diamond geezer

 Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Famous places within 15 minutes walk of my house
Number 6 - Roman Road

shoppers' paradise?It'll come as no surprise to you to hear that Roman Road used to be a Roman road. It was the main road from London to Colchester, until Bow Bridge opened in the 1300s and diverted the main road half a mile to the south.

Roman Road is now a prime shopping street, or so I was told by some of my more well-to-do female colleagues when I used to work in Suffolk. On moving to London I was most disappointed to discover instead that the market was merely home to cheap dishcloths, dodgy batteries and pirated videos, much like many other local markets in the area (but still not as awful as Walthamstow). I guess, not being female, I wasn't attracted by Roman Road's bijou collection of swish boutiques selling top fashion castoffs at knockdown prices.

Roman Road boasts a very out-of-place-looking Wetherspoons pub, and also some traditional East End pie and mash shops (though for fresh-baked quality you can't beat Goddard's in Greenwich). And the local library here was recently transformed into an award-winning Idea Store, a primary-coloured palace of lifelong learning. It's an impressive addition to the community, and visitors have trebled in the year that the new library has been open, but alas I suspect that figure has been boosted by the hordes of seven year-olds to be found rampaging round the bookshelves as if the place were an adventure playground.

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