a cultural hub

Published by: mike on 24th Jun 2018 | View all blogs by mike

      Mat mentioned that Wren building!

 

      If you come to north London and wish to visit ‘The Tate Modern’ on the southbank of the Thames, it is best to head for St Paul’s Cathedral.   The cathedral and the southbank are linked by a footbridge.  This footbridge is called the Millennium Bridge but it is still known as the Wobbly Bridge.

       If a Londoner proposes ‘Let’s meet at the Southbank,” he might mean ‘The Southbank Centre’ rather than the southbank of the river. This centre originated in the ‘Festival of Britain of 1951 and ‘The Festival Hall’ is still there. 

     The southbank, as a cultural hub, now stretches from Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge and slightly further.  You can walk to Rotherhithe along the ‘Thames Path’ but the buildings soon become residential.

    The stretch of the southbank from London Bridge to the Tate Modern is known as Bankside and this is where the reconstructed Globe is situated.  I can remember a time when the site of the Globe was a carpark for the local council; Sam Wanamaker was denied permission to build there.   The Globe was reconstructed about twenty years ago.

    My interest arose when I photographed what was called ‘The Pool of London’ and is now called ‘London Bridge City.’ I had been standing midpoint on London Bridge and, using a wide angle lens, recorded the scene with Tower Bridge at the midpoint of the photograph.

   It had been a foggy, misty morning and I showed the photograph to some work colleagues. The comments were one the lines of ‘How Dickensian!   i could see the point, but in the foreground was a jetty built recently for the ferry service.  I did some research and,if Dickens now stood on London Bridge and looked downriver, there are only two or three buildings he would recognise but the view is still Dickensian.

 

   I am reading a biography of E.S.Nesbit.  This was written in the 1930’s and revised in 1960.  I notice a new biography will be published this year.  Episodes of Nesbit’s life are often included in biographies and histories of the period as she was one of the first members of ‘The Fabian Society’ 

    Nesbit returned to Halstead all her life to revisit the countryside of  her childhood.  

    Yesterday,  I met a walker on a local footpath and she told me some sad news.  Land around Knockholt  Station  -band Halstead - has been designated for housing projects.

    The biographer also notes of Nesbit: ‘ ...she must, I suppose, be regarded as one of the pioneers of public smoking for women..’  I wonder if the new biography will mention this.

 

      A breath of fresh air.

 

      i have often walked along the footpaths in Kent and the views are quite different from those seen from a car or train window.

      ‘Leaves Green’ is little more than a village sign.  It is also a bus stop on the A233 out of London.  A few days ago I alighted at this bus stop and crossed the village green where I parted the leaves in search of a footpath.  My brain froze.

        In the distance, a small white aeroplane lay half submerged in what seemed to be a field of rape.  The small portholes were at an angle and it seemed as though the plane was sinking in a sea of green. Such are the effects of perspective!   

    Sanity returned.  A few bus stops along the A233 is Biggin Hill which is now a civilian airport.  

   

Comments

5 Comments

  • Mat
    by Mat 26 days ago
    Hi Mike - behind Southwark cathedral is a house with a plaque - and an inscription/or I read it in a book ... ...’Wren’s house during construction of S P cathedral...’ and that Wren was ‘rowed to work’ each morning :).
  • Athelstone
    by Athelstone 26 days ago
    Do you still have that photograph, Mike?
  • Caducean Whisks
    by Caducean Whisks 26 days ago
    Mike, there's a guy who runs London walks using old maps so you can see where the workhouses were, the tenter ponds, the boxing rings, plague pits, the old prison walls, once haunted by Shakespeare, Dickens, the Romans and various national influxes over the centuries. I've been on one around Southwark and even though I thought I knew the area well, having worked there, it was fascinating. He's a fount of knowledge, like you are. See here, if interested: https://londontrails.wordpress.com
    He'll even tell you why bollards are the shape they are.
  • Caducean Whisks
    by Caducean Whisks 26 days ago
    *Victorian bollards, that is.
  • mike
    by mike 25 days ago
    Dear Mat,
    It wouldn't have been Southwark Cathedral then. I was the local church Called St Savours and St Mary Ovarie. What you see, I think is, for the most part, a late Victorian construction. I believe the dock in which a reconstructed 'Golden Hind' is berthed, had been the dock of the church. I l;ooked into this for a project of my own but it is for too difficult for an amateur. Matt Haig had a go at Bankside in last novel and I think I could tell what his sources are.
    Dear Whisks,
    The people doing London walks are very knowledgeable. I was in the Downe area yesterday and you really need a guide to tell you exactly which fields and walks inspired Darwin. Not do many people walk nowadays and the welks are in despair.
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