1000 Londoners

Crispin in is and is Property Developer.

Crispin Kelly is not only a qualified architect but also a property developer with his own company, Baylight, creating high-concept housing in London. He draws upon diverse influences such as Notting Hill paddocks and Japanese architecture in order to try to solve London’s housing shortage, and make the best use of the buildings that we have already. In this film he shows us the places that mean the most to him in the city via his scooter: his office, a current site and his relatives’ house in Bayswater, in an attempt to understand what makes living spaces into art forms.

Film Maker:

Questions & Answers

  • What's your first memory of London? Probably my little primary school, coming back on the school coach from the rugby pitch, having bitten the ear of a fellow student and having to face his mother.
  • What do you miss when you're away from London? Being on my own in the huge city full of people, it's being part of an organism - London. You are on your own in a city but equally you meet people all the time. Buying something in shop or going to the cinema, you can find a sense of oneself at the same time as being around other people. There is a richness of people-watching opportunities.
  • What's your favourite neighbourhood? I work in property and my home patch is Notting Hill, i know several areas quite well. Between Bayswater and Bulmer Road. I think the areas you see most of become your fondest.
  • What's your favourite building? The Sir John Soane's museum on lincoln's inn fields. It's a delicate lesson in indirect light and reflections.
  • What's your ideal day out in London? I would go to Hyde park and Kensington gardens. I go running there, the cafe near the childrens playground. I'd bike through the park and go to the serpentine, then maybe the V & A.
  • What's your ideal night out in London? Having people round for supper at home - close friends.
  • What's your most hated building? On Farringdon Road there's a building thats unforgivable. I suppose the developer wanted a prefab with lots of glass, very boxy. thoughtlessness. John Soane wanted to make things interesting, but here there's a lack of of ambition.
  • What's the best view in London? The view from the Shard, it's peculiar with the train station feeding in to under your feet beneath you. You see the shape of the river in a way that you never see otherwise. To the West, the view is bad as the sun is there - this is odd as this is the area that I know best.
  • What's your favourite open space? The terrace on top of my flat is special. I get a 360 degree view.
  • What's been your most memorable night out in London? The Hereford on Hereford Road is a British food restaurant. In the tard of St. John's, you get simple direct food. Nose to tails eating. Devilled kidneys.
  • Where would you take someone visiting from out of town? I might take them for a walk to Brick Lane and the Spitalfields markets. That would be an interesting contrast to the sights, and has been defined by its immigrants, good shops, truman's brewery and also Portobello Road on a Friday as I know it so well.
  • What's the worst journey you've had to make in London? I travel everywhere by scooter so traffic is not so bad but I suffer when it's wet. The maximum journey I ever make is 40 minutes. I can visit my son in 30 minutes in Bethnal Green. A recent problem was on the way to a meeting - there was a student demonstration and it cut London in half. You had to get round it via Euston Road and I had to leave my scooter and walk.
  • What's your personal London landmark? The park is my landmark, i'm always going alongside it or across it. It's not so much a landmark as a "green mark".
  • Who's your favourite fictional Londoner? Not so much a person as an atmosphere, 18th Century London was growing city with new suburbs. The mood is a season in the town house. In the park, it's a feeling. The idea of a city growing in the 18th Century, with Jane Austen. I like how London touches those stories. This is my way of seeing the space.
  • What's your favourite London film, book or documentary? John Somerson - Georgian London.
  • If you could travel to any time period in London, past or future, where would you go? Georgian London - 1760 approx.
  • For you, who is the ultimate Londoner? I would say the John Lewis partnership is ultimately "London". I was brought up in Chelsea, when Peter Jones was the archetype of everything that was good taste and good value. John Lewis on Oxford Street is my default, for reliability. They are community minded as a co-op and there's a way there that shows how making money in London is acceptable, as a fair deal. Although its ordinary it's a good piece of infrastructure.