I work in two offices. One in the centre of London’s Square Mile and the other on just outside in what is classified as east London. Walking between the two today I realised the thing that was missing from the Square Mile. There are no locals. Everywhere else that I’ve worked has people who have spent their lives in the area that I work in (I’ve never lived very close to work, like the disconnect). The east London office has a wide range of people, young and old. Brightly uniformed school children weave in and out of the commuters on their way to school in the morning and retired folk leisurely jaywalking at lunchtime. The Square Mile office has masses of grey, colourless 30 and 40-somethings charging to work, to buy their lunch or the pub.
There is no life in the Square Mile, just work. A few people live there but they aren’t locals. They just live where they work. It’s a little sad and it’s the case in Canary Wharf too. These places seem to lack a character and die at weekends. I don’t think there’s anywhere else that the weekend vacuum of working life doesn’t get replaced with anything else. It all makes me glad I live a long way from work, in almost a different world. Also for the walk between offices where I get a fleeting glimpse of life at work.