Notes from the Island

The Island welcomes everybody. Every day many visit and thousands pass close by, though few notice it. It is a place of brief encounters, of buried secrets, of moments glimpsed in rear-view mirrors. A brief pause on a journey. The Island has no border controls, no prisons, no buying and selling. Is it a utopia? Perhaps it could be, a sanctuary of non-interference amidst the surveillance cameras. The Island, London SE14 - much more than just a traffic island on the A2, New Cross Road.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Island 1850

In the mid-19th century, the Island was the site of the New Cross turnpike gate, where tolls were collected from traffic using the New Cross Road (on the route from London to Dover). This picture was painted around 1850, looking east along Queen's Road with the still-existing White Hart public house at the rear.

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