4 Pages

Walking W8 in Manolos 1

WithCaroline Knowles

The collection comes to an end with a luxurious pair of high-heeled shoes. As Caroline Knowles’ tells us in her short chapter ‘Walking W8 in Manolos’, the sensory footwork of dwelling demands appropriate shoes. The chapter is inspired by an ESRC funded investigation of London’s super wealthy called The Alpha Territory. Manolos are W8, the London postcode where one of the highest intensities of high net worth people on the planet dwell. In W8 French and American bankers and former debutants rub shoulders with minor royals, celebrities and glitterati. In high-heeled elegance we make our way from the royal borough’s central library off Kensington High Street. Meandering some of the back road we pass the new serving class pushing prams and cleaning windows and the occasional hedge fund manager steering a uniformed child with a violin. We pass the gaping caverns of basement digs in which nineteenth-century stucco façades acquire swimming pools, games rooms and staff parking, and delicately pick our way down Cornwall Gardens with its manicured window boxes and tastefully identically arranged gardens, until we meet the rush of Gloucester Road and the next postcode breaks the W8 magic. From here, we leave readers to imagine their own future journeys on foot.