Monday, 24 October 2016

Scenes from the City

[For my cousin Marynka and her husband Jarek, who are visiting London for the first time.]

Last week I was in London and I popped across the Thames for a meeting right byLondon Bridge. The views from the 8th floor were marvellous; having a camera with me at all times gave me the chance to grab some good shots.

Below: moored on the Thames is the WW2 cruiser, HMS Belfast, now a museum ship. In the middle distance is Tower Bridge, a splendid example of Victorian engineering. On the horizon is the Docklands skyline, with One Canada Square, Canary Wharf the tallest building. It was also London's - and indeed Britain's - tallest building from 1991 when it was completed to 2012.

Left: The title of Britain's tallest building (and Europe's fourth-tallest) now belongs to London's newest skyscraper. The Shard was built overlooking London Bridge station, and is seen here against a dramatic sky, backlit by the sun. It stands 95 stories high, it was opened in November 2012. The observation deck on the 74th floor is 245m above the ground. It was opened to the public in April 2013; an adult ticket booked in advance costs £25.95, two pounds cheaper than the London Eye which takes passengers to a maximum height of 145m.
Below: looking westwards onto the tower of Southwark Cathedral; beyond it trains snake in and out of London Bridge Station. In the distance, the skyline of the City of Westminster.

Left: London Bridge station, nestling at the foot of the Shard. One of the oldest railway stations in the world, and the oldest in Central London, it opened to passengers nearly 180 years ago, in December 1836. From here, trains serve south-east London and indeed south-east England To the right of the Shard is Guy's Hospital.
Below: St Paul's Cathedral dominates the skyline in this view, looking north-west across the Thames. In the foreground, Cannon St Railway Bridge, which takes trains across the river to the terminus of Cannon Street. The two towers at the entrance to the station were built 150 years ago in the style of Sir Christopher Wren, to match his cathedral beyond.

Below: 'Erected A.D 1850', this is No.2 London Bridge. The bridge it once overlooked, built in 1825, was replaced by a more modern structure in 1967; the 19th Century bridge was taken down stone by stone and rebuilt in Arizona.

Below: London Bridge is to the left; the City skyline looking north is dominated by two new buildings, familiarly known as the Walkie-Talkie, and behind it, the Cheesegrater.

Across London Bridge, past the Monument, marking the Great Fire of London of 1666, which destroyed most of the City within the original Roman walls. The scale of the fire can be seen by the fact that it destroyed no fewer than 87 parish churches, as well as 13,200 houses. Onward to Bank Station - accessible by underground passage from Monument, or at street level.

Left: the City of London Magistrates' Court.

Below: to the left, the Bank of England, a 20th Century edifice. The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street is home to Britain's gold reserves, valued at over £150 billion. The neoclassical building to the right is the Royal Exchange, built in the eighth year of Queen Victoria's reign, now a shopping centre. On the skyline - NatWest Tower (1980), the tallest building in Britain until Canary Wharf was built.

Finally, a quiz picture. To which railway station, located on the edge of the City of London, is this Victorian hotel attached?

A more detailed blog post about the City of London here.

This time last year:
Ogórek by the Palace of Culture

This time five years ago:
Autumnal dusk, Jeziorki

This time nine years ago:
Autumn sun going out


Anonymous said...

The station is Liverpool Street, of course.

Your cousins may prefer to go to the Sky Garden, on top of the Walkie Talkie. Its got great views, nice plants and entry is free!


Anonymous said...

£25.95 to ride an elevator up in a tower? That's insane.

The Sky Garden thing looks more sensible.

Michael Dembinski said...

@ Janek

Correct - Liverpool Street Station it is - the old Great Eastern Hotel.

Sky Garden - nice, but the free slots are all booked up this week - you have to book well in advance to get one.

The £25.95 is expensive, but at least unlike the even more expensive Eye, you can stay a bit longer at the top than the few moments your pod is at its apogee.