Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Blackfriars Railway Bridge

St. Paul's Railway Bridge & Blackfriars Railway Bridge.

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.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Emirates Air Line

Reaching for the Sky.

I absolutely love traveling across the River Thames, via the Emirates Air Line, even though it is simpler, and cheaper, to stay on the Jubilee Line. 

The reason is the novelty, which still hasn't worn off after countless flights. The views are unique and you can see so much: The Thames Barrier, Canary Wharf, The Shard, the Olympic Park, the Old Royal Naval College and lots more, on a clear day. 

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Horse Guards Parade

You Shall Not Pass.

When walking along Whitehall, it is hard to miss the Life Guards, sitting proud astride their mounts, or standing silent in their alcoves at Horse Guards Parade. Walking through the arch, which is still the official entrance to St. James's and Buckingham Palace, leads you on to the ceremonial parade ground, beyond. If you time your visit you can watch the Changing of the Queen's Life Guard, which is always a crowd puller. Within Horse Guards Parade is the Household Cavalry Museum, where you can try on the uniforms, learn about their history and also see the stables and regiment in action.

Friday, 15 September 2017

'Burghers of Calais'

Freedom from Oppression.

The Unfinished City has an amazing amount of statues, memorials, sculptures and public art, both permanent and temporary, dotted around its streets and environs.

This sculpture stands in the Victoria Tower Gardens, on a spot picked by Auguste Rodin himself.

Westminster Cathedral

As yet, unfinished.

Westminster Cathedral is one of those places, in the Unfinished City, that I had heard a lot about, but had never visited. So I rectified that by paying it a visit. As it is a working Cathedral there are services running, so it is worth picking a suitable time ti visit.

The exterior of the building is impressive, but doesn't look intimidating, as it stands at the back of a small plaza.

However, once inside, you begin to feel dwarfed by the sheer scale of the building, which is cavernous. The ceiling, which seems to be hidden in a small haze, caused by the smoke from a multitude of candles, seems further away than the altar. And the pillars, which are covered in marble at their lower region, barely seem strong enough to hold up the massive triple-domed roof.

There is also an amazing model of the Cathedral and an exhibition that shows some some religious artefacts that have been acquired by the cathedral, since it opened.

A trip up to the top of the bell tower allows you to see London in all of its glory, that easily rival those of the more popular tourist sights.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Vauxhall Cross

Home to the Secret Intelligence Service - MI6.

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

Home to the Secret Service - MI5.

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. Thankfully, a trip on a London Duck Tour gave me the perfect opportunity to get this shot.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Postman's Park

More than just a park.

It was during a wet Saturday morning, in January, when I found this quiet little park. I had been enjoying a stroll from St. Paul's Cathedral, through Paternoster Square and up to Greyfriars Church Garden, when I noticed a gate leading into a small park, so I went in to see if there was anything of interest. And, boy, was there. 

The park appears, at first, to be simply a small patch of grass, surrounded by paving slabs and a couple of benches, with a few trees and bushes breaking up the space. Then you notice a sundial and a small fountain, but It is not until you enter the park proper that you notice a small covered area, where tiles are affixed to a wall. The legend, written on the timber, says, "Commemoration of heroic self-sacrifice."

The tiles all commemorate local heroes who lost their lives while saving others.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

The Crystal

London's most sustainable building.

My annual September walk, through the Unfinished City, saw me traverse the capital from the Royal Docks through to Whitechapel, via the Thames Path

Travelling above the River Thames, via the Emirates Air Line, gives you a great perspective on a truly unique building, named The Crystal.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Roman Bath

Roman? Tudor, more like!

This is one of the more unusual, hidden gems of the Unfinished City, that I had been eager to see for quite a while. The National Trust, who look after the Roman Bath, state that the you can visit at any time between 09:00 and dusk, to view the Roman Bath through a grill, but viewing of the interior must be made by contacting Westminster Council.

However, having visited on a number of occasions, the door has always been locked, except one time. On that visit, the window, through which you can view the interior, was so grimy that I couldn't make anything out. There is a light, that works on a timer, to illuminate the interior, but this was out of order. Maybe next time will be better.

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