Bleeding London

Flush with my success at the local photography competition, I have thrown my heart, soul and camera into the “Bleeding London” project.

Bleeding London is an attempt to collect photos of every single street in London, for an exhibition in 2015.  They need lots of volunteers, because there are 73,000 streets.  Yes, that’s 73,000 roads, streets, avenues, mews, places, closes, terraces, ways, lanes, circuses, parks, hills and crescents etc, all listed in a street atlas called the “London A-Z”.

Did I mention Groves?

Belsize Grove sign

 As usual, I have been making plenty of mistakes along the way. This is what I’ve learned so far.


Try to remember where you are.  The Bleeding London rules don’t require every photograph to include an image of the street name, but they suggest that we take shots of street signs for our (and their) records.  You’d think I would follow that advice, wouldn’t you?  But after two hours walking in the sun, I still ended up with images of unidentified streets.  Any Hampstead people out there know this road?

road off Rosslyn Hill


Don’t try to do this alone!  The idea for the project was inspired by Geoff Nicholson’s novel “Bleeding London”, in which a character named Stuart London walks the complete length and breadth of London.  In real life the organisers are hoping that hundreds of people will take part. I’ve been splitting squares of the A-Z with another photographer called Mike, and we’ve covered a lot of ground in quite an organised way.

Now I know how the postman feels delivering mail on Hampstead’s hilly streets.

postman on rosslyn hill



Do what Google doesn’t.  Sometimes my images just show the road itself, or a building, or the street sign.  But it’s better to take time to capture something more than just the “street view”….maybe even a World Cup view.

England flags


Click here for the Royal Photographic Society website for the Bleeding London project.

Only images taken after 7th March 2014 are eligible, and the aim is to cover the whole of London by the end of October.  Click here to see images that have already been submitted to the project.  By the end of June, 8000 images had been uploaded.

If you are visiting London this summer, why not take a photo and submit it to Bleeding London?  If you work in London, why not take photos of two streets around your office?  And if you happen to live in the “IG” or “RM” postcode districts, why not take photos of five streets near your home – the organisers will love you for filling in the gaps!

You can also follow the project on Twitter – @bleedinglondon – and on Facebook.


22 Comments Add yours

  1. Ah that brings back memories. One of my pals lived in BG so it was my London place to crash for some time. She moved to Hampstead so unless it was Primrose Hill area I can’t help.


    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      It’s still a lovely part of London. Walking uphill from Marylebone I felt like each step brought more air, more space, more leafy greenery, without ever taking me into boring suburbia.


  2. Love this!!! What fun! It’ll sure keep you busy and the blog well-nourished 😉


    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      It’s good exercise too. I’m heading right across the park today and out the other side, to take photos of the streets between Primrose Hill and Chalk Farm.


  3. pollyheath says:

    What a great – if daunting – project for people to take on! I love the second shot, it’s a shame you don’t know where it was taken!


    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      I’ve had an idea about the mystery street. I looked at Google Earth yesterday. From the camera disk I know the order in which I took the photos, so this one must have been taken as I walked up Rosslyn Hill. Looking at Google Streetview, I can see one place which looks similar – Thurlow Road.


      1. pollyheath says:

        Ooh, look at you! Should have been a spy or detective!


  4. Kim in Fiji says:

    What a gorgeous idea! I smile at all your tips and appreciate your different takes on streets: charming, utilitarian, local pride. A lovely post!


    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      Thank you. It’s eye-opening. I thought I knew this area pretty well, but I’m still finding new places. This has been said many times before, but London really is a collection of villages. The character and wealth of the streets changes as you walk a short distance.


  5. Oh my goodness! This reminds me of the story of how the Oxford dictionary was written! (The Professor and the Madman) 🙂 Thanks for following my blog, by the way. I took notice at your blog line about returning to the UK. How has it been so far? I’ll be taking a look at your posts over the next while. Happy day to you!


    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      “How has it been so far?” Good question. I was ready to come home, and I’ve been happy here in the UK this year. But I keep in mind one piece of advice for returning expats – Treat the return home as as if it were a new assignment.
      That advice helps. We can’t just assume that old friends and activities will re-appear as if by magic. If we were going to a new city we would work hard at building a life there, so we need to do the same back home.
      The funny thing is, that the Bleeding London project helped. I felt like a cat patrolling my territory as I walked around all these streets, so now I belong here!


      1. That is good advice and one that I haven’t really followed moving back to Canada. 😀 Glad to hear that the project has been helpful!


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