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.