So the Islamic Centre in Muswell Hill that was burned down last night is about 3 roads away from my house. It’s one of the loveliest areas in London, and you can hardly imagine that it’s an area of deep intolerance and conflict.
It would be great if the local community can gather round and find a community venue for the Muslims to use, until their own centre is rebuilt. That would really show those responsible what the values of tolerance, friendship and citizenship are all about.
I was in Canary Wharf today for a conference. I really like Canary Wharf. I love the steel and glass, the open space, the water. But as I went for a wander during the lunch break today it got me thinking that, as impressive as the architecture is, this most modern of areas of this most wonderful of cities does not have the public buildings where future history will be created.
Like other structures going up across London, such as The Shard and The Gherkin, its buildings are offices and retail developments, the wider public’s interaction with them limited to viewing platforms from which to see existing historic buildings and the urban sprawl below. It’s a struggle to see what historic events will happen at these spaces which will mean future generations will see them as central to the city’s folklore alongside places such as the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral or the Tower of London. They may be architectural marvels but they are functional, not foundation stones of our future history.
Where are the landmarks of the future?