I’ve noticed that history just doesn’t seem to faze Londoners, or Brits really. It surrounds them in so many ways that they just don’t notice how amazing it is that something so old is still standing. They don’t treat it preciously, it’s just what they have (or so it seems to me, and I don’t mean that in a bad way). I love going to the libraries and looking at the Special Collections, but all of us Americans were quite shocked when the librarians let us handle heinously old books with our bare hands. In America, if a book is a hundred years old you’d best have on cotton gloves and it had better be in a cradle. Here, I’ve now touched a Gutenberg bible. WITH MY BARE HANDS!!! It was so thrilling to be skin to paper with such a huge piece of history, but I felt very naughty the whole time.
Similarly, architecture is just part of the landscape. Gargoyles, gothic edifices, and other things that I could stare at for days are just marched by as if they’re no big thing. I suppose because if you grow up with them right in front of you, they aren’t. Buildings are torn down and new ones replace them like it’s nothing. Times just continues on, as it has done, for about as close to “forever” as you can get in Western Europe!
For example, the building attached to Caledonian Road station (or next to it, I can’t be sure) is nothing but an edifice propped up by scaffolding. Soon it will be gone, and perhaps the next person who moves to the area will have no idea that this building was here. Hopefully they’re propping up the face to preserve it and build a new building on an old face . . . but who can be sure? And what was the original building? What was its use? Did a family live there, was there a business there? How many generations of people walked across floors that no longer exist?