Thursday, 28 April 2016

Crap Days Out in London: The Soho Pump

Goodness knows what's contained in my boy's head.  If his pockets are anything to go by Lord help us.  I fail the good mummy test as I often forget to empty them before everything goes in the washing machine.  There are headphones drying out on one of the radiators at this very moment.   Sometimes there are clues as to what's going on up there. Watching Louis solves maths problems is a joy.  It's as if you can see all the little cogs whirling. Ping! Out comes an answer!

Then there are times when something grabs his imagination and he can't stop talking about it.  Back in the 19th century, a bloke called John Snow proved cholera wasn't airborne as previously suspected.  He mapped incidences of the disease in one area of London and identified that the cause of the outbreak was contaminated water from the public supply.  Once the pump in Broad Street had been shut off, the outbreak ended. Howzat!  Louis became obsessed by this story.  I am now a leading expert on epidemiology as a consequence.  He begged me to take him to see the site of the pump when we were next in London.  The idea didn't fill me with excitement.  A trip to a dodgy old water source does not make a good day out in my book.  But who am I to stamp out my boy's nerdy proclivities?  I acquiesced and agreed to help him  find it on the way to The National Maritime Museum the other day.  Believe me it was  a bit  of a detour.  Soho is nowhere near Greenwich.  This is a combination of 'attractions' that  will never catch on as far as self guided tours in the capital from Southend-on-Sea go.

Were my doubts unfounded that this could be a new tourist attraction to rival the Tate or the Tower of London? Err no.  In fact it was more of a let down than I could have possibly envisaged.  There was a pub named that bears the name of John Snow but it was a bit early for a pint in celebration of finding the source.  The site of the pump itself is normally marked by a replica but it had been taken away because of building work in the area.  We had to make do with this placard and were  seriously underwhelmed.  Louis' perky smile must have been put on.  There was a consolation price.  Our detour took us past the Japan Centre in Leicester  Square.  We had proper sushi on the tube on the way to Greenwich  for elevenses.


  1. I bet your little chap was just happy spending time with his mum judging by that grin. Lovely story.

  2. How lovely that he was so interested and you encouraged him by going. Love it. On my 54th birthday two years ago OH and daughter asked me what I would like to do. I said go to Butser Iron Age Museum near Portsmouth so we did. I loved it and had wanted to go for years but I think their smiles would have been rather forced too as it was not their cup of tea but they went along with it for me. ..and the sun was shining that day too.

  3. Whether the sitecwas underwhelming, even with already low expectation, was probably less the point. I love his spirit for seeking knowledge and tying the past to the present. He could join my budding anthropologist/historian/archiologist on a wander!

  4. I love it when kids really get into something. I have also been to that pub. Its in a picture on my blog