For the previous two weeks, for the reason that lockdown restrictions started, BBC recordsdata presenter Sophie Raworth has been operating to work at lunchtime to contemporary the BBC News at Six and Ten, taking pictures as she passes some critical landmarks. Right here she describes what it is treasure to commute thru the now abandoned streets of the capital.
The silence within the centre of London is eerie now. I in actuality possess lived on this city for many of my existence and I’m gentle to dodging crowds on the streets, being filled into tube trains, shoulder to shoulder with my fellow commuters.
I in actuality possess always loved the thrill of London, the cacophony of voices from all one of many simplest ways thru the area, and now it has all gone.
Our newsroom is within the centre of London, by Oxford Circus, Europe’s busiest looking boulevard with nearly half of 1,000,000 guests a day. Now there are extra pigeons than other folks. They might maybe maybe per chance maybe also silent be wondering the put apart now we possess all gone.
I stay about six miles from the BBC. Over the final fortnight, I have been zigzagging my means alongside varied streets into the capital, now in its shutdown utter. And it is rather phenomenal. Each so in general I actual stop, perceive around me and listen.
It be the silence that’s so unnerving. A stillness that I in actuality possess never felt in London before. The assorted day I stood in Leicester Square and gasped out loud. Nothing used to be fascinating around me.
The center of London and all I’d also hear used to be a flag flapping on top of belief to be one of many shut-down cinemas.
All thru the nook, China City used to be ablaze with color, nonetheless your complete restaurants possess closed their doorways, the constant queues of alternative folks possess gone.
Even Piccadilly Circus, busyness personified, is now not itself any longer. The lights are silent on nonetheless who’s looking? Huge adverts were modified by tributes to NHS workers and the emergency services.
Waterloo, Paddington, St Pancras – a pair of of London’s busiest major tell stations – by which millions of alternative folks pour every day. Now there are actual a pair of passengers milling around looking a puny bit lost, and railway workers, in their fluorescent jackets eyeing me quizzically, then smiling and waving as I lumber previous.
Regent Road, Covent Backyard, Knightsbridge – other folks flock to London for its stores. But now unless they’re promoting major objects, their doorways are closed.
Harrods, shut unless additional peep for the major time in 170 years, has swapped the glamorous mannequins in its window shows for big murals of NHS rainbows instead.
Covent Backyard is in general so bustling with vacationers and purchasers that I would now not try to lumber thru it. But now I will hear my footsteps echo as I am going the shuttered stores. I in actuality possess the market all to myself.
I ran down The Mall this week. In three weeks‘ time I will must were operating alongside with tens of hundreds of exhausted other folks about to base the attain line of the 40th London Marathon.
As an alternative the ExCel convention centre in east London, the put apart we had been speculated to assign up our speed numbers, is now rotund of sanatorium beds for hundreds of coronavirus sufferers.
And I’m operating to work thru the streets of London by myself – which signifies that of I’m now not allowed to lumber with anybody else.
It’s far the stillness of this city that I get most weird. I will hear fowl music and other folks’s conversations from many ft away. The sound of an airplane now takes me all right away. London feels treasure an abandoned film field.
As I lumber, my tips tasks on to the city a kaleidoscope of memories, layer upon layer, of my family, company, areas, parties that I have been to, as if though they’ve all gone. There is a strangeness about this time.
My children will expose their children about these weeks, per chance months, when our city stopped. London’s existence will return, the noise and crowds shall be support.
Except then, I will continue to commute to work on foot and surprise at this moment in time when my city stood silent.
All photos by Sophie Raworth