This is the last of my posts centring around London and Virginia Woolf’s The London Scene. Woolf is astute in this collection. Her various thoughts about St Paul’s, the Houses of Parliament and the bustling streets stayed in my mind, shaping my view of the place. A lot has changed in London since the 1930s but much has stayed the same. This is, to my mind, what makes cities so exciting. They evolve over time but they never fully shed what they were before.
There are timeless quotes in the book, observations about a London which has changed in so many ways. But at heart, it stays the same:
‘Once there were colleges and quadrangles and monasteries with fish ponds and cloisters; and sheep grazing on greensward; and inns where great poets stretched their legs and talked at their ease. Now all this space has shrivelled.’
New and exciting things will continue to grab our attention while the space in London shrivels. I was amazed at how roomy my house felt when I got home. How wide the streets felt. It seems like they tried to pack everything into one city. But, at least, they’ve been doing that for a long time.