An unreal city: lockdown in London

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The city centre is near-deserted, but life goes on in outer residential districts

How does it feel to be locked down in the largest urban centre in western Europe? Well, it certainly looks different from the skies. I live on the steepest hill in south London, a hill so steep that in pre-coronavirus times it would draw swarms of angry bankers on £4k touring bikes, clinging to its spine like thirsty wasps around a lime tree.

On day one of London lockdown the hill is empty, the city below unnaturally silent. From here you can see the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, the grey outline of Muswell Hill to the north and the full range of postmodern skyscrapers in between. You can hear the hum of London’s traffic and the twin flightpaths of Heathrow and City airports.

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