Thursday, 31 August 2017

Tower Bridge Exhibition

Built to last.

It was back in March, of 2015, when, as a birthday treat, I went to the Tower Bridge Exhibition, as I was eager to see the newly installed glass floors. I had last walked across them in 1982, when I was 10.

The sheer scale of the bridge, and its inner workings, are amazing to behold, considering what tools they had to use, back in the 1880s.

The Roundel

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 just 15.5 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.

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..

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

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Embassy of Iran

Where They Who Dared... Won.

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. 

Sunday, 20 August 2017

'Peter the Great'

A gift from the Russian People.

It was during one of my Greenwich walks that I stumbled across this rather odd, and creepy looking, statue of Peter the Great. 

I had started at the Thames Barrier before heading westward, to see HMS Ocean, which was moored at the Old Royal Naval College. After taking a few photos I continued on my journey towards Tower Bridge, happy that I had got the photos I had hoped for. 

But, as I turned the corner, on to Glaisher Street, I noticed this rather peculiar, odd and creepy statue. So, once again, I took some photos.

Policeman's Hook

A one-of-a-kind cloak hook.

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.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Imperial War Museum

From Bethlem to Bedlam.

The Imperial War Museum (London branch) is one of my favourite museums. I cannot count the number of times that I have visited, but would be in the high twenties. It holds a world-leading collection of artefacts from the earliest conflicts and wars through to those from current theatres of operation. 

Following a multi-million pound restoration, which saw the majority of the building redeveloped, including the entrance atrium, space has been created to show more objects from the collection, while creating additional exhibition areas.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Battle of Britain Monument

A Monument to "The Few".

I have always been fascinated by the various statues, monuments and memorials dotted around London, including the temporary pieces that appear every now-and-again.

I also have a fascination with the Battle of Britain, so, when I found out about this monument, I had to visit it.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Wilton's Music Hall

Last of the Grand Music Halls.

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.

Prospect of Whitby

Prospect of Whitby, the Unfinished City
London's oldest riverside inn.
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. Katherine's Dock, I knew where I would be ending up, which made the walk even more exciting. 

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. 

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.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Texan Embassy

Embassy for the Republic of Texas.

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, that I had recently heard about. I knew where it had been situated, but, at this time of evening, or morning, I was unsure if I would be able to find the plaque. As you can see, I did.


A 'Temple' in the Heart of the City.

This sculpture, by Damien Hirst, stands just to the east of Leadenhall Market. It is a sculpture that is gorgeously designed with amazing colours. 

It might not be to everyone's taste and may upset smaller children, but it is a beauty to behold. 

Thursday, 10 August 2017

London Duck Tours

"Miranda" exits the River Thames".

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.

*On Sunday September 17, 2017, after 15 years, London Duck Tours ceased touring as they no longer had access to the slipway, due to Thames Water compulsory purchase order of said slipway, where the Ducks entered and exited the River Thames. 
There is still hope that they will return some time soon.*

They are, however, currently available for Private Hire, although this only for land-based tours.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Tobacco Dock

Land-locked Dock.

Tobacco Dock
was another one of those places that I heard lots about, but yet, 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.

Guinness' Trust Buildings

In Guinness We Trust.

It was during one of my 'let's do a left, then a right, then a left', wanders around the Unfinished City, when I came across these buildings. These tenement blocks were the seventh such buildings to be built by the Guinness Trust, in London.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

City of Champions

Cast of Champions.

Cast, left to right : Amy Burke, Joel Arnold, Joe Southall, Steve Brown (writer and director), Ellie Ward, Maggie Robson and Ian McCurrach.

I had a thoroughly amazing time watching the final night of City of Champions, at the London Theatre Workshop

The play took us through a roller coaster of emotions; some funny and humourous highs to some very dark and emotional lows. 

The cast were superb and really brought the characters to life with great dialogue and wonderful chemistry. 

Thursday, 3 August 2017

'Rope Circle'

I Spy... A Heron.

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 Katherine Dock and headed towards Wapping. Before I reached the Ornamental Canal, I noticed this sculpture beside Hermitage Basin. The Heron, in the background, was an added bonus.

The Hardy Tree

Fraxinus Excelsior.

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.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017



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.

'City Beyond the Bridge'

City Beyond the Tower Bridge Black and White
City Beyond the Bridge.

On one of my annual late Summer walks, around the Unfinished City, I dropped down on to the River Thames foreshore and stood beneath Tower Bridge. The summer sun, partially obscured by clouds, caused some great shadows to be cast, allowing me to take this shot.

With the City of London and the Tower of London, in the background, and with waves gently lapping against the foreshore, this a great place to grab some unique shots.

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