Firmly in Knightsbridge, much of Yeoman’s Row is currently under building wraps as major construction work takes place. One of the things I noticed is that Yeomen’s Row is one of the cleanest streets in SW3. Maybe there are more street cleaners in this area – they were certainly in evidence the day I was there. I love the way that they customise their carts with things like gonks and trolls in the same way that office workers personalise their computer screens with furry animals – although I wonder if the knick-knacks are personally chosen or whether they are simply found in the rubbish and are deemed just too good to throw away.
I use the term “street cleaner”, since this is the title preferred by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC), which has (thankfully) moved on from the periphrasis much loved by councils in the 1980s and 1990s. I was going to use “street sweeper” (for that is what they do) until I realised that this is the name of a lethal weapon.
One of the areas I shall be investigating, as this project unfolds, is that of persuasive language and, in particular, the linguistic strategies employed by different councils. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea broadly favours the integrative approach of building solidarity by trying to persuade residents that they should “Love Clean Streets”. The attendant website shows a number of interesting strategies, with my favourite being the plaintive argument, as part of the dispose-of-your-chewing-gum-properly-campaign, that ‘animals can get gum stuck on their fur’.