No magic roundabout

By | 7th October 2011

We have all heard about Silicon Valley and some of us have even heard about Silicon Fen (the area around Cambridge which is home to many dotcom and other technology start ups) and a few will even have heard of New York’s Silicon Alley!

However, just when you thought you were safe, along comes the Silicon Roundabout, the name given to the booming Old Street/Shoreditch area on the northern edge of the City of London.

Roundabouts are becoming somewhat of a recurring theme in this blog (it is only a few weeks since I was singing the praises of Nashville’s Music Row roundabout) but this roundabout doesn’t yet have the same cachet, sitting as it does in the middle of the busy intersection of Old Street and City Road, and above the entrance to the underground station.

I have worked in the area for some years now and I must confess I have never thought of it as a particularly noteworthy or pioneering area. Indeed, it could be said that after many years of upgrading the Tube, there is one station which really needs a make over, and that is Old Street.

Now David Cameron, no less, is extolling the virtues of this area (which is slowly, very slowly, being refurbished) and although he failed to persuade Twitter to set up its HQ down the road (apparently they preferred the delights of Dublin, a fine city where almost everyone has a view of the world capable of being expressed in 140 characters or less), he has persuaded Google to occupy a seven storey building in the area.

Millnet has, of course, been at the heart of the technology boom in the area (having been in Stapleton House and previously Worship Street for about 13 years) and it is wonderful to know that our efforts and the contribution we have made to the area are being recognised by one of the largest and most pervasive companies in the world.

If I have a complaint (actually I have two!) it is/they are that the Prime Minister should be so limited in his ambition as to refer to this budding technology zone as a mere roundabout. What is wrong with Silicon City? The name must convey an impression a few notches higher up the appreciation scale than a mere roundabout.

Which brings me to my second complaint. I have mentioned the dreary state of the tube station at Old Street, under the said roundabout. Could Dave have a word with his friend Boris and see if we can have a revamped station as soon as possible so that when our international clients visit us they do at least come out into a pleasant plaza more reminiscent of Canary Wharf or the Rockefeller Center in New York than the run down, graffiti covered enclosure we see today?

What price Silicon City, eh?