.

My regular look ahead to events happening next month that would probably be in my events guide, if only they weren’t happening outside the psychological barrier of the M25 motorway.

Bristol Balloon Fiesta

National Sheepdog Trials 2019 Various
Rounds for the national championship leading to the UK finals later in the year. Various
Yorkshire Day 1st Aug
Celebrate all things Yorkshire when the UK’s largest county comes together to indulge in vast quantities of regional pride. Yorkshire
12-hour lawnmower racing 3rd Aug
As the name implies, a whole day of endurance racing on powered lawnmowers. Five Oaks,
Sussex
St Wilfrid’s Procession 3rd Aug
The traditional St Wilfred’s procession makes its way through Ripon, accompanied by floats, morris men ending at a town fair. Ripon,
North Yorks.
World Hen Racing Championship 3rd Aug
Held for 20 years, this is an annual sporting event where the hens have to race along a 20 metre race track. Bonsall,
Derbyshire
South West Birdman 3rd Aug
Lots of crazy people or so called ‘would-be aviators’ flinging themselves over the pier to see who can ‘fly’ the furthest or at least plummet hilariously into the waiting sea. Ilfracombe,
Devon
12-hour lawnmower racing 3rd Aug
As the name implies, a whole day of endurance racing on powered lawnmowers. Five Oaks,
Sussex
Weald of Kent Steam Rally 3rd-4th Aug
Around 40 full sized steam engines, and a large selection of scale engines on display. Woodchurch,
Kent
World Pea Throwing Championship 4th Aug
People compete the throw three peas the furthest down a local lane. Lewes,
East Sussex
Brigg Horse Fair 5th Aug
It’s a traditional but unofficial forum for travellers to parade and trade their steeds in the time-honoured fashion, with hundreds of people going along to watch. Brigg,
North Lincs.
Coldstream Civic Week 5th-9th Aug
A ride to the Flodden Memorial to commemorate the dead of 1513. Wreaths are laid, a short service held and an oration delivered by a guest speaker. Friday evening sees a torchlight procession and firework display. Coldstream,
Scottish Borders
Robin Hood Festival 5th-11th Aug
A week long celebration of the legend of Robin Hood, it features entertainment for all the family. Sherwood Forest,
Nottinghamshire
Egton Bridge Gooseberry Show 6th Aug
The oldest surviving gooseberry show in the country, established in 1800. Gardeners enter their biggest gooseberries into one of four classes: red gooseberries, yellow ones, greens and white ones. Whitby,
Yorkshire
Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 8th-11th Aug
Annual festival of giant balloons, with their famous Nightglow, where 30 or more balloons will glow in time to music and fireworks on two evenings. Bristol
Seeing it Differently 8th-18th Aug
There will be a 50ft helter skelter installed inside Norwich Cathedral — to get up high to the ceiling and whiz back down again. Norwich,
Norfolk
The Burry Man 9th Aug
Follow the Burry Man throughout the streets of Queensferry as he drinks whisky and spreads good luck Queensferry,
West Lothian
Shrewsbury Flower Show 9th-10th Aug
Stunning floral displays, show jumping, medieval jousting, motorcycle displays, music, fireworks and special guest appearances. Shrewsbury,
Shropshire
Portsmouth Kite Festival 10th-11th Aug
Annual festival with everything from classic kites to modern inflatables. Portsmouth,
Hampshire
Whitby Regatta 10th-12th Aug
Yacht racing, rowing races and various free forms of entertainment, finishing with a prize presentation and firework display. Whitby,
North Yorkshire
Cowes Week 10th-17th Aug
Up to 40 daily races for around 1,000 boats at the largest sailing regatta of its kind in the world. Isle of Wight
Glasgow International Piping Festival 10th-18th Aug
The world’s largest festival for bagpipe musicians. Glasgow,
Scotland
Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival 10th-18th Aug
Around 100 scarecrows appearing in gardens, open spaces, hidden corners and even on rooftops dotted around the village. Kettlewell,
North Yorkshire
Lymm Rushbearing 11th Aug
A morris parade through the area, dragging a cart of rushes to be laid on the floor of the local church. Lymm,
Chester
British Fireworks Championships 14th-15th Aug
Two evenings of entertainment culminating in spectacular fireworks displays from six companies seeking the title of British Firework Champions. Plymouth,
Devon
Eastbourne International Airshow 15th-18th Aug
Four days of action packed flying on Eastbourne seafront. The Red Arrows leading a packed programme of Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, British Army and civilian aircraft. Eastbourne,
Sussex
Marymass Festival 15th-26th Aug
Marymass is a 12 day annual medieval festival and horse fair dting back to 1372, the festival now incorporates tradition with modern-day influence. Irvine,
North Ayrshire
Nightgown Parade 16th-18th Aug
A modern parade by women (and some men) in their night dresses through the town as a fundraiser for the RNLI. Staithes,
Yorkshire
Birdfair 16th-18th Aug
Described as the birdwatcher’s Glastonbury, Birdfair encompasses the whole spectrum of the birdwatching industry whilst at the same time supporting global bird conservation. Rutland Water,
Rutland
Imber Bus 17th Aug
One day per year when a fleet of old buses carry people around the military Salisbury Plain to a deserted village – and beyond. Warminster,
Wiltshire 
Race the Train 17th Aug
Sporting event where runners try to beat a preservation train running along the rails by racing it along local roads and footpaths. Tywyn, Wales
Lighthouse’s Heritage Weekend 17th-18th Aug
Many lighthouses and places of associated interest will be open to the public, and there will be special events at lighthouses and lightvessels both at home and abroad. Various locations
Marhamchurch Revel 19th Aug
 Before the revel procession the Revel Queen is crowned by “Old Father Time” and mounts a white pony, which leads a band and a number of boys who carry bows of greenery cut from trees. Marhamchurch,
Cornwall
Bosworth Commemoration 19th Aug
The Richard III Society visits Bosworth for its annual commemoration of the Battle. A service is held in Sutton Cheney church to honour the fallen in the battle and is attended by Society members from around the world. Bosworth,
Leicestershire
Orange Rolling 20th Aug
The odd spectacle of watching people race and chase oranges down a steep high street in Totnes, South Devon. The tradition reputedly dates back to the day Sir Francis Drake bumped into a delivery boy, causing him to spill his fast-moving fruit down the hill. Totnes,
Devon
The Saddleworth Rushcart 23rd-25th Aug
Procession around the local area with a two-wheeled cart filled with rushes, in a slightly conical shape thirteen feet high weighing about two tons to the local Church. Some 150 men pull on the "stangs" fixed to strong rope which, in turn, is fixed to the cart. Saddleworth,
Yorkshire
St Bartholomew’s Bun Race 24th Aug
Children run around the church of St. Bart’s and are given a bun especially baked for the occasion. The biscuit bears the date 1190 to mark the founding of St.
Bartholomew’s Hospital.
Sandwich,
Kent
Lee Gap Fair 24th Aug
Lee Fair is reputedly the oldest charter fair still in existence, with a history dating well over 800 years. West Ardsley,
Leeds
Wallace Day Centenary March 24th Aug
A march by locals to the Wallace Memeorial where wreaths are laid to the memory of the great warrior. Elderslie,
Renfrewshire
The Burning of Old Bartle 24th Aug
The ancient ritual of Burning Bartle takes place every year, when a larger than life figure is paraded down the village main street accompanied by repeated chants of the Bartle doggerel. When Bartle reaches ‘his end’ in Grassgill, he is set alight, accompanied by songs and cheers from the assembled masses. Leyburn,
North Yorkshire
Military Odyssey 24th-26th Aug
Said to be the largest collection of military re-enactors from ancient greek to modern times in mock battles and
displays
Maidstone,
Kent
Eyam Plague Commemoration Service 25th Aug
A village that lost a quarter of its population to plague has an annual commemoration. Eyam,
Derbyshire
Bog Snorkelling Championships 25th Aug
Bog snorkelling is a sporting event in which competitors complete, in the shortest time possible, two consecutive lengths of a water-filled trench cut through a peat bog. Llanwrtyd Wells,
Mid Wales
The Uffington White Horse Show 25th-26th Aug
Annual country fair, with stunt horsemen, falconry in the shadow of the famous bronze-age chalk cut horse. Uffington,
Oxfordshire
Shrewsbury Steam Engine & Vintage Vehicle Rally 25th-26th Aug
Over 1,000 exhibits will be appearing within the popular Rally area, covering 45 acres of parkland. In additon, olde-style fair and trade stalls. Shrewsbury,
Shropshire
Bourton Football in the River 26th Aug
A football match between six-a-side teams played in the middle of the shallow river, playing in usually knee-high waters. The event is over 100 years old. Bourton,
Gloucestershire
Gravy Wrestling Championship 26th Aug
A wild and whacky wrestling competition in a pool full of Lancashire Gravy. Contestants must wrestle in the Gravy for 2 minutes whilst being scored for audience applause, and various different moves. Rossendale,
Lancashire
World Haggis Eating Championship 31st Aug
Part of the highland games, a high-speed Haggis eating contest that’s open to anyone. Birnam,
Perthshire
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People traveling along part of the Jubilee line will soon be able to use their mobile phones while still in the tunnels.

When it goes live, smartphones will be able to connect to Wi-Fi services in the platforms, and switch to cellular  coverage when passing through the tunnels. The mobile coverage will also be available in the stations, as a back-up for the Wi-Fi, or for people who don’t have access to the Wi-Fi through their phone account.

Equipment supporting mobile phone coverage is currently being added to the tunnels between Westminster and Canning Town and is expected to switch-on next March. The service will also support all three main phone technologies, GSM, 3G and 4G, with 5G to be added later.

The bit some will hate is that it will support voice calls as well as mobile data services, although realistically saying “I’m on the train” isn’t going to be easy in a noisy tube train as it roars through the tunnels.

The first phase that goes live next March will be a trial of the service, and TfL is planning to issue a contract shortly afterwards to expand the service to the rest of the network, with the aim of having the whole tube tunnel network covered by the mid-2020s.

Providing phone coverage underground has been a very long time coming, with many rumours and false-starts over the years. A trial using Huawei hardware and 4G services provided by O2 and Vodafone  in the Waterloo and City line in 2017 proved that the technology could be deployed into London’s rather more complicated tunnels infrastructure.

The trigger for the project to go ahead though was thanks to the need to upgrade the existing radio communications network to support the Home Office’s new Emergency Services Network, and when you’re doing that sort of work, adding mobile phone coverage is a modest additional outlay.

Leaky feeder cable installation (c) TfL

Both the emergency services and the mobile phone signals will delivered into the tunnels along long cables known as leaky feeders, essentially a coaxial cable that has small sections of its copper shielding stripped away to allow radio frequency (RF) signals to escape.

However, it’s not as simple as simply running a long cable along the tunnels. Sometimes multiple cables have to be used due to the different frequencies being deployed for the various phone technologies and networks. It’s not just a bundle of cables though, as the arrangement of the cables in the bundle will affect the way the radio signal leaks out into the tunnels.

Leaky feeder cables also tend to be quite bulky and the cable is rather inflexible as a result, making installation in the tunnels a challenge.

Leaky feeder cable installation (c) TfL

Once installed though, not only do unexpected localised inference issues arise, as while the clay surrounding the tunnels generally absorbs the signals, the tunnel walls and impurities in the surrounding clay can cause unexpected partial refractions in the signal and cause interference to build up.

Add in the trains themselves, with their high electricity currents, electrical motors and sensitive electronics, and the environment for a reliable phone network in the tunnels isn’t a pleasant one.

The trial will help iron out problems that are essentially impossible to test for in a laboratory situation.

By installing cabling within tunnels and stations in advance of awarding the concession to the long term provider, TfL said that it can better manage station access, reduce the amount of disruption these works may cause to customers and allow the concessionaire to then quickly utilise infrastructure once the final contract is awarded. TfL has also begun discussions with mobile network operators to ensure they can access the infrastructure for the pilot.

Once fully delivered, more than 2,000 kilometres of cabling are expected to have been installed within tunnels and stations, all of which will need to be fitted outside of operational hours.

TfL should then be able to recover its costs by renting the capacity to the mobile networks, as happens in most other underground railways that offer phone coverage. How each mobile network operator then decides to offer the service to their customers will be a matter for them to decide later.

Some will doubtless bemoan the arrival of phone coverage on the tube, but as many trains are quite noisy, the chances of making a voice call are slim, and even above ground, most people seem to use phones to read stuff than to talk with.

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A weekly round-up of London’s rail transport news…

An unusual train movement on the London Underground

London Underground

Andy Lord appointed new Managing Director of London Underground CILTUK

London Underground’s Northern line extension – a construction update ianVisits

Analysis: District line delays likely to continue under outdated signalling system IET

Mum gives birth to healthy baby girl at Westminster Tube station MyLondon

Elizabeth line / Crossrail

Campaign for Crossrail extension through Bexley gets boost Local London

Workers have downed-tools on the Crossrail Bond Street station site following concerns over dust levels. Construction Enquirer

TSSA Sign MTR Crossrail Recognition Agreement TSSA

Huddersfield glass company delivers signs for Crossrail Business Up North

Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild has said it is racing to get problem station Bond Street finished to start trial running trains through the station by early next year. Building

Mainline / Overground

From 20 July to 4 August 2019 there will be engineering works at Barking Riverside. This is being undertaken by TfL who are extending the London Overground. Your Thurrock

This coming August bank holiday is not a time to be using King’s Cross station, as a lot of the lines will be closed. ianVisits

Tory candidate for London mayor says HS2 should be halted Telegraph

Rail firm Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has been fined £1 million after a passenger was killed when his head went out of a train carriage window. Standard

Nine London Waterloo platforms closed by lineside fire on Wednesday BBC News

Miscellaneous

Maritime Transport (Maritime) has launched two new dedicated rail services from DP World London Gateway to its rail terminals in Trafford Park and Wakefield Ship Management

Plans to build affordable flats next to a Barnet tube station have been turned down by councillors. Local Times

Turns out there are tube roundel deserts served up by the Royal Box at Wimbledon @JudyMurray

JCDecaux Airport has completely redeveloped the advertising portfolio for Heathrow Rail, which connects Heathrow Airport with central London. Moodie Davitt

Bright patterned panels envelop this south London railway bridge, which designer Yinka Ilori has revived as part of this year’s London Festival of Architecture. Dezeen

And finally: Alternative Tube map reveals London’s cheapest pints Drinks Business

Image above is from July 2012: An unusual train movement on the London Underground

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A street in Bermondsey has a car repair shop with a relic of times when horsepower was measured in low digits – two horses heads on the frontage.

This is formally 2a Morocco Street, and used to be a forge and coach house. The rear yard still contains the original white glaze bricks and tethering rings for the horses.

In the early 20th century with the decline of horse driven transport and the rise of the motor car the premises became a garage. The repair and maintenance of road vehicles has been on the site for over 200 hundred years, from the repairs of carriages and horse gear to present day cars.

Although the two horse heads look original, one at least is either a replica, or restoration, as it wasn’t there when this photo was taken in 1969 and still missing when this photo was taken in 1981.

Today it’s RW Autos, and the current owners, looking after mechanical horses, are Patrick and Ian, part of a familiy that has run the company for three generations and started working together when they were 16 and 14 years old respectively. They both took over RW Autos in 1990.

Next to the old building is a road junction leading off to what is today called Leathermarket Street, but used to be plain Market Street, adopting the Leather part of the name long shortly before the leather makers of the area departed. It’s an echo of the time when the whole area was filled with the vile smells and noised of the leather tanners.

Today though, the area is mostly residential, and the ongoing presence of the motor car workshop seems to be causing annoyance to people who moved into the area recently. A planning application to revamp the flats and build a new extension for the owner/occupier threw up an unusually large number of comments from locals, some supportive, and quite a few very much not at all keen.

The planning application was approved — and the old forge will continue servicing mechanical horses for many years to come.

Which makes a pleasant change from the ongoing wave of cafes taking over the place.

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A long strip of land next to High Barnet tube station has been earmarked for conversion into a long strip of blocks of flats.

Located half way up Barnet Hill, the station is an important gateway to Chipping Barnet, Underhill and New Barnet.  TfL says that despite their prominent location the station and the area around it have poor accessibility.

The land is currently split between a car park for the station, and a range of light-industrial uses and container storage.

Goggle satellite view

TfL says that the site has potential for over 450 new homes instead. 40% of the new homes will be classed as “affordable”. The initial plan calls for the construction of seven blocks of flats.

A pocket park with a widened, and lit footpath, which meanders through the trees could replace the existing narrow walkway off Barnet Hill, and an upgraded station square outside the station buildings are planned. Proposals for the land at the top entrance to the station include the construction of a cycle hub and coffee shop.

Although the light industrial occupants will have to be removed, the plans include building workspaces to help businesses start up and stay in the area. They anticipate that the proposals could directly provide 40 new full-time jobs and create 50 in the wider area.

Planned development

One aspect that’s not on the plans is that the station entrance is at the end of a road and a footpath down two slopes, whereas moving the station entrance to the end of the road (where TfL’s Abrams House is), would make the station entrance a lot more visible, and for those coming from the south, a shorter journey.

Essentially flipping the station access around — but that would push the costs up.

The consultation opened last month, and has a lot of feedback already.

Local MP, Theresa Villiers has said though that she will fight the plans to build over the car parks as she says they are essential for the local community. At a public meeting, there was also opposition from local residents.

Around a quarter of the car park would be retained, for blue-badge holders.

The project is being managed by a consortium of Transport for London, Taylor Wimpey and Pinnacle Regen.

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Self driving cars may seem like a modern invention, but they’re much older than you might realise.

A new exhibition at the Science Museum shows off an early pioneer — a 1960 Citroen DS19 automatically-guided motor car, with its black sleek lines, and very 1960s looking computer in the back seat.

While most of the headlines are about cars, and their long gestation towards commercial opportunities, it’s elsewhere that autonomous vehicles are already in action.

Not featured are the vast army of bots travelling around factories today — but two interesting devices are on show — a mine sweeper and a farming vehicle. The mine sweeper is a reminder that the future will not look like the present — where too often we are lured into bolting on features to familiar shapes.

The farming bot is shown with that most English of products, a bottle of gin made from the harvest it grew.

Talking of totally British approach, here is the Starship — a home delivery robot that can already be found trundling around the streets of Milton Keynes dropping off parcels, and recently added deliveries of piping hot Fish and Chips to its capabilities.

These sorts of delivery vehicles are likely to be the more commonplace autonomous vehicles of the future — replacing the many vans on the streets with small electric bots.

It’s a modest exhibition, but one that shows the variety of vehicles being developed — and the future is likely to be a vast array of specialised devices for different requirements. Away with the standardised “man and a van” delivering parcels, and hello to a fleet of bots trundling, climbing and flying around the urban spaces.

In a way that’ll be a far bigger change than we have ever experienced in locomotion. The transition from horse carriage, to omnibus to motor vehicle has simply been a change in the power supply, it’s always been basically a cart with wheels and an engine — not really a fundamental change in locomotion as a concept.

The winners of the next few decades of automation will be the companies that ask why a delivery machine or robot needs to look like a rectangle on wheels.

The future will look very strange.

The exhibition, Driverless: Who is in control? is at the Science Museum, is free and open daily until October 2020.

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