Magazine article The Spectator

Now and Then

Magazine article The Spectator

Now and Then

Article excerpt

H.V. MORTON'S collection of essays The Heart of London was published in 1925. In a new column, Morton's London is compared with that of today: I look up at the Cenotaph. A parcels delivery boy riding a tricycle van takes off his worn cap. An omnibus goes by. The men lift their hats. Men passing with papers and documents under their arms, attache and despatch cases in their hands - all the business of life - bare their heads as they hurry by.

Seventy-five years on, H.V. Morton would see a very different set of reactions. Admittedly there are far fewer hats to be lifted. But such baseball caps as there are remain stubbornly in place. On the passing buses, heads stay buried in newspapers.

Lunchtime joggers use the Cenotaph as a convenient point at which to cross Whitehall. But even as they run on the spot, their attention is taken with finding a gap in the traffic, rather than the millions who died. An occasional tourist looks up at the structure. …

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