Monday, February 20, 2023

'Elfin Oak' by Ivor Innes

London The Unfinished City

When wandering around London, especially with my girls, we sometimes have a plan of where we are going. At other times we just arrive in London. Alight from the train. And then just follow our feet.

London The Unfinished City

Visiting the Elfin Oak was one of those planned days out, where we took in the Diana Memorial Playground, Kensington Gardens and the Italian Gardens, before heading through Hyde Park to Green Park.

After an exploratory of the Diana Memorial Playground both Erin and Keilyn were fascinated, as was I, with a fenced off stump of oak covered with elves, fairies, gnomes and animals.

London The Unfinished City

There were gnomes stealing eggs, a witch and a banquet hall among many other carvings. 

The girls were so captivated with the peace that Emma and I managed to finish our coffees, which were piping hot, long before we had finished looking at art in front of us.

London The Unfinished City

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Isle of Dogs

London The Unfinished City
Canary Wharf across the fields.

One of the places that I have begun to visit more and more, lately, is the Isle of Dogs. Not just the Canary Wharf area, the Museum of London Docklands or Crossrail Place Roof Garden (which is beautiful in the summer months), but the rest of this piece of land that has the River Thames meandering around it. 

London The Unfinished City
The North Dock.

From the historic launch ramps of the SS Great Eastern to the oldest public house on the Island. From Cubitt Town to Millwall. From Mudchute Park and Farm to Island Gardens, there is much to discover.

London The Unfinished City
Crossrail Place Roof Garden.

To walk around the Isle takes less than two hours and it is a revealing experience. 

London The Unfinished City
One Bank Street.

Unlike many other areas in this neck of the woods, the history of this piece of London and its people has been kept. This may have something to do with the east end ethic of history and community, rather than a conscious effort on the part of local government.

London The Unfinished City
The oldest pub on the Island.

Regardless, there is always something to discover and wonder at as you wander around what was, up until fairly recent times, a patch of marshland that was prone to flooding.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Oxo Tower

London The Unfinished City
The original fa├žade of the former power station.

Walking along the South Bank, of the River Thames, there is a myriad style of architecture, with old buildings sitting beside new tower blocks, but, somehow, it works.

It is hard to imagine, but the Oxo building was originally a power station, which opened towards the end of the 1800s, supplying power to the Royal Mail post office.

The windows, built into the tower, hint at what the building would become, following its closure as a power station, but it is these windows that would cause a controversy.

Sunday, February 05, 2023

King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery

London The Unfinished City
A QF 13-pounder being fired in Green Park.

Anyone that has visited London while it is celebrating a Royal birthday, wedding, celebration or state visit, will no doubt have seen, if not heard, cannon being fired from one of the Royal Parks, HM Palace and Fortress at the Tower of London or another special site.

The gun salute is a ceremonial duty performed by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, who were created to perform this role, among other things, by King George VI.

London The Unfinished City
The King's Troop on Constitution Hill waiting to enter Green Park.

One of the most accessible places to view the gun salute is in Green Park, which allows you to see the Troop on Constitution Hill and then follow them charging in to Green Park and setting up.

London The Unfinished City
Preparing to fire the first shot of the gun salute.

If you ever get the chance to witness a gun salute... take it.