Friday 6 July 2007

Karl Moritz and the bus route to Bangalore - # 160

Karl's letter home recounts his pleasure, walking along the highway surrounded by open fields, until he comes to the tiny settlement of Hounslow.

Today, Hounslow is a boundless sea of houses that stretches as far as the eye can see, to the ends of the earth. It is crossed by a main line railway, a London Underground railway, a main road A 315, the express dual carriageway A4, and the M4 Motorway.

Hounslow is a key element in the huge, chaotic, uncontrolled experiment in social demography that is "Modern Britain" - a melting pot of almost every race and nationality and creed you can think of. In a way, it's probably very 18th Century. What would Karl have said? We can be certain that whereas Karl would recognise much of Richmond, he would not recognise Hounslow!


  1. Yes, I guess a number of things have changed since Karl's passage. Both aspects are interesting; what has remained, what has changed!!

  2. This whole series has got me thinking about the history of europeans travelling around the continent. Despite the obstacles in previous centuries - travel, war etc, it seems that agreat deal of travelling was done. I think a lot of this was work oriented. From the middle ages onwards when masons travelled all over Europe offering services for the cathedral building boom amongst other things we see foreign names cropping up everywhere. It seems as the countries became more prosperous, maybe there was more work locally and less need to travel. Although I meet a lot of expatriates in my line of work, I wonder how the cross border traffic, and the reasons, compare with Karl's day reasons

  3. Quite so, Richard. It's clear that people have been travelling all over for a very long time. We have to face it, but that's easier said than done when the economic and cultural impact becomes overwhelming for the locals. But it's going to happen.