1000 Londoners

Bessie in is and is Psychiatrist.

Bessie moved to London from Adelaide about 20 years ago, and began working in social work with rough sleepers. She is now a psychiatrist and is also a Trustee on the board at Stepney City farm. She can see parallels between her work in psychiatry and life on the farm, as animals can have a really positive effect on people’s mental wellbeing – especially in bustling cities like London.

Film Maker:

Questions & Answers

  • What's your first memory of London? I arrived from Australia and travelled to Waterloo - when I got out I was confronted by this image of Parliament. This had always been my vision of England (I rarely watched TV growing up, but when I did it was often British shows like The Goodies and Doctor Who), so I had that TV theme tune in my head while looking at Parliament.
  • What do you miss when you're away from London? Sometimes a sense of relief - you can be as different or weird as you like, especially in East London, and there is always a sense of acceptance.
  • What's your favourite neighbourhood? Blackfriars - there is a bit tucked away near St. Pauls paved with cobbled streets.
  • What's your favourite building? Natural History Museum - the pink stone in soft light.
  • What's your ideal day out in London? Something involving a boat down the river, then the members room at Tate Modern, followed by lots of wandering.
  • What's your ideal night out in London? A Japanese sushi restaurant in Leicester Square, then drinking in a pub near Blackfriars.
  • What's your most hated building? No particular iconic building, but all the new blocks of flats that look like they're made of plastic.
  • What's the best view in London? From Tower 42 - Nat West building.
  • What's your favourite open space? The river. So much of London is closed in then it all opens up at the river.
  • What's the most interesting shop? Algerian Coffee stores in Soho - every tea and coffee you can imagine.
  • What's your favourite place to hang out? The farm!
  • What's been your most memorable night out in London? Seeing a play called Happy Days. It was gut wrenching theatre and I was so affected I had to write to the theatre to say how much I enjoyed it.
  • How would you like to spend your ideal day off in London? The farm. Really calming, and it makes me happy.
  • Where would you take someone visiting from out of town? A boat down the river, then on the top deck of the 24 bus.
  • What's the worst journey you've had to make in London? Anything on a crowded tube! Going on the Northern Line with my kids and a pram, when they were young in particular.
  • What's your personal London landmark? So many things in London! I always get excited at the roundabout at Hyde Park Corner, and there will be grand music playing in my head.
  • Who's your favourite fictional Londoner? Any character from an Iris Murdoch book. It's always a thrill to read about people living in the same city.
  • What's your favourite London film, book or documentary? The Line of Beauty by Alan Holinghurst.
  • If you could travel to any time period in London, past or future, where would you go? I would stay in London now - it gets better all the time.
  • For you, who is the ultimate Londoner? Sue Lipscombe - my boss when I worked with a team of rough sleepers. She is a social worker who had set up the service 30 years ago. I admired her on a personal and professional level. She has done so much to address social problems in London.