Monday, May 14, 2012

Digging London

In World War II, Londoners and people across England dug Victory Gardens to raise food for immediate consumption. These fruit and vegetable plots cropped up in available places both small and large. Even the moat at the Tower of London and St. James' Park were placed under cultivation.

Londoners have a long history of excavation, but where do they put the dirt? When the Piccadilly Line was dug out, it was dumped at Stamford Bridge. When the Chelsea Football Club arrived there in 1905, this soil was used to elevate the level of the stands.

More recently, soil dug out for new construction works was used in a creative way. It was piled up into four mounds, reminiscent of the ancient defensive earthworks or castle mounds seen all over England, and thus fitting nicely into the landscape. These four modern dirt piles are clearly visible from the A40 when entering and leaving London.

Local people have put the faux hill forts to good use. Three of these grassy mounds have footpaths worn straight up the the side by those who climb them for exercise; the fourth has a paved spiral pathway much used by joggers, who, in addition to the virtues of exercise, enjoy the additional reward of the wonderful view from the top.

Photo: Cambridge Castle Mound, Wikipedia images

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