Monday, July 22, 2024

Relics in a Forgotten Park

Pier Road Park
Keilyn beside a giant anchor.

It was during one of my walks with Keilyn that we discovered a small park on the banks of the River Thames.

We had just disembarked from the Woolwich Free Ferry and were heading along Pier Road, when we noticed a giant anchor. It was set atop a concrete and brick base that was being encroached upon by bushes.

Railway Crane
Keilyn and the Railway Crane.

The path meandered around the raised anchor, leading us to a wide, but narrow, concrete area beside the river. To our left was a Railway Crane, resting on a short section of rails attached to concrete sleepers. It was a fascinating thing to discover. There was no engine, nor cab, so I am unsure as to how it was powered.

A little further on we discovered benches, facing the river, another anchor and, towards the end of the park, a propeller and a set of steps led down to the foreshore. 

Keilyn on a small anchor
Keilyn standing on the smaller anchor.

This park had been designed, at some point, as a place that people could sit to watch the River Thames, while the trees acted as a screen, blocking out the sight of the industrial and residential complexes, springing up beyond Pier Road.

Keilyn on a propeller
Keilyn standing on a propeller.

Raised brick borders may have been planted with flowers, but are now overgrown with uncontrolled bushes and weeds.

Thursday, July 18, 2024

St George's Garrison Church

St George's Garrison Church Entrance
St George's Garrison Church.

I had read quite a bit about St George's Garrison Church and its history, but I had never been to visit it, until now.

As it is only open to the public on Sundays, unless for an exhibition or special event, it has always been difficult to find the time to get there. Fortunately, I was in the area as I had just visited Severndroog Castle, just down the road, which has a viewing platform that is only accessible on, you guessed it, a Sunday.

St George's Garrison Church Gate
One of Church gates.

It was beautiful noon day as Keilyn and I wandered through the gates into the garden of this ruined church, the sun illuminating the gold mosaic above the altar, ahead of us. The canopy, above the remains, filtered the light making the whole place glow.

St George's Garrison Church Canopy
The canopy protecting the ruins.

The mosaics are stunning, with the St George mosaic being my favourite along with the Victoria Cross Memorial.

St George's Garrison Church Altar
The mosaics glinting in the diffused light.

The walls, pillars and columns are all still in place creating a wonderful place to reflect.

Monday, July 15, 2024

'Demon with Bowl' by Damien Hirst

Demon with Bowl by Damien Hirst
'Demon with Bowl' by Damien Hirst.

Walking around the Greenwich Peninsula you will discover that the area is full of Public Art. Whether it be a small sculpture, interactive installations, a slice of a ship or a signpost, there is a lot to discover. 

Many of these are created by internationally renowned artists, that include Anthony Gormley, Alex Chinneck, and Damien Hirst.

Demon with Bowl by Damien Hirst
Keilyn with the 'Demon with Bowl' sculpture.

It is the latter that has installed an 18 metre (60 foot) sculpture on the peninsula, outside the Greenwich Peninsula terminal of the London Cable Car.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

'Staff Letters' Boxes

Staff Letters Box
A 'Staff Letters' box on the Piccadilly line - photo © Keilyn J. A. Morrissey.

Normally I only spot interesting things when walking the streets of London. 

On this occasion I was travelling on the Piccadilly line when I noticed these boxes, as we stopped at various stations. As the boxes were never opposite where we were sat, it took a while to work out what was written on them. 

Fortunately, as we pulled into one station, the box was almost directly outside the carriage, so Keilyn jumped off the train, took the photo and jumped back on, all with a big grin on her face.

It took a bit of research, when we got home, but theses boxes are exactly what they say they are... Letter boxes for staff.

Monday, July 08, 2024

More Than Just a Statue to a Great Man

James Henry Greathead statue
Greathead's tunnelling shield in action.

Across the road from the Bank of England, on Cornhill, there is a statue of a man, atop a tall plinth, which allows him to gaze down on to the street below. The man is wearing a fedora and appears to be holding some sort of map, giving him a kind of 'Indiana Jones' appearance. The man is James Henry Greathead, who was born in South African in 1844. 

So what is it about him that demands a statue on such a large plinth in this area of the City of London? 

Well. James Henry Greathead moved to England in 1859, where he studied under the civil engineer Peter W. Barlow. This was a great era for tunnel diggers, what with Marc Brunel and his son, Isambard, having tunnelled beneath the River Thames and created the first tunnel beneath a navigable waterway, in 1843.

Brunel had designed and patented an 'Iron Shield', for his tunnelling, which Greathead, along with Barlow, greatly improved upon. Their project would be London's second tunnel beneath the River Thames and was called, unsurprisingly, the Tower Subway, as it would carry 12 passengers along a narrow-gauge railway from Tower Hill to Tooley Street.

The tunnelling shield was an immediate success, considering that the majority of London's underground lines had been built with the 'cut-and-cover' method, up to this point.