Saturday, November 12, 2016

London Duck Tours

London The Unfinished City
"Miranda" exits the River Thames".

Saturday November 12, 2016.

As a treat for Erin's 5th birthday, we decided to take in a London Duck Tour.

I have taken a London Duck Tour on a number of occasions, now, and find the tour offers something new, each time, while also offering unique views of the Unfinished City.

The guides are extremely knowledgeable about the sites that can be seen, on the tour, often throwing in pieces of trivia that, sometimes, I didn't know. 

One of the highlights is, obviously, when the Duck splashes down in the River Thames, by the side of the SIS building, and glides up to the Palace of Westminster

The tours are very popular and I would advise to book in advance, if you are going as a family or large group, although there is usually space available for individuals.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Texan Legation

London The Unfinished City
Legation for the Republic of Texas.

Friday October 28, 2016.

It was a late October evening when, after a visit to The Prince Charles Cinema, that I decided to go in search of the long-forgotten Embassy for the Republic of Texas, or Texas Legation, that I had recently heard about. I knew where it had been situated, but, at this time of evening, I was unsure if I would be able to find the plaque. As you can see, I did.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Embassy of Iran

London The Unfinished City
Where They Who Dared... Won.

Saturday October 8, 2016.

On May 5, 1980, the Iranian Embassy Siege, in Princes Gate, London, was brought to an abrupt end, when the British S.A.S. stormed the building, to save the hostages. I was 8 years old. 

On that particular Bank Holiday Monday, my dad had taken me to London to see what was happening there. All that I can remember of the event was sitting in his car and wondering what was going on, while he kept getting out of the car, with his camera. He was an independent journalist, and also a keen photographer, at the time.

It is a shame that I have no photographs, or written notes, that cover that historic day. 

So, this photo is a memory of that day out, with my dad. 

Hardy Tree

London The Unfinished City
Fraxinus Excelsior.
Saturday October 8, 2016.

For a change, instead of heading in to the Unfinished City to just have a wander, I had made a list of places to visit. This list would see me head from St Pancras down to Kensington, returning via Buckingham Palace before walking to Baker Street, where I would catch a train home.

St Pancras Old Church was a place that I had heard lots about and had always wanted to visit. I was especially looking forward to seeing The Hardy Tree, surrounded by headstones.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Policeman's Hook

London The Unfinished City
A one-of-a-kind cloak hook.

Friday September 30, 2016.

It was a beautiful Summer's day, as I strolled down Long Acre on one of my strolls around the Unfinished City. As I reached the junction I was unsure of which direction to take, so I mentally flipped a coin and decided to head along Great Newport Street

As I crossed the road I noticed this peculiar looking hook, on a wall of one of the buildings. As I had never seen anything like it I decided to take a photo, so that I could do some research when I returned home. As it turns out, this is the only Metropolitan Police Hook in London.

Sunday, September 11, 2016


London The Unfinished City
A Right Royal Barge.

Saturday September 10, 2016.

I was quite surprised when, walking around St Katharine Docks, I spotted the Queen's Rowbarge 'Gloriana', nestled amongst other vessels of varying size and stature. 

Because of the crowds, which were all trying to get a good view, it was hard to get a decent shot, but I was happy with this one.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Wilton's Music Hall

London The Unfinished City
Last of the Grand Music Halls.
Saturday September 10, 2016.

It was a damp afternoon as I wandered around the Tower Hamlets area of the Unfinished City, looking for interesting architecture and hidden gems, and boy did I find one. It was just as the rain started to pour, that I stumbled upon this true piece of East End history. And, to my great relief, it was open. So, inside I went. 

A multi-million renovation had just been completed on the building, which had been suffering from damp, rot, a leaky roof, subsidence and more irksome things.

Tobacco Dock

London The Unfinished City
Land-locked Dock.
Saturday September 10, 2016.

Tobacco Dock was another one of those places that I heard lots about, but had never visited. It was by pure chance that, as I wandered along the Ornamental Canal, I noticed the masts of two ships. As I climbed the stairs I realised where I was, so set about taking some photos.

London The Unfinished City
Tobacco Dock.

Although, on my visit, the docks were closed, it was good to finally see the ships and gates, before I continued walking eastwards.

'The Prospect of Whitby'

London The Unfinished City
London's oldest riverside inn.

Saturday September 10, 2016.

The Prospect of Whitby is one of the pubs, in the Unfinished City, that I had wanted to visit for many years. So, as I began a walk from St Katharine Docks, I knew where I would be ending up, which made the walk even more exciting. 

London The Unfinished City
What's in a name?

The exterior is amazing, but I much preferred the view from the foreshore. Inside there is a pewter-topped bar, which compliments the 400 year old stone floor, the only original piece of the building. 

London The Unfinished City
The front of The Prospect of Whitby.

On the foreshore, in front of the window overlooking the River Thames, is a replica gallows and noose, which commemorates one of the pubs frequent clients: 'Hanging' Judge Jeffreys.

'Rope Circle' by Wendy Ann Taylor

London The Unfinished City
I Spy... A Heron.

Saturday September 10, 2016.

For a change I decided to take a walk through an area of the Unfinished City that I was unfamiliar with. 
So, I started at St Katharine Docks and headed towards Wapping. 

Before I reached the Ornamental Canal, I noticed this sculpture beside Hermitage Basin. 

The circle makes for a great photo framing device, too.

London The Unfinished City
I spy... The Shard.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Foreshore: South

London The Unfinished City
What we leave behind...

It was a gloriously warm Friday morning, in the Unfinished City, as I made my way down on to the foreshore of the River Thames, just west of the MillenniuM Bridge. The tide was still receding, which allowed me to walk along the shore, below Blackfriars Bridge, to the steps in front of the OXO Restaurant Bar & Brasserie.

The foreshore, itself, was remarkably clean with little in the way of litter, making the task of finding those little pieces of history that much simpler. Within minutes I had found some smashed clay pipes, dating from between the 16-18th centuries. This was my first ever find on the foreshore, although I had looked for them on numerous occasions. There were scores of Thames Spuds (old London bricks that have been eroded and rounded by the tide), countless Iron Nails (possibly from where ships had been broken up on the foreshore), pieces of timber (possibly from the broken up ships) and an old wheel that looked as it had come from a horse-drawn carriage.

Friday, August 05, 2016


London The Unfinished City
Friday August 5, 2016.

These are all of the things that I have found on the foreshore of the River Thames. As I do not have a Mudlarking Licence, I can only recover what is on the surface. Even so, it is a wonderful feeling when you find something, like a piece of a pipe, that hasn't been touched by a living person in, possibly, centuries.


London The Unfinished City
The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I live in Watford, which is the largest town in Hertfordshire, and is the fourth most connected town in the country. 

So, being roughly 18 miles from the centre of London, getting into the Unfinished City is remarkably simple, and cheap.

I can guarantee, though, that 98% of my journeys, into the Unfinished City, are made via the London Underground. The other 2% I make via the overground networks, which include the London Overground and National Rail.

London The Unfinished City
Love the Tube: 160 Years of Service.

The Metropolitan Line station is just a short walk away and can take me straight through to Baker Street or Aldgate. Or I can change at Finchley Road, among others, to change onto a different line, depending on where I am headed,

One of the things that is instantly recognisable around the world, is the Roundel: The symbol used by Transport for London on all of their stations, bus stops, promotional material, etc..

London The Unfinished City
Bank station Roundel.

What many don't realise is how the Roundel developed over time.

Vauxhall Cross

London The Unfinished City
Home to the Secret Intelligence Service - MI6.

Friday August 5, 2016.

For one of the most highly secure and monitored buildings in the world, you can get remarkably close to the home of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6. There is a public footpath that runs in front of the building, above the River Thames, and access to the foreshore, via a slipway. The slipway will become inaccessible in September, during construction of a new super sewer.

However, one of the best views of the building can be seen from the north bank, directly opposite.

Thames House

London The Unfinished City
Home to the Secret Service - MI5.

Friday August 5, 2016.

I had been passed Thames House on various occasions, but because of the sheer size of the building, it was difficult to get a nice photo of it. Fortunately, a trip on the London Duck Tour, which enters the River Thames beside Vauxhall Cross, sails past this building, allowing me to get this shot.

London The Unfinished city
The entrance to Military Intelligence 5.

Anyone that has seen the BBC TV series 'Spooks' would not recognise this entrance, as the building used in the series, as Thames House, was actually the Freemasons Hall, on Great Queen Street.

St Paul's Cathedral

London The Unfinished City
A Monument to Worship, for all time.

Friday August 5, 2016.

Of all the iconic buildings in and around the Unfinished City, St Paul's Cathedral, quite possibly, stands head and shoulders above the rest. It is a building with such rich history and great architecture that it is one of the most visited buildings in the world. 

However, to my own dismay, it is a building that I have yet to see the interior of. 

Hopefully I can rectify this next year.

Blackfriars Railway Bridge

London The Unfinished City
St Paul's Railway Bridge & Blackfriars Railway Bridge.

Friday August 5, 2016.

I had always been fascinated by these towering, red, columns sitting beside the new Blackfriars Railway Bridge, but was unsure of what they were. 

Obviously, they were supports for a bridge, but what bridge? And, why they are still there? I decided to find out.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Royal Air Force Museum

London The Unfinished City
Avro Vulcan B2 - XL318.

Thursday July 28, 2016.

As a child I always enjoyed my visits to the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon, so I was eager to take my two girls, Erin and Keilyn, to see what they made of it. 

Erin (5) was fascinated by the size of the aircraft and liked the various designs, while Keilyn (4) wanted to get in to as many cockpits as she possibly could. 

Her favourite aircraft were the helicopters.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Monument to the Great Fire of 1666

London The Unfinished City
A Monument and a Scientific Laboratory.
Sunday March 6, 2016.

The Monument, as it is known, once stood proud above the skyline of the Unfinished City, offering unparalleled views of the great city. 

Since its construction it has now been dwarfed by the newer buildings in the area, which has led me to wander past this icon, without even noticing it. Today was different, and I managed to grab a shot, whilst trying to avoid the hundreds of tourists and business types.

One of the reliefs on the Monument
One of the engravings at the base of the Monument.

However, the views are still pretty spectacular and, for a small price, are worth climbing the steps for. Plus, as an added bonus, you receive a certificate to say that you have climbed it.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Leadenhall Market

London The Unfinished City
Arcade of Iron and Glass.

Friday March 4, 2016.

It was a strangely quiet Friday lunchtime, wandering around the Unfinished City, when I found myself heading toward the City of London.

This is an area hat I am the least familiar with, so I decided to take a look at Leadenhall Market and its immediate environs.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Piccadilly Lights

London The Unfinished City
Advertising Space.

Saturday January 16, 2016.

Between the dates of January 14 - 17, 2016, the Lumiere Festival visited the Unfinished City for the first time. It was while walking around some of the various installations, on a not very cold Saturday night, that I stopped at Piccadilly Circus, close to the statue of Anteros, the Angel of Christian Charity.

Because of the crowds that were milling about, even more so than normal because of the festival, I wasn't sure if I would be able to get a decent shot of the World famous Piccadilly Lights, but, to my surprise, this one came out quite well.