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Coronavirus London empties – it's like the 1970s

Blog | By Harry Mount | Mar 15, 2020

Notice outside the James Wigg GP Practice in Kentish Town, north London, today. (Copyright: Harry Mount)
Empty parking spaces in Portland Place, London (Copyright: Harry Mount)
The empty bar at St Mark's, Audley St (Copyright: Harry Mount)

Harry Mount bikes round London and finds it empty

Biking round London this morning, I had a sudden Proustian rush. I've never seen it so empty since my 1970s childhood.

Everywhere in central London, there were yawning gaps in parking spaces that are normally crammed with cars. In St Mark's, Audley Street, a spanking new restaurant, cafe and bar, in a lovely neo-Romanesque Victorian church, I was one of three customers. At the next-door chip shop, normally crowded with American tourists, I was the only customer.

Camden Market, normally jam-packed on a Sunday, had about a tenth of the normal amount of tourists and shoppers. I normally never bike down Parkway in Camden because it's so full of cars - today I free-wheeled down the street with nothing in my way.

All this emptiness would be a joy in normal circumstances. But these aren't normal circumstances - instead, it felt distinctly spooky and sad.