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Archive for November 20th, 2020

I’m not really a fan of circular walks and prefer to end somewhere I didn’t start. But since I’m walking during my break, I have no choice but to return from whence I started.

Yesterday afternoon could be described as a blue sky day, and since it was my penultimate day in the city I made the most of the good weather and went for a ramble….from Temple to the Millennium Bridge, crossing to Bankside and walking to Tower Bridge, back over the Thames as the sun was setting and ultimately back to Fleet street and Temple.

I saw many of my favourite sights, and covered 7.86 kms in total.

Although I haven’t noticed much change in the volume of traffic along Embankment, the reduction in the city was very noticeable with many streets almost deserted. It was really weird walking past hundreds of shops and pubs….lights off and doors locked, and not manypeopleaboutat all. A bit like it would be after an apocalypse….

Very weird. This is the city of Sundays when everyone is at home and you could meander the streets and lanes and rarely see a soul.

Of course I took lots of photos…I hope you enjoy them

Has the chewing gum man been here?

If you cross Millennium Bridge look down and you’ll see a number of tiny little works of art. These are mostly the work of the ‘chewing gum man’. He creates art out of gum tossed on the streets by neanderthals. Although that’s actually insulting Neanderthals. Ben Wilson (click here for a profile) is famous in London for creating miniature artworks from gum stuck on the streets. His artwork is not limited to Millennium Bridge and if you keep your eyes peeled you’ll find these creative pieces in other corners of the city. I met him once at one of his exhibitions, a very interesting man.

One of my favourite views downstream of the Thames
When you cross Millennium Bridge from north to south, be sure to stop on the south side and look back…brilliant view of St Paul’s Cathedral
Just off the corner of a side street on Bankside you’ll find The Ferrymans Seat – harking back to when you had to pay the ferryman to row you across the river
The Globe Theatre- albeit not the original, Globe theatre is linked to William Shakespeare and pre-covid this is where you would come to experience what theatres were like in the 16th century. Not far from here and behind the first row of buildings you’ll find the remains of the Rose Theatre, where Shakespeare did perform his plays.
In the foreground is the arch of Southwark Bridge. At this point you can see four bridges crossing the Thames: Southwark, Cannon Street, London Bridge and in the distance, Tower Bridge – often mistakenly called ‘London Bridge’.
Beneath the arch of Southwark Bridge are scenes of Frost Fairs on the river from the days when it froze over in winter – specifically Frost Fairs were held in 1683-34, 1716, 1739-40, and 1814. The river is noe narrower and deeper and flows faster; and no longer freezes over.
A mural depicting William Shakespeare on the wall near The Clink Prison. I wonder what he would make of London today.
A fragment the Great Hall and Rose Window of Winchester Palace in Southwark. Once the palace of the Bishops of Winchester. The prostitutes who plied their trade in this area under the auspices of the Bishops were known as the ‘Winchester Geese’
A short walk from here is a piece of ground where they were apparently buried.
Southwark Cathedral circa 1905 – a place of Christian worship for more than 1,000 years it was originally an Augustinian priory built between 1106 and 1897. In 2017 I walked from the cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral following Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
Minerva and The Shard. This delightful sculpture can be found on the river side of the cathedral.
The Navigators; one of my favourite sculptures in London located in Hays Galleria
HMS Belfast moored on the Thames since 1971 on Southwark side of the river; the most significant surviving WWII Royal Navy warship. Since her launch over 82 years ago, she fired some of the first shots at the D-Day landings, served in the Arctic Convoys, and in the Korean War.
The magnificent White Tower glows in the light of the setting sun
Toad Hall aka the London Mayor’s Office – many years ago a play; Wind in the Willows, was staged in the open air theater next to the building. It was nicknamed Toad Hall and the name has stuck ever since, and occasionally we have (had) a real larger than life toad working there…
#notLondonBridge – Tower Bridge stands guard over The Pool of London – a bastion between the the lower reaches of the Thames and the City of London
Looking upstream. One of the many many barges that traverse the waterways on a daily basis; one of hundreds of various craft that ply the river ….
The Tower of London viewed from Tower Hill
The Tower of London- 6 years ago the moat was covered with ceramic poppies to commemorate the start of the First World War. I was one of the many lucky people who got to plant a few.
Remnants of the original Roman City walls located at the end of the pedestrian underpass from Tower Hill station
All Hallows by the Tower Church – oldest church in London. In the crypt you can see the crows nest from Shackleton’s ship, Endeavour. Samuel Pepys stood in the platform of the tower and watched London burning in 1666
A poignant memorial located in front of the church
The Monument commemorates the area where the Great Fire of London started in 1666. Nearby is a small plaque on a building showing the original location of the bakers shop where the fire was meant to have started. If you ever decide to climb to the viewing platform…there are a lot of steps!! But you get a certificate for your efforts
Another of my favourite sculptures – The Cordwainer. Located in the ‘Ward of Cordwainer’, which in medieval times was the centre of shoe-making in the City of London. Only the finest leather from Cordoba in Spain was used, which gave rise to the name of the craftsmen and the Ward
The Royal Exchange – London’s first purpose built trading centre. The Royal Exchange in London was founded in the 16th century by the merchant Sir Thomas Gresham
A peek at St Paul’s Cathedral
My absolute favourite building in London – St Paul’s Cathedral still stands proud amongst all the new. Designed and built by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London razed the original to the ground. A tiny grave in the crypt of the cathedral is the resting place of this famous man. His epitaph: si monumentum requiris, circumspice”—if you are searching for his monument, look around. In all Wren designed 53 of London’s churches as well as other secular buildings. St Paul’s Cathedral featured in the famous film Mary Poppins.
St Brides Church aka the ‘wedding cake’ church. Urban legend has it that a baker was looking out the window of his shop one day looking for inspiration for a wedding cake he was creating…hence the popular design of the layered wedding cake. It’s named for the saint St Bride and is also known as the Journalists Church due to its proximity to Fleet Street, once home to the newspaper trade.
Back whence I started. The spot where I’m standing is actually in the City of Westminster and the City of London Griffin marks the boundary between the two cities. When I step past the sculpture I’m then in the City of London.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your trip around London and some snippets of history.

By the time my walk ended, the sun was setting below the horizon. Across the river is the OXO Tower and the Sea Containers building. Not sure what the two new towers are, but I wish they weren’t there…downstream you can see The Shard, its highest point lit up in blue.
Looking upstream towards the London Eye from the same location at the same time. You can see a sliver of the moon just to the right of the tall building on the left
My walk 7.86kms via mapmywalk

And finally,  London by night. Taken at 10pm last night.

The Sea Containers building lit up with a rainbow
The Colours of London – still my favourite city in the whole world

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