Forgive today’s double post. I’ve long been a collector of Geoffrey Fletcher, the artist and writer who spent the 60s and early 70s recording the bits of our capital that the tourists never ventured to – Limehouse, Whitechapel, Camden, Stepney, Stratford, – all locales at the time without a sniff of gentrification. Fletcher sought out the old shops, the long-term residents. The markets and the streets earmarked for replacement with tower blocks. He had a dry, cynical wit which translated well into the 1967 adaption of his most famous book, the London Nobody Knows. One of the most remarkable scenes ever filmed is the sequence when the presenter (James Mason, no less) visits the the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street. That notorious address is long gone, but back then it had remained virtually unchanged since the body of Ripper victim Annie Chapman was found there.
Anyway, all this a roundabout way of flagging up that tonight Fletcher gets a much-deserved outing on Radio 4. The programme is presented by Spitalfields resident Dan Cruickshank – can’t think of anyone better. Sincere thanks to my colleague Dave for the tip off.