Thursday, February 25, 2021

Samuel Lowdell


London The unfinished City
Samuel Lowdell (1864-1887).

Samuel Lowdell, of Bow Common, was a bargeman that worked on the barge 'William and Mary', on the River Thames. During his short life Samuel had previously saved two other people from the dangerous waters of Old Man Thames.

On the night of February 25, 1887, Samuel was working on the barge, near Blackfriars, when a shout went up that someone had fallen into the River. A boy, named Buck, had fallen in and, without any hesitation, Samuel dived into the frigid, murky waters to save him.

Unfortunately, on this occasion, after saving the boy, Samuel became stuck beneath a smaller boat, which was moored next to his barge. Despite frantic efforts to free him, Samuel never resurfaced and was presumed drowned. Buck was pulled from the water by another boat.

Samuel's body would not be recovered from the River Thames until March 23, 1887.

On April 3, 1887, Samuel Lowdell was buried in a common grave at Manor Park Cemetery.

This plaque is situated on the wall of the G. F. Watts Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice, in Postman's Park. 

Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice

Monday, February 15, 2021

Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie (Southwark Cathedral)

London The Unfinished City
Cathedral Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie (Southwark Cathedral).

Southwark Cathedral dominates the area around London Bridge, Bankside and sits right next to Borough Market.

It is a remarkable building that is gradually being swamped by other buildings in the area. One of the best ways to get to see the building in all of its glory, besides going inside, is to look down on it from The Shard.

If you are ever in the area then it is well worth exploring the building and its history, in which it is steeped. But, you must remember it is a working building, so entry may be refused on special occasions, so check their website or signage before visiting.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

London Necropolis Railway


London The unfinished City
London Necropolis Railway Station

Wandering around the south of the River Thames, near Waterloo Station, you are surrounded by some fantastic architecture. 

This building which, to me, looked like an old fire station is actually the entrance to the London Necropolis Railway. 

Sunday, February 07, 2021

Brydges Place


London The Unfinished City
Brydges Place, Bedfordbury entrance

Brydges Place is an odd curiosity, that I stumbled upon quite by accident. It has the distinction of being London's narrowest passageway, being just 15 inches at its narrowest point.

It was during one of my meandering strolls around the West End that discovered this entrance on Bedfordbury, Charing Cross. I decided to wander along it, to see where it took me.

The entrance was of a typical width of about 6 feet and about 80 feet along another entrance appeared, on my left, which leads to Chandos Place. This entrance was considerably wider and was obviously built to allow vehicles to enter for loading and unloading. 

Continuing along Brydges Place, which runs for roughly 280 feet, the only people I saw were restaurant staff exiting the rear of their premises to place rubbish in the bins. It did make me wonder if, besides those who work along its length, anyone does use this alley as a shortcut.

A sense of unease started to plague me as, slowly, the walls appeared to be closing in on me. By the time I reached the end of Brydges Place, my shoulders were almost touching both sides of the alley. 

London The Unfinished City
Brydges Place, from St. Martin's Lane.

London is full of alleyways and narrow streets, some of which hide hidden gems like pubs and old shops and building. Brydges Place is not one of them. Instead, it is, quite simply, a straight walkway between one place and another. Its only saving grace, is its ability to make you feel uneasy as the walls start to close in on you. Obviously, if you entered from St Martin's Lane the opposite would be true.

London The Unfinished City
A comparison of both entrances.