North versus South
ThespianNorthFilm star Dirk Bogarde, born in Hampstead on March 28 1921. Theatre The Donmar. In the 1870s, this building was a vat room and hop warehouse for the Covent Garden brewery. Since then it’s been a film studio, banana ripening depot and ballet rehearsal studio. What south London theatre has a better history? South Film star Charlie Chaplin, born Walworth on April 16 1889. Theatre The National Theatre. Since it opened in 1963, it has staged more than 600 plays, from Coward to Chekov, Shakespeare to Shaw and Beckett to Brecht. It is a globally renowned institution, and it’s on the right side of the river.
Time-KeepingNorth Big Ben. The don of timepieces. South Greenwich Mean Time – without which Big Ben would just be a big, useless carriage clock. South wins!
TravelNorth Longest road At 8.52 miles, the A406 (better known as ‘delays on the North Circular’) is the longest road in north London. Transport Major (end of line) rail stations, seven; tube stations, 102.Travel Euston to Inverness (575 miles).
South Longest road The Brighton Road portion of the A23 and A235, by comparison, travels a mere 6.4 miles from Croydon to the boundary of Greater London. Though the traffic does move occasionally. Transport Major (end of line) rail stations, three; tube stations, 37.But we do have the mighty Streatham bus depot. Travel Waterloo to Avignon (578 miles).
TriviaNorth World records Paul Hunn of Enfield holds the world record for the loudest burp: he can burp at more than 118 decibels.Biggest thing The Monument is the tallest isolated stone monument in the world, at 202 feet tall. And it has a door. South World records The Bengal Brasserie in Hither Green, baked a naan bread measuring 5cm thick, 66cm long, 58.4cm wide, and weighing 4kg. Biggest thing The Millennium Dome is the largest structure of its kind in the world (ie a dome). It’s big enough to house the Great Pyramid or the Statue of Liberty, 13 Albert Halls, two Wembley Stadiums or 3,300 double-decker buses.
WildlifeNorth Lea Valley. As well as birds, butterflies and all manner of creepy-crawlies, this area is home to 21 species of dragonfly, the coolest of all insects. South Richmond Park. The Park currently sustains 300 red deer and 350 fallow. And deer are cooler than dragonflies, frankly.
WriterNorthAlive Zadie Smith’s ‘White Teeth’ brought life to the hitherto neglected world of Willesden Junction. Dead Charles Dickens lived in Camden. SouthAlive Uberintellectual Will Self has written superbly about Vauxhall. Dead George Eliot lived in Pimlico and Wimbledon.
The final scoreNorth London 14 South London 16
It's official - the south shades it. Time to sling up the bunting in Balham!
- Add your comment to this feature