Khris Raistrick finds a lost soul in South Norwood and, naturally, directs him to Stanley Halls…
They say August is ‘silly season’ and I confirmed this for myself when I saw what looked to be – wait for it – a tourist in South Norwood earlier last month. A 60-something fellow, in shorts, carrying a camera on Station Road. Clearly, he was lost. Or a little bit….eccentric. A small slice of the latter as it turns out, just a sliver.
I bounded up to him and suggested that he might like to photograph Stanley Halls if he was looking for beauty in our part of the world. He’d even heard of it and had been there once! And when I explained what we had been up to over the last couple of years, he actually understood – nay, empathised (he had helped found the Hackney Tourist Board, after all).
The gentleman’s name is Sandy Craig, and he had come to Norwood Junction station because, well, he’d just come from Northwood Hills. After going to Northwood. And, just before that, Northwick Park. Have you got the picture yet? Mr. Craig, who happens to live up the road from Stanley Halls in Forest Hill, was – is – visiting every tube stop, that’s Underground and Overground, in alphabetical order. All 367 of ’em. In a year. As you do.
One of his stated aims is to ‘exit each station and mooch around the neighbourhood for a few minutes or an hour or two, taking a photo or two, making a random observation or two, perhaps encountering a local or two. And, I guess, knowing Homo Sapiens’ inveterate desire to find patterns even where no pattern exists, trying to extract something meaningful from each visit.’
Did Mr. Craig find anything meaningful in South Norwood? He certainly was complimentary about Stanley Halls, and offered some sage words for us lot running it. And, after about 250 tube stops so far, elevated Norwood Junction to the exalted company of Eastcote and Alperton, amongst others, in his top 15 station places.
Read all about it (and, even better, subscribe to his blog) at: