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Tag: London Walks

Return from Rotherhithe

Return from Rotherhithe

It all started so well too. We arrived, as usual, at Liverpool Street Station after an uneventful journey and walked down to Aldgate where, by chance, we discovered something that we weren't anticipating.

This is a modern wooden monument which is standing on the site of one of the old London gates, namely, Aldgate. It is thought that there was a gate already spanning the road to Colchester in the Roman period, when the City wall itself was constructed and it was always an obstacle to traffic. It was rebuilt between 1108-47, again in 1215, reconstructed completely between 1607-09 and finally removed in 1761.

Geoffrey Chaucer occupied appartments above the gate in the late 1300s when he was employed as a customs official.

It's amazing what can be found just wandering around London. However we set off once again along Minories and soon arrived at our first intended destination – the Tower of London. This is where things started to go pear-shaped or, to be precise, people-shaped.

We have been to this area many times but have never seen so many people and, so it turned out, they were all around the Tower. One of the factors was probably that it was half-term and children were on holiday this week and also that it was a beautifully sunny day and not at all cold.

The other factor which may explain the numbers of people was this:

You have probably heard about these ceramic poppies. There is supposed to be one for every British life lost in the first world war but I'm not going to count them. They are around all four sides of the Tower and so are the people trying to view them. The crowds were so dense that one could only shuffle along and, consequently, it took a long time to get round.

We did, eventually, get all the way around the Tower and here are a few of the photographs that I took to prove it.





When we decided to leave we went along the pavement on the north side of the Tower and even that was shuffle, shuffle, shuffle as far as Tower Bridge Road. Walking along Tower Bridge Road to cross Tower Bridge wasn't easy. We wouldn't really want to experience that again and we probably won't because the poppies are to be removed in the early part of November.

I managed to get a quite nice photograph of the Tower, once we had reached the other side, and a nice picture of Tower Bridge.


We turned round and headed east along Shad Thames. As it was now 12:15 we decided to stop in Peapod for an early lunch. Although it's small and the range of offererings is also small the soup, whatever the flavour, is alway delicious.

After lunch we headed further along Shad Thames until we could access the riverside walk. Staying close to the riverside we had some interesting views of the Thames, one of the old docks and some of the converted old warehouses.




Then the riverside path diverts inland to the narrow streets of Bermondsey. We found that here, as we found in Wapping on the north side, a lot of the old warehouses have been converted to expensive accomodation some with rather splendid river views.

We followed Bermondsey Wall (that's a road not a wall) and again, as in Aldgate, we came across something totally unexpected.

This is all that remains of King Edward III's manor house, built over 650 years ago, on what was then a small island surrouned by marshland.

These remains are in Bermondsey Wall East near the Angel Pub which dates from around 1830 and the pub is therefore Victorian.

Just a short way on we found King's Stairs Gardens which leads to Southwark Park. We did expect to find this and it was an attractive garden but we didn't have time to explore the relatively large park.

Along more narrow streets to St. Mary's Church, Rotherhithe.


The present church replaces the previous 12th century building and was completed in 1716. It was designed by John James, an associate of Sir Christopher Wren.

Shortly after this we passed the Mayflower pub.

The original pub was built in the 16th century but was substantially rebuilt in the 18th century and has associations with the Mayflower which took the settlers to America. Christopher Jones was Master of the Mayflower and he lived in Rotherhithe and is buried in an unmarked grave in the churchyard of St. Mary's Church. The Mayflower (ship) , apparently, was moored nearby before it left on its journey to America via Portsmouth and Plymouth.

Just past the Mayflower pub was what I can only describe as a 'garden gantry'.

This view is looking back after we had passed under it. You should be able to see the Mayflower pub on the right and, a little further back, St. Mary's Churchyard on the left.

We were now at our next planned point of interest.

This was the pumping house built for pumping excess water from Brunel's tunnel under the Thames which was started in 1825 and opened in 1843. This was the world's first tunnel to pass under a river and if I were to say that it was an arduous project it would be an understatement particularly when one realises that the Thames was like an open sewer at the time. I should also mention that it was Marc Brunel, Isambard Kingdom Brunel's father, who oversaw this project although Isambard did join the project much later.

The chimney which carried the steam engine exhaust is rather obvious.

The pumping house is now a small museum and to one side is the original shaft from where the tunnels were started. It is possible to access the shaft on guided tours which take place only on some days. Check the web site if you're interested. The chairs on the floor of the shaft are for visitors when they are listening to the guide.


We walked on a little further staying close to the river until we reached Surrey Water where we turned towards the river along the very short canal to see an old obsolete bascule bridge similar to that which we saw at Shadwell.

That's a chunky bit of machinery and so back to Surrey Water with a view towards Canary Wharf.

Walking to the far end of Surrey Water we found the entrance to the canal, with its little bridge, easily enough and followed the canal which heads for Canada Water. It reminded us very much of the canal we followed from Wapping to Shadwell Basin on a previous trip.


The canal is old but the housing alongside is relatively new. An attractive environment.

We finally arrived at Canada Water which we found to be rather boring. A small lake surrounded by shops. However we could get a number 47 bus which dropped us outside Liverpoool Street Station for the train back home.

We haven't, however, finished with the Rotherhithe peninsula yet. We intend to go again but possibly not until next year. You can come again next time if you like. smilies

 

Strand-ed

Strand-ed

We caught the No. 11 bus at Liverpool Street Station heading west and had to wait a little while, when the bus encountered some heavy traffic, between the Bank of England and the Old Royal Exchange.

The hold-up wasn't for long and we alighted in the Strand, within sight of Nelson's Column, near Bedford Street.

We walked west a very short distance until we could walk through a gap into William IV Street, right into Chandos Street and then to the next left junction.

This is our first 'target'. No, not The Marquis of Granby pub but the little alley behind it – Brydges Place. This is said to be the narrowest alley in London although not for its whole length. The end we were about to enter was narrow but not exceptionally so.

The Marquis pub was known to Charles Dickens when he worked nearby and he remembered the name in Pickwick Papers and transferred it in the story to the pub owned by Sam Weller's father. The pub was originally called the Hole in the Wall and dates from the 17th century

However, as we progressed past the rear wall of The Marquis pub the far end did begin to look a little tight

then even tighter

and finally it was pretty narrow even for a slim person like Amanda (I have to say that otherwise she will ask for her £10 back smilies ) but we did manage to pop out the far end into St. Martin's Lane.

We turned right (north) and walked up St. Martin's Lane until we reached the Coliseum Theatre where we found Mays Court on the far side. The wall on the right is, as you may notice, the side wall of the Coliseum.

When it was built in 1904 it was the largest theatre in London and the first to have a revolving stage.

We walked through Mays Court back into Bedfordbury and turned left (north) as far as Goodwin's Court. The entrance next to the small shoe repair shop could be easily missed.

I have been to Goodwin's Court before when I came up here on my own but Amanda hadn't seen it. This is a complete row of houses built in 1690 with bow windows through which can be seen small rooms with steep staircases which have remained unchanged for over 300 years.

We walked back the way we came into Bedfordbury and walked south past the Lemon Tree:

The name dates from the 17th century when oranges and lemons were regarded as a luxury and as a treat to be sold in theatres by people like Nell Gwynne.

We went back to the bottom of Bedfordbury and thence to the corner of Trafalfar Square by St. Martin's in the Fields. We decided to have some coffee in the crypt where one sits over tombs in the floor which some people seem to find a bit creepy but I have to say it doesn't affect us at all. However, we may have had grave expressions on our faces whilst drinking. smilies


We finished our coffee and made our way to the south edge of Trafalgar Square where it's joined by The Mall which passes through the Admiralty Arch.

The Queen lives at the other end of the Mall and we considered walking down to give her the opportunity of asking us to lunch but eventually decided that it was too long a walk. Yes, I know she'll be disappointed but we'll give her the opportunity some other time. Everything comes to him who waits; but in this case – 'her'.

We left Trafalgar Square via Northumberland Avenue and turned left into Northumberland Street to see the pub which is quite popular among Sherlock Holmes fans.

We walked down the alley, Craven Passage, at the side of the pub and on the right wall of the alley we saw this:

This is all that remains of a turkish bath which, originally, was covered in this sort of decoration. There were dozens of these baths all over London in the last century.

The alley leads into Craven Street with its late 18th century buildings featuring delicate iron balconies.

This street has a number of claims to fame including Benjamin Franklin's house where he lived for a little over 15 years.

Herman Melville, author of 'Moby Dick' also lived here. It was also in this street that Charles Dickens saw the 'Lion' door knocker which gave him the idea of using it in A christmas Carol. It turned into the ghostly face of his dead partner Marley.

Craven Passage crosses Craven Street and continues on and so did we. At the top of some steps is the Ship and Shovell.

One interesting thing about this pub is that it has two separate buildings on each side of the passage and it has been here for nearly 300 years. The name goes back to before the Embankment was built and the river bank lay just a short distance away where barges came to unload coal and gravel; hence the name.

You may notice that just beyond the pub are the arches under the railway now a small shopping centre.

Following through the arches brings us out into Villiers Street which runs along the south-west side of Charing Cross Station up and into the Strand. This view is taken from in the Strand looking down Villiers Street towards the Embankment.

The footbridge with the windows is part of the Charing Cross Hotel and a little way down on the left is an alley with a plate reading "York Place formerly Of Alley".

This area was owned by George Villers, Duke of Buckingham who, in 1670, sold it to a London developer with the condition that streets built on the site were to bear the Duke's full name and title. So we ended up with George Court, Villiers Street, Duke Street, Buckingham Street and, of course, Of Alley which has been renamed relatively recently to York Place.

At this end of the railway arches are some escalators which go up to the next floor and there are also some stairs further up Villiers Street which also go up to the next floor. There is a walkway up here that will take you onto the Golden Jubilee Bridge across the Thames.

The walkway also gives a good view of Watergate Walk.

It was time to move on so we went through Of Alley and into John Adam Street with some imposing buildings.

However we weren't here for imposing buildings but quite the opposite. A short way along John Adam Street is a turning called York Buildings and a short way down there is this opening on the left:

You could be forgiven for thinking that this must be the entrance to an underground car park or some such but you'd be wrong. The giveaway is the nameplate on each side. This is a public road called Lower Robert Street.

You could also be forgiven for walking past rather than going down into the gloom but I didn't come here to miss the chance to explore – so down we went. A little further in when one's eyes become accustomed to the gloom it doesn't seem so dark.

There is even a glimmer of artificial light at the bottom. You should also be able to see that is a narrow pavement down the left-hand side so you don't have to walk in the road.

Looking back we have this view.

and looking onward we see this:

It's lit with fluorescent lights and daylight can be seen at the far end where it joins Savoy Place. It is the last remnant of the notorious Adelphi Arches. It is a public road although not heavily used but we did see about 5 taxis and a van go past whilst we were down there.

The Adelphi Arches were roads, cellars and paths built under the Adelphi buildings and were originally meant for warehousing and storage but became the haunt of many unsavoury characters. Corpses were often found there in the last century and when the owners decided to clear the site in 1930 they discovered at least three inhabitants whos existence had never been suspected. They included one old lady who was keeping cows down there. The majority of the Adelphi Arches were demolished with the main Adelphi building in 1936 although a small part of the building remains.

This is where it emerges onto Savoy Place:

Well that was exciting and it's a pity we didn't meet any of the unsavoury characters. We walked along Savoy Place through this arcade for part of the way:

After a short distance we turned up Carting Lane which meets the Strand at its top end where this photograph was taken.

On the way up this lane we passed an unusual street lamp.

Dating from the 1890s it is lit by gas, you can probably see it burning, and it has an unusually thick post. It is a Sewer Gas Destructor Lamp. The only one left out of a total of 200 and it is still doing its job. The gas being burned is normal domestic gas but the heat from that burn draws sewer gas up its large post and burns that too.

We went out into the Strand and turned east soon arriving at the Savoy Hotel.

The forecourt is the only place in England where traffic drives on the right and it needed a special Act of Parliament to do it. It was done to prevent carriages waiting to drop people off at the Savoy Theatre entrance, which is on the right, from blocking the hotel entrance in the centre.

We were thinking about having lunch here but decided that it really wasn't upmarket enough for us so we decided to eat in the London Transport Museum Cafe instead. On the way there we spotted an interesting building which we didn't know. Amanda suggested it was/may have been a church because there was a cross on the front apex.

It wasn't a church but that guess was close. It turns out to be the Rectory for St. Paul's Church in Covent Garden.

After lunch we came back to the Strand, crossed to the south side again, and went down a small alley called Savoy Buildings.

This alley connects with Savoy Hill, Savoy Row, Savoy Way, Savoy Court and round to Savoy Steps which is shown in the picture.

It's called Savoy Steps because there aren't any steps. We walked up to the top and back again but could not find any steps. I did try and find out why it's called Savoy Steps but have had no luck. The building on the right is the Savoy Chapel which is all that's left of the Savoy Palace that existed in Chaucer's time (14th century). The chapel is usually open to the public but it was closed for renovation when we were there.

Back into the Strand we walked east to Somerset House and arrived in the courtyard just in time to see the fountains being turned off. smilies I managed to get this picture a little before they all stopped.

So we went into the building and straight out the back onto the terrace where one gets a view of the Thames and the London Eye. Not a particularly good view but a view just the same.


We walked east along the terrace and through another arch to this courtyard which is the Strand Campus of King's College. This picture is looking back at the archway that we came through from the Somerset House riverside terrace.

Rather elegant don't you think?

Back into the Strand and continuing east we found this somewhat less elegant structure and another part of it around the corner in Surrey Street.


Notice the rather unusual roof in the lower picture. There are three rows of dormer windows one above the other. The building is the old Strand underground station which was a spur from Holborn on the original Piccadilly Railway which is now the Piccadilly Line. It is now closed.

Further along the Strand we entered the Temple with the intention of having another look at the Temple Church which we last visited in 2010. However we discovered that they now charge for entry at £4 per adult so no thank you. Having been in there I would say that you won't get value for money.

At this point we decided to call it a day. Our various little ramblings were either around or in the Strand so we were feeling totally Strand-ed. We crossed the Strand and caught a No. 11 bus again but back to Liverpool Street Station this time.

I'll leave you with the very last photograph of this trip taken from the top deck of the bus of a rather nice building we spotted on the corner of Pageantmasters Court and Ludgate Hill.

 

Today I was at Liberty to do as I liked.

Today I was at Liberty to do as I liked.

Amanda had a lunch appointment today with her sister and, at the moment, it's not easy to find a day where the sun is out for a good part of the day but today was one of those days so I just had to go. Amanda really didn't mind.

I started, as usual, at Liverpool Street Station and caught the number 23 bus which starts here and goes past a number of interesting locations such as the Bank of England and Mansion House:

Then on to St. Paul's Cathedral and Ludgate Hill which seems to have cornered the market in buses. I counted at least twelve.

Going along the Strand I took this photograph which I thought would interest Marie and anyone else who has stayed there.

The funny colour in the top right hand corner is on the window of the bus. Next, Trafalgar Square. Well, Nelson's Column at least. The rest of the square is obscured by traffic.

On the other side of the square is Admiralty Arch which, as you know, leads into The Mall and thence to Buckingham Palace.

Then up Regent Street

to Oxford Street. No I didn't take a photograph of Oxford Street.

At Bond Street Station in Oxford Street I got off the bus  – into mayhem. smilies That's how Oxford Street always strikes me on a normal weekday. God knows what it's like on a Saturday. Perhaps 4:00 AM on a Sunday would be a good time.

Having crossed to the north side of the road, a short walk from the bus stop in the same direction as the bus was travelling, there is a very narrow entrance to Gee's Court which is easy to miss and, to prove it, I managed to miss it but went up James Street instead and the open area on the right into St. Christopher's Place is very easy to spot.

This is Gee's Court looking towards Oxford Street:

and it narrows significantly where it joins Oxford Street. Gee's Court runs into St. Christopher's Place which is tucked behind Oxford Street and would be very easy to miss.



The network of narrow paved streets or alleys harbours an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants with a very pleasant atmosphere.

After looking around St. Christopher's Place I turned south, crossed Oxford Street and turned down Duke Street passing through Grosvenor Square along Carlos Place (keep going straight where the road curves left) past the Connaught Hotel to here:

This gateway could easily be regarded as the entrance to a churchyard especially with the end of a church showing at the back but that assumption would be wrong. This is one ot the entrances to Mount Street Gardens a small public garden/park also known as St. George's Gardens. Because it is so sheltered there are plants growing here that you might not expect. For example there is a Canary Islands Date Palm.


You wouldn't find it worth while to make a special trip to see it however it is worth a vist  if you are in the area.

I now headed east along Grosvenor Street and Maddox Street and on my way passed this impressive church on the corner of Maddox Street and St. George's Street.

It is St. George's Church built in the early part of the 18th century and Mount Street Gardens used to be the burial ground for this church but that usage ceased in the middle of the 19th century.

Continuing across St. George's Street to the other part of Maddox Street I soon arrive in Regent Street with Great Marlborough Street opposite and that is where I go to find this:

Although it looks like an ancient timber-framed building it is actually Victorian. The perfectly straight timbers should give it away. Have you been there? Do you recognise it? There is a name above the door on the angled part but it isn't easy to read. Does this view give you a clue?

Yes, it's Liberty's of London. They give their address as Regent Street but the majority of the building is in Great Marlborough Street shown here. In 1924 this building was constructed, in the Tudor style, from the timbers of two ships: HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan and the frontage on Great Marlborough Street is the same length as the Hindustan. It is a Grade II listed building.

Liberty sells a wide range of luxury goods including women's, men's and children's fashion, cosmetics and fragrances, jewellery, accessories, homeware, furniture, stationery and gifts. Liberty is known for its floral and graphic prints. Let me give you some advice. If you go into Liberty's with your credit cards you could come out bankrupt so don't say you weren't warned.

The inside of the building is a delight and is worth visiting even if you don't intend to buy anything. There are light wells like these which run from the ground floor to the roof.


Even the stairs are nice (there are also lifts).

It is a veritable Aladdins Cave in here. You know you can't afford it.

Time to move on – but not very far. Travelling east along Great Marlborough Street, away from Regent Street, to the end of the Liberty building where I immediately turned right to enter Carnaby Street and I'm in Soho.


Carnaby Street does seem popular and it's certainly busy but I pass through and out the far end. There are plenty of interesting streets in Soho as evidenced by Great Windmill Street, Rupert Street and others.



I eventually turned south down Wardour Street and crossed Shaftesbury Avenue to Chinatown. This really consists of just a few streets – the southern end of Wardour Street together with Gerrard Street, Lisle Street etc.



Colourful init? Even the street names are in English and Chinese.

All I have to do now is find my way through the maze of back streets to the western end of Long Acre via Leicester Square.

Well it's simple enough as far as the junction of Cranbourn Street and Charing Cross Road but then, when I reach Charing Cross Road, I expect to see Long Acre on the other side. But no! On the other side is the continuation of Cranbourn Street. The bit on my map shows Cranbourn Street that I'm in, then a short length of un-named road before Long Acre. I take a chance and go along Cranbourn Street and it does lead into Long Acre.

Why Long Acre? I'm looking for Stanford's the map and guide book shop. Stanford's moved into the shop in 1873 so it must have been built before that.

They have just about every map and guide book that there is and I want to try and find the London AZ Super Scale Street Map (scale: 9 inches to 1 mile) which has every little alleyway marked on it but covers only the central portion of London.

One thing that you can't fail to notice is the floor.


A map of the world on the Ground Floor and a street map of London in the Basement. Fascinating!

I did find my map so that was a worthwhile visit but I'm getting tired so it's once again time to go home. I walk down to the Strand and get an 11 bus to Liverpool Street Station.

I expect we'll be back – both of us next time.
 

 

A narrow perspective

A narrow perspective

I often see prospective visitors to this country asking what the weather will be like at such and such a time of year. The simple answer is that nobody knows. Even our weather forecasters often get it wrong.

Let me give you an example. On Friday the forecast for Saturday was clear skies all day and on Saturday we did have some sun but there were clouds all across the sky and they were moving slowly which meant that when a cloud covered the sun it was often ten minutes before it shone again. This meant that at just the point I wanted to take a photograph the sun went in and I was twiddling my thumbs for 10 minutes waiting for it to come back out.

Remember, this forecast was only 24 hours in advance.

So what was I photographing?

Well, it started at Liverpool Street Station where we normally come in to London, or did it? We went from there by Underground to Paddington so did it really start from Paddington? You decide.

Having arrived at Paddington we went into the Mainline Terminus to have a quick look at Brunel's handiwork.

This station served as the London terminus of the Great Western Railway and its successors since 1838. Much of the current station dates from 1854, and was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. That glazed roof is supported by wrought iron arches in three spans, respectively spanning 68 feet, 102 feet and 70 feet. The roof is 699 feet long, and the original roof spans had two transepts connecting the three spans. This shows just one of the roof spans.

One has to admit that the roof does look impressive.

Paddington Station wasn't part of our original plan but as we were passing through we thought that we'd have a look. So where were we headed? Paddington Basin of course, where else!

Paddington Basin is the terminus for the Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal and is on the eastern edge of Paddington Station. But back to the picture above first. Notice at the far end of the station there is a grey horizontal band running over the train – that is a footbridge and that is where we are going. Up to the footbridge and over the tracks we follow signs and suddenly emerge on the edge of Paddington basin. There are other ways to get there but that was most convenient for us.

We turn right towards the end of the basin and very soon passed a very modern looking footbridge to the opposite side of the basin which we ignored and continued to the next footbridge from which I took this picture.

In its heyday it was a very busy goods transhipment facility but like a lot of London's docks it fell into disuse when the traffic dwindled. The basin is now the centre of a major redevelopment as part of the wider Paddington Waterside scheme and is surrounded by modern buildings as you can see (The Canary Wharf treatment). Towards the far end is this unusual bridge, which you can just see in the picture above if you look carefully, but it's not what we mean when we talk about 'travelling by tube'.

You may notice that all of the boats are canal narrowboats. This is to become today's theme.

After having a leisurely look round we started off along the canal-side path in the opposite direction towards the main part of the Grand Union Canal. I was going to refer to the path as the 'towpath' which is what they are generally called but that didn't seem to really do it justice as it looked like this.

Although it looks pleasant enough those two bridges in the distance are carrying road traffic and consequently it isn't quiet here. Nice place for a cup of tea or coffee in the canal-side cafe perhaps?

A little further on we have our first sight of Little Venice. This is where the Paddington arm joins the main Grand Union Canal forming this large basin. To continue on our planned route we need to be on the far side and, at first, I thought that Amanda would have to wade across carrying me on her back.

But having continued around the bend we spotted a nice little bridge.

That narrowboat is a floating cafe, you may notice some tables and chairs on the path beside the boat, which would have been an interesting experience for a meal but it was only mid-morning so we passed on that one. That bridge carries a road and so gives access to the local area should you so desire – we didn't.

The part of the canal that you can see beyond the bridge is not the part that we wanted so we crossed the bridge and turned right. Just as we left the Little Venice basin we came across numerous narrowboats moored along the canal on both sides. A lot of these, possibly all of them, appear to be 'permanent' moorings i.e houseboats where people live. We had to leave the towpath soon after this point, because the path was 'residents' only, and walk along the road for a short way.

You may notice in the far distance a boat in the middle of the canal and just behind it a dark rectangle which is the entrance to a tunnel. There is no path through the tunnel so we followed the road slightly uphill until we were at the same height as the top of the tunnel then followed the road opposite, Aberdeen Place, until it bent sharp left. Opposite us, on the bend, was a footpath which lead back to the side of the canal.

You can see the exit from the tunnel and the steps we came down to reach the canal-side path and we certainly weren't alone on this walk.

The surroundings started getting green and leafy so we guessed that by this time we were entering Regents Park and then we came across this house.

We couldn't decide whether it would make a nice weekend cottage or not so we decided not to buy. A mistake perhaps?

When we reached a bridge that gave us the opportunity to leave the canal we went up to ground level but don't worry because we will be returning to the canal later. This was our last veiw of the canal for the time being.

Crossing the canal we found ourselves in the green oasis of Regents Park with the BT Tower showing in the distance.

Regents Park is big! It covers 410 acres and it was just over a mile from the canal to where we were heading – Queen Mary's Gardens. The canal crosses the northern edge of the park and Queen Mary's gardens are, of course, near the southern edge. This involved crossing the 'Inner Circle', one of the few roads in the park, which surrounds Queen Mary's Gardens.

On the other side of the road we found the Garden Cafe and it now being lunch time what could we do but try it? There are two separate areas; the waitress service part and the part for the Hoi Poloi. I was going to suggest the waitress service part as I'd spotted something on the menu which sounded nice but then Amanda saw that they had a 'Stew of the day' in the other part which she liked the sound of – so we joined the Hoi Poloi. Today it was Chicken Stew and it really was very nice. I thoroughly enjoyed it, well we both did but we didn't enjoy the paper plates and plastic utensils. The waitress service next time perhaps.

After lunch we went to look at the gardens. They are mostly roses and, being roses, they won't bloom until about mid-june and there are 30,000 roses of 400 varieties. Amanda wants to come back after they bloom. I wonder if she'll count them?

We found an area including a pond, a nice little bridge and a cascade which looked rather picturesque that didn't involve roses.

We finally started back north towards the canal but when we reached it we first crossed over onto Primrose Hill. A bit like a continuation of Regents park with grassland liberally dotted with trees but also a hill! We had a really good view from the highest point and, as you can see from the photograph, it's really popular with visitors.

What we could see from right to left was the London Eye, the BT Tower, the Shard, St. Paul's Cathedral and Canary Wharf. Certainly worth the not very arduous climb of 256 feet.

So, back to St. Mark's Bridge on the canal at the bottom of Primrose Hill where we go back down to the canal-side path and yet more narrowboats – some moored some moving. Do you see a theme here?. After an interesting little walk along the canal it is not long before we reach our final destination.

Camden Lock and Camden Lock Market. You may notice that there were a lot of people – it was seething! This was a Saturday afternoon, remember, on a sunny day. I wonder what it's like during the week?

After turning off the canal-side path into the market at West Yard our nostrils were assailed with the very tempting smell of hot food. It smelled really delicious and appetising but, as we'd had lunch only a short while ago we had no appetite – bummer!

One thing we quickly discovered is that this place is a warren which made it even more interesting. Going through the stalls to the back we found a short passage into another large area of stalls, Camden Lock Place, and then there are all the stalls inside the surrounding buildings.

They seem to sell everything here – hot food, clothing, fabrics, jewellery, fancy goods, geological specimens, antiques – you name it they seem to have it.

Then there were the stalls inside the Market Hall building over two levels.

This market is interesting, amazing, stupendous! If you like markets you cannot afford to miss this one. We finally dragged ourselves away from all the stalls and emerged back onto the canal-side.

That boat in the foreground is one of the water buses which carry fare-paying passengers from Little Venice to Camden Lock (and back if so required). Then we crossed that bridge in the distance from which we had a good view of Camden Lock.

From here we set off towards the nearest underground station, Camden Town, along Chalk Farm Road and realised that there were also lots of small shops which were almost as interesting as the market. An amazing place indeed.

I took a lot more photographs than I have shown here many of which will appear on the main site in due course. Time to go home to rest our weary legs.
 

The Prospect of Whitby, Captain Kidd and the Town of Ramsgate

The Prospect of Whitby, Captain Kidd and the Town of Ramsgate

Another Thursday – another trip to Wapping.

Let me explain to our various overseas visitors that Wapping is not pronounced the way it is spelled but instead it's pronounced 'Wopping'. Now that we've got that sorted I'll remind you that at the end of the last report I said:

"Perhaps we'll get better weather next time. We want to do that same walk again to see some things that we missed but I'm not going to tell you what they were and to, hopefully, get some better photographs."

Well we did get better weather, sun all day and temperatures around 70-72F, and we did that same walk again (it was in Wapping) – but with added ingredients. The name comes from the Saxon meaning "the place of Waeppa's people"

So what connection does the title of this post have with Wapping? They are all pubs and they are all in Wapping High Street and they all back on to the River Thames.

Lets start at the beginning. I'm going to use the same map as last time with our new route added.

Last time we went as far as '2' which we also did this time but we went on to complete a circular route. We started, as last time, from St. Catherine's Dock.

We walked along the same canal – you can see the masts of those two replica sailing ships (No. 1 on the map) sticking up into the sky in the distance.

Then onwards to Shadwell Basin (No. 2 on the map). This time we walked round the north side of the basin past the new housing towards the eastern end of the basin with the tall buildings of Canary Wharf visible in the distance.

At the far end is one of the old lifting bridges and this next picture is taken from the bridge (location 3)  looking back across Shadwell Basin.

We then walked eastward to the edge of the Thames and along the Thames Path for a short way

and came out opposite this.

So what is it?  It is the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, built in 1890, and was originally operated  using steam and later converted to use electricity. It was used to power machinery across London, using hydraulic power including bridges, lifts and cranes etc. The Tower Subway was used to transfer the power, and steam, to districts south of the river.

It was used as a model for power stations in Argentina, Australia, New York and Europe. When electricity became cheaper it lost popularity and eventually closed. It is now used as a cafe with the tables and chairs dotted around among the old machinery which is a novelty. They serve cups of tea and coffee together with lunch etc.

Pass the oil please.

Opposite the old power station is the first of our pubs – The Prospect of Whitby. No. 4 on the map.

The Prospect of Whitby lays claim to being one of the oldest riverside taverns in London and dates from around 1520 during the reign of Henry VIII. At one time it was one of the most notorious pubs in London being a meeting place for sailors, smugglers, cut-throats and footpads but now it seems to be a pretty nice pub.

It was formerly known as the Devil's Tavern, on account of its dubious reputation and before that it was officially called "The Pelican". The stone steps, alongside the pub and going down to the foreshore, are the "Pelican Steps"

All that now remains from the building's earliest period is the 400 year old stone floor.

In the 17th century, it became the hostelry of choice of Judge Jeffreys, known as "The Hanging Judge, who lived nearby and a noose hangs by a window, commemorating his custom. According to legend, criminals would be tied up to the posts at low tide and left there to drown when the tide came in.

You'll be wanting to see the noose then? Taking our lives in our hands we went down Pelican Steps on the the Thames foreshore to see the riverside view of the pub. Luckily it was low tide otherwise we may have got our feet wet. Possibly even our eyebrows.

You can see Pelican Steps and the noose is hanging from that tall post on the right. There is a better picture of the noose below.

Following a fire in the early 19th century, the tavern was rebuilt and renamed "The Prospect of Whitby", after a Tyne collier, a type of boat, that used to berth next to the pub.

Walking westward along Wapping Wall we went past numerous old wharves now converted to luxury appartments such as Metropolitan Wharf shown here and, after going down New Crane Steps, New Crane Wharf shown below. No. 5 on the map.

Notice that nice sandy beach along New Crane Wharf.

Having walked the length of Wapping Wall we joined Wapping High Street where the old dock buildings have all been renovated and converted to housing and it's been done very nicely. This is a view along Wapping High Street.

Further along Wapping High Street we reach our second pub – the Captain Kidd. No. 6 on the map.

Somewhere around here in 1701 the pirate, Captain Kidd, was executed by hanging on Execution Dock hence the name of the pub. The exact location of Execution Dock appears to be unknown except that it was near one of the local docks or wharves. His remains were gibbeted by the river Thames at Tilbury for more than twenty years.

Execution Dock was used for more than 400 years to execute pirates, smugglers and mutineers that had been sentenced to death by Admiralty courts. The "dock", which consisted of a scaffold for hanging, was located near the shoreline of the River Thames at Wapping. Its last executions were in 1830.

A short rope was often used for exceptionally nasty pirates which meant that, when they were dropped from the gallows, the rope didn't break their neck and they were then slowly asphyxiated. Customarily, these corpses were left hanging on the nooses until at least three tides had washed over their heads.

The Captain Kidd pub was established as a pub only in 1980 but the building itself is 18th century. The entrance visible on the street leads into a small, rather attractive courtyard which then gives access to the pub proper.

A short way further along Wapping High Street we saw yet another interesting warehouse conversion on the corner of Dundee Street.

A little further beyond that we encountered our third pub – the Town of Ramsgate with Wapping Old Stairs next to it. No. 7 on the map.

This shows Wapping Old Stairs. Amanda is on a set of stairs that just stop in front of a wall – very useful. The stairs to the right of those give access to and from the foreshore. The Town of Ramsgate pub is just out of the right edge of the picture and you may have noticed part of Tower Bridge showing in the distance.

The Town of Ramsgate was originally known as the Red Cow and then the Prince of Denmark with the origins of the pub claiming to go back as far as 1543.

We went back up to Wapping High Street and, after a short distance, turned onto the Thames Path along the edge of the river.

We eventually reached Readmead Lane which was where we turned off when we started this circuit and so have come full circle. We can recommend this area for some interesting exploring especially if you can manage a day when low tide is around the middle of the day which will enable you to go down some of the old steps onto the river foreshore.

We headed back to Tower Bridge and crossed to the south side of the river, along Shad Thames to Pea Pod for a late (2:15 PM) lunch. We have been here before and on our last visit had Old Guy USA (Jerry) with us.

After lunch we walked west along the Thames until we were opposite the Tower of London where I took this photograph of the White Tower. The last time I tried it was covered in scaffolding.

We went back across Tower Bridge, now heading for Tower Hill Station, and went past these in the Tower of London grounds.

They look remarkably life-like but they are made from multiple layers of wire netting moulded to shape.

So our legs are tired and we are tired – time to go home methinks. We covered an awful lot of interesting history today and we found that when we got home we were covered in it and had to rinse some of it off. :lol: