Monday, May 27, 2024

Walking with Family and Friends: Aldgate to St Katharine Docks... and beyond

St Katharine Docks and Marina
St Katharine Docks and Marina.

Saturday May 25, 2024. 

Another Saturday and another walk through London.

Keilyn and I met up with my friend Steve at Watford Underground station and boarded our train to Baker Street. Arriving at Croxley station we were joined by my mum and uncle Martin.

We alighted at Finchley Road and waited the six minutes for an Aldgate bound train to continue our journey.

Arriving at Aldgate station we headed outside and, after crossing Aldgate High Street, grabbed a coffee from 'Copper Coffee', on the corner of Mansell Street. We then continued along Mansell Street on to St Katharine's Way and our destination of St Katharine Docks.

The Barge 'Excelsior'

With the sun in an almost cloudless sky it was the perfect conditions to wander around the Marina with its yachts, barges and other vessels.

Koi fish in the Marina
Is that a Koi?

Having explored the marina and after spotting what looked like Koi in the clear waters, we made our way to the Docks and the chance to explore the 'Dunkirk Little Ships' that had arrived ahead of the anniversary of 'Operation Dynamo', which took place between May 26 and June 4, 1940.

Dunkirk Little Ships
Dunkirk Little Ships.

These historic ships had been part of an armada that travelled from Ramsgate to Dunkirk to aid in the rescue of over 336,000 British and French soldiers. Many of these boats made multiple trips.

We read the stories of the ships, listened to crew members telling stories and got up close to these historic vessels.

Dunkirk Little Ships at St Katharine Docks
A different perspective.

With noon fast approaching we went our separate ways, with mum and Martin staying around the St Katharine Docks area, while Keilyn, Steve and I crossed Tower Bridge and headed along the Thames Path towards Rotherhithe.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Dunkirk Little Ships at St Katharine Docks and Marina

Dunkirk Little Ships at St Katharine Docks
Dunkirk Little Ships at St Katharine Docks and Marina.

Saturday May 25, 2024.

With the anniversary of the start of 'Operation Dynamo', this weekend, some of the 'Little Ships of Dunkirk' had made their way to St Katharine Docks and Marina, allowing visitors to get up close to these historic vessels.

Dunkirk Little Ships at St Katharine Docks
Some of the historic Dunkirk Little Ships.

It was a beautiful summer morning as we walked around the Docks and Marina, inspecting these small boats that, 84 years ago, had made their way from Ramsgate to Dunkirk to help in the evacuation of more than 338,000 British and French soldiers. 

Dunkirk 1940 Plaque
A 'Dunkirk 1940' commemorative plaque.

Each boat was in pristine condition and each had its own story to tell, with information boards and owners and crew ready and willing to share the stories of the vessels.

Dunkirk Little Ships at St Katharine Docks
Dunkirk Little Ship 'Lady Lou'.

'Lady Lou' is one of four surviving pre-war Ramparts and was built in 1936.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Brunel Museum

Brunel Museum Tunnel Shaft
The Mural on the side of the Grand Entrance Hall.

The Brunel Museum is located within the Brunel Engine House building, Rotherhithe. This small but very informative museum allows you to descend into the Rotherhithe Thames Tunnel Shaft and visit the Engine House, where you will learn exactly what went in to building the world's first tunnel beneath a navigational waterway.

Marc Isambard Brunel designed Engine House as part of the Thames Tunnel project. Steam-powered pumps, used to extract water from the tunnel, were originally housed here, although it was used as a boiler house, between 1825-43. 

Brunel Museum Priming Pump
A Priming Pump from 1929.

In 1961 the Brunel Engine House opened and offered visitors the chance to see the interior of the building, as well as the Rennie flat V steam engine.

In 1974 the Engine House and Chimney were Grade II Listed. 

Between 1975-79 restoration work to stop structural decay was undertaken and completed.

Brunel Museum Engine House
The Chimney and Engine House.

In 2006 the Brunel Engine House changed its name to the Brunel Museum allowing the museum to incorporate other projects by the Brunel's. A new mural was created on the side of the Tunnel Shaft and benches were created in the style of Brunel bridges, in the garden area.

Brunel Museum Royal Albert Bridge
The Royal Albert Bridge, Saltash, as a bench at the museum.

Refurbishments, in 2007, included the moving of the Rennie flat V steam engine to the Chatham Historic Dockyard, thus creating a larger exhibition space and improved toilet facilities, within the Engine House. 

Brunel Museum Memorabilia
Memorabilia for the Thames Tunnel.