Monday, 3 March 2014

Sunday in the City

Sunday, the Lord's Day, a day of rest; even in the City of London. On my way from Ealing to Stansted Airport via Liverpool St Station, I decide to take a walk from the West End (WC2) through the heart of the City (EC4).

Above: Tucked away behind Centre Point, where I used to work for 16 years, is this tenement which looks condemned to be demolished. Other than the Korean shops on the ground floor, it is deserted. Will York Mansions and Clifton Mansions (52-56 Bloomsbury High St) still be here next time I visit?

Left: Old Bailey. The thoroughfare, rather than the Central Criminal Court; a building opposite. For London, this is as quiet as it gets. There are still a few tourists wandering around at this time of year, though this is the low, low season. Most of the flagship stores are closed on a Sunday; cafes, pubs and restaurants are open. 

Right: The church of St Andrew's Holborn, in the ward of Farringdon Without (the 'without' meaning it lay outside the London Wall).

Like many of the places of worship in the City of London, it is a Guild Church, ministering to those who work, rather than those who live within the Square Mile. A mere 7,375 people are resident within the Square Mile of the City of London, according to the 2011 Census.

Below: Looking down Lombard St. The spire of St Edmund, King and Martyr, a Christopher Wren church,  is visible, dwarfed by the new office development at 20 Fenchurch St, the so-called 'Walkie-Talkie'. The 160m-high building is controversial because of the way the concave glass surface beams sunlight down onto the street below.

Below: at the epicentre of finance. To the left of this photo, Threadneedle St and the Bank of England. To the right, Cornhill. The splendid building in the foreground is the Royal Exchange. The people in front of the building were Spanish. As it's Sunday, the City is very quiet.

St Helens Bishopsgate; just behind it stands Sir Norman Foster's Gherkin building (30 St Mary's Axe). The 15th Century church, damaged by IRA bombings in 1992 and 1993, has become popular with the many French-speaking people living and working in the City.

Indeed, I must say, that on this visit to London, French was the most common language I heard, followed by Spanish - Polish a long, long way after those two. A mass had just ended as I walked past, many well-heeled professionals and their small children emerged from the church to board their four-wheel drives and head off for lunch in Dalston or Bermondsey.

I continue on foot; by the time the day has ended, at the Sheraton Hotel in Kraków, I have covered nearly 16,000 paces (over 12.5km).

A Sunday morning outside of the tourist season is a good time to wander around the City of London, to see the sights and feel the klimat or ambience of its streets, it temples spiritual and financial.

This time last year:
God's teachings

This time three years ago:
In praise of blue skies

This time five years ago:
(For Molesworth fans - Ronald Searle's obituary in the Economist is a must-read)

This time six years ago:
Four weeks into Lent

1 comment:

Bob said...

Very nice walk about - I love walking in London - I felt like I was there on your shoulder!