Thursday, March 30, 2023

Post Building Rooftop Garden

London The Unfinished City
Looking down on the British Museum.

One of the newer and free rooftop gardens to open to the public is the one atop the Post building, on Museum Street. Having recently visited Lift 109 at Battersea Power Station and having previously admired the views from the Garden at 120 Fenchurch Street, climbed the 311 steps of the Monument to the Great Fire of London, seen the view from The Shard, peered at St Paul's Cathedral from One New Change and the Switch Room at Tate Modern, among many other places, this rooftop garden was the next logical step.

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Looking east.

Although the Post Building is situated on Museum Street the entrance is around the corner on New Oxford Street. It isn't particularly well advertised but I soon found it.

After being allowed entry to the building I was met by an amiable security guard that told me that access to the rooftop garden required some form of identification. For example a driver's licence (I don't drive) or a passport (I only carry that when I am going abroad). The only identification that I had on me was my bank card and a few other items that had my name on them, which he accepted. 

With the visitors book signed I passed through the now standard metal detector, while my coat was scanned in an X-Ray machine. 

He then ushered me to the lift and told me to press '9'. On entering the lift I realised that the only other button to press, besides nine, was the alarm. I thought about pressing the alarm for 0.68 seconds, before I hit the '9' and travelled smoothly up the building.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Priory Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great

London The Unfinished City
Priory Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great.

Monday March 27, 2023.

Wandering around the London, as I do, I invariably stumble across places or discover hidden gems on a regular basis, that I was unaware of. The City of London is no different for me. Although the area is renowned for its business district, skyscrapers, popular landmarks and the such, there is an abundance of history to be found along its maze-like streets.

Today was different as I had gone to London specifically to visit the medieval Priory Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great, in the year that marks the 900th anniversary of the building.

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St Bartholomew's Gatehouse.

I entered the grounds of the church through St Bartholomew's gatehouse, which was once the southern doorway of the nave, which was destroyed in 1536. 

I walked along the the path and entered the church which, considering it had only been open for 15 minuted, was full of visitors on a coach tour. So, I took my time exploring this fascinating building, waiting for the crowd to move on so that I could get some photos. I am not one that likes people in my photos, if I can help it.

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Looking towards the altar.

I didn't have to wait too long and I was soon looking around the church alone and in silence.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Battersea Power Station

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Refurbished and reopened.

Battersea Power Station has been an iconic landmark on London's skyline since the 1930s. 

I had only visited the area once, back in 2014, when I visited Battersea Park and took a walk back to Westminster via the north bank. At that time the power station was in a state of neglect, having been closed since 1983.

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A derelict icon.

I took a few photos of the building, from the north bank, but never went to close to the building. 

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Battersea Power Station in 2014.

One of the other reasons for not visiting was that the entire area was more industrial, so didn't appeal to me at the time.

From 2014 a major regeneration of the area and the power station began. The Embassy of the United States opened just down the road in Nine Elms, in 2017 and with houses, apartments and an extension to the Northern line soon following the area was soon on the up.

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Embassy of the United States, Nine Elms.

Arriving at the power station, via the aforementioned Northern line extension, we made our way around the outside of the building, grabbing a coffee from one of the street vendors to fend off the bitterly cold wind. We walked around the building, which has numerous entrances on different levels, taking in the landscaped grounds and seating areas, which include a deck on the River Thames. A playground for children to enjoy, in warmer weather, is close by and I can see the entire area being the place to be in the warmer months. 

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An original chimney segment.

Suitably warmed we headed inside the building and were immediately dwarfed by the scale of the cavernous building. We passed through Turbine Room 'A' to Turbine Room 'B', with Emma checking out the various shops, boutiques, cafes and restaurants.

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Lots of levels and lots to do.

Monday, March 13, 2023

St Katharine Docks & Marina

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St Katharine Docks Marina

St Katharine Docks Marina is a fascinating place to wander through when taking a walk along the north bank, and makes for the perfect starting or finishing point. As from here you can walk to Hermitage Basin, on to the Ornamental Canal and Tobacco Dock and finally Shadwell Basin, returning via the Thames Path or continuing east towards Limehouse Basin and Canary Wharf.

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Looking towards St Katharine Docks Marina from the Ornamental Canal.

Anyway, St Katharine Docks Marina begins directly east of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. The entire area has been redeveloped over the recent decades and this once bustling dock is now filled with a hotel, offices, lavish apartments, a historic public house, cafes, restaurants and a marina.

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The 18th century Dickens Inn.

The Marina is home to yachts, barges, small boats and on occasion the Rowbarge 'Gloriana' can be seen here along with other interesting vessels.

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Rowbarge 'Gloriana'.

Friday, March 10, 2023

Lift 109 at Battersea Power Station

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Emma and I at the top of Lift 109.

Friday March 10, 2023.

For our 11th wedding anniversary Emma and I had decided on a trip to London, where we would go for a meal, take in the sights and stay in a hotel.

Emma had also booked a trip up the newly opened Lift 109 at Battersea Power Station, which I was unaware of until the day.

It was a blustery and chilly afternoon as we arrived at Battersea Power Station where we grabbed a coffee from one of the local coffee vans, before taking a walk around the perimeter of the building. We then headed inside the enormous building that had been lovingly restored and refurbished.

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You can just make out Lift 109 sticking up out of the top of the chimney.

I won't talk about the Power Station itself as I will be writing a blog about this magnificent building soon. Suffice to say that I was blown away by the sheer scale of the interior.

After a spot of lunch, we made our way to the reception area for Lift 109 and, after passing through the now customary metal detector, waited patiently in line.

We didn't have to wait long and were soon in the interactive area, where we could control the power grid and look at some of the original machinery that had been left over. Original records and media displays brought to the life the history of the building.

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Time to control the power grid.

We also stood by the green screen and, after choosing a background, stood for our photo (above) which we would collect on the way out.

Moments later we made our way to the lift lobby where the walls came alive with flames, sparks and a depiction of London's skyline.

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London's skyline.

We then moved into a lift that took us up to the start of the 39 steps, that spiralled around the interior of the chimney, that would lead us to Lift 109.

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Ready to enter the lift.

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

RAF Bomber Command Memorial

London The Unfinished City

It was on my first visit to the memorial that I began to write more about London and its history, which led me to create this blog. 

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The memorial, itself, is an amazing piece of work that inspired me to write a number of pieces about it. That is how much of an impact that it had on me.

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Should you find yourself in London's fourth largest Royal Park, then you should definitely take in this huge memorial.