More dubiously researched bus stop commentary from Londonist’s team of expert ahistorians.
Number 5: Blood Transfusion Centre
Where: Burnt Oak
London, of course, has had a thriving vampire sub-culture for as long as anyone can remember: some historians, in fact, believe the community pre-dates the city altogether.
The vampires were certainly well-established enough by the High Middle Ages to play a key role in mopping up the urchin overpopulation crisis of 1174. And – except for a slight blip, caused by the habit of nibbling on the sickly during the Great Plague of 1665-6 – the community has generally grown steadily along with the city containing it. By the 1880s, indeed, sinister pale people with blood on their teeth were as common a sight in London as music hall and tuberculosis.
The modern era, though, has not been kind to the vampires, and as the 20th century rolled on lifestyles that involved feeding on poor people and leaving their corpses to rot in the street came increasingly to be seen as vulgar. Many left London altogether, emigrating instead to more liberal climes in the new world, but a few clusters remain, centred on districts such as Mayfair and Notting Hill. These generally prefer not to draw too much attention to themselves, which, given the nature of their culinary preferences, is easier said than done.
In 1964 the great North London philanthropist Liza Montmorency-Thelps came up with a solution. She established the Happy Blood Foundation, with the intention of opening a number of vampire feeding centres in convenient locations, both in London and around the home counties. These offer hungry vampires easy access to the blood type of their choice, in a setting where they can meet other members of the demonically possessed undead community, as well as anyone else who happens to share their interests.
The Burnt Oak Blood Transfusion Centre is the oldest and most well attended of these. While few living Londoners are aware of its existence, believing it to be nothing more than a part of the neighbouring Edgware Community Hospital, its true nature is commemorated in the bus stop which shares its name, so that those in the know can tell where they should alight when they fancy a quick bite. At this time of year, we can particularly recommend the frappuccino.
Knitwit photo courtesy of Londonist's own Matt Brown