Latest BBC feature: London pigeon droppings inspire brooch-maker

Brooch by Frances Wadsworth-Jones

From the ‘Heaven Sent’ collection by Frances Wadsworth-Jones

A young artist being showcased at the Museum of London has found inspiration for jewellery in pigeon droppings.

Frances Wadsworth-Jones from Ealing, west London, creates brooches using crushed precious and semi-precious gems which sell for up to £2,500.

She said it “played on the idea” that bird droppings landing on someone was “lucky”.

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Statue repair report for Jo Good’s show on BBC London 94.9

The Duke of Cambridge's horse

“Whitehall partially blocked: a man is naked atop the equestrian statue”. It has to be one of the strangest tweets the BBC London 94.9 travel team has ever put out. Last year a Ukrainian man was up there for three hours. Jo McDermott returned with a fully clothed man from English Heritage.


Broadcast on 31 July, 2013

Latest BBC feature: Ancestors traced within clicks after years of searching

The names of 205,000 people once restricted to overgrown graveyards and dusty archives have been liberated for the world to see.

Janet Ellis at her family's grave

Brompton Cemetery in West Brompton, west London, is the first of the “Magnificent Seven” London cemeteries constructed during the 1830s and 1840s to put all its burial registers online.

It means Janet Ellis has found a family grave she did not know was there.

She also discovered a 13-month-old relative, for whom no records existed.

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Latest authored BBC story: Margaret Thatcher art posters banned from Tube

Portrait by Ben Moore

Posters of Margaret Thatcher due to be shown at Westminster Tube station have been banned by advertising bosses.

Six portraits of the former prime minister, including a depiction of her as Queen Victoria, were due to run from this week.

CBS Outdoor, which sells advertising space across the London Underground, said running them would break Transport for London (TfL) guidelines.

Former Culture Secretary David Mellor said it was a “stupid situation”.

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Latest BBC feature: Tottenham MP wants security review in face of extremism

For the second time this season Tottenham Hotspur fans have been attacked abroad in what appears to be a racially-motivated incident.

Three Spurs supporters received minor injuries in a bar in the French city of Lyon on the eve of their side’s Europa League tie.

In November, one fan was seriously injured and several were hurt in a clash ahead of a Lazio game in Rome.

Questions are now being asked about the security around the north London club, which has a historic Jewish association.

‘Deeply worrying’

Up to 50 masked people attacked the Smoking Dog Pub at about 22:00 CET on Wednesday, smashing windows and throwing objects. Fans were hurt by flying glass.

Former Met officer Chris Hobbs said any club could have been targeted

Eyewitnesses said the attackers entered the pub doing Nazi salutes.

David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, has now called for a careful review of security around Spurs supporters travelling abroad for games.

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Latest BBC feature: Requiem inspired by Londoners’ epitaphs is premiered

Barbara Windsor singing

A requiem inspired by the graves of Londoners has been premiered in north London.

Benjamin Till spent two years visiting 20 graveyards and cemeteries for the funeral composition, The London Requiem.

Actress Barbara Windsor, comedian Matt Lucas, playwright Sir Arnold Wesker, folk singer Maddie Prior and pop singer Tanita Tikaram have contributed.

It was performed at Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington.

‘Wonderful, loving fun’

Mr Till who lives in Hampstead, north London, said it was a trip to his local burial ground Highgate Cemetery which gave him the idea to write a requiem.

He said he was struck by the graveyard’s beauty and an inscription which read: “Be kind, for everyone we meet is fighting a hard battle.”

An epitaph in Hoop Lane Cemetery in Golders Green, north-west London, inspired the second movement of the piece, the Kyrie.

It reads: “Ever in my heart, Ever in my mind, Ever by my side. Thanks for 53 wonderful loving fun years.”

The words have been sung by Barbara Windsor.

She said: “When you get to my age – I’m 74 and I’ve experienced a hell of a lot – you don’t get many firsts.”

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London 2012 reports for BBC London 94.9


Several countries have created special Olympic hospitality venues for the Games. The Jamaicans have the 02, the French have Billingsgate Market. Jo McDermott headed to Alexandra Palace to check out one of the most ambitious, with a party reputation from previous Games.


Broadcast on 28 July, 2012.



For the first time at an Olympics, Holland House has branched out and taken over a boat to bring the party atmosphere of London to Weymouth where the country’s sailors will be battling for gold medals. Jo McDermott was invited on board.


Broadcast on 30 July, 2012.



With Team GB’s incredible success, it’s easy to forget what the pain of losing feels like. Every country handles it differently. BBC London 94.9′s Jo McDermott was at London Bridge at the Swiss party camp for Roger Federer’s final.


Broadcast on 8 August, 2012.



Attention is now turning to London’s handover to Rio for the 2016 Games. Jo McDermott headed to Chinatown to find out how the Chinese there think London compared to Beijing.


Broadcast on 13 August, 2012.

Olympic stories produced for BBC London 94.9 by Jo McDermott and Tom Bigwood.

You’re a Londoner when…

Can you pick up a Standard from a stand in one swift movement without breaking your stride? c.Richard Baker

Olympics visitors are going to descend on London soon.

Since I’ve just returned to the city after four years abroad, I’ve been studying its inhabitants and learning to imitate them.

These are my conclusions.


  • You don’t break your stride to pick up an Evening Standard from a stand
  • You can trot down a moving Tube escalator in high heels
  • You own something high viz
  • You think 11pm is late
  • You don’t question why the bus, train or Tube you’re waiting for is late or cancelled…
  • But you’ll sure as hell get narky if a bus passenger deigns to pay in cash or ask a question of the driver hence delaying you by one minute
  •  You’ve always thought you should one day take the open top tourist bus… but never have
  • You are profoundly disappointed when it’s 13 degrees and there’s no sunshine- though this is the yearly average state of play and you’re not living in Rio
  • You’ve had too much to drink in a public place
  • You are able to navigate the streets of Soho though they were seemingly mapped out by a confused medieval goat

For exhibits of the above and great London street photography, go to the free exhibition at King’s Cross Station until August 15:


Latest BBC feature: The London workforce not receiving a Games bonus

Dave Choo runs a souvenir stall in Oxford Street, central London

Hundreds of workers employed on London’s ‘Boris bike’ hire service have become the latest people to secure a bonus for working over the Olympic Games.

It seems each day brings another group of workers demanding a golden £500. The bus drivers are protesting, hot on the heels of London’s train and Tube workers.

But what about the majority of Londoners who will not be receiving extra money for their added time and hard work?

Asked if anyone in the Olympic Stadium’s borough, Newham, would be receiving a bonus, a press officer answered: “No, we’re all just going to have to work bloody hard.”

And that seems to sum up the resolve of most of London’s unsung heroes – the shop workers putting in extra hours, the hauliers who will work through the night to get deliveries made, the postal workers who could well find themselves sitting in their van cabins clocking up unpaid overtime.

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